There's something so strong about the power of memory when it's tied to food. When I was growing up, I'd spent the weekend with my grandparents and my grandma always made waffles for breakfast on Saturday morning. She'd heat up her ancient waffle iron, make the batter and watch for the light to turn green so we'd know it was ready.
I'd sit at the table, anxiously awaiting the moment I could slather on a soft pat of butter (my grandma kept her butter on the counter top so it was always room temperature) and drown my waffle in Mrs. Butterworth's. I always secretly hoped the bottle would talk or wink at me like it did on the television commercials, but it never did.
When I finally got a waffle iron of my own, I was excited to try out my grandma's waffle recipe and see if I could ever make anything that tasted as good as I remembered. Today, I'm joining my pals over at Knoxville's popular morning news show Mornings with Fox43 and we're making waffles.
But these aren't your typical run of the mill breakfast waffles, in fact these aren't breakfast foods at all. I'm sharing recipes for food you can make in a waffle iron, including appetizers, main course and dessert!
Do you ever use your waffle iron to make nontraditional things?
Appetizers in a Waffle Iron
Smoked Salmon Sweet Potato Stacks
This is a simple and delicious appetizer recipe you can make with just a few ingredients. The best part is that it seems sort of fancy so you can keep the supplies on hand and whip it up at the last minute if you need something to make for an impromptu gathering.
To begin, you'll need frozen sweet potato tots (you can also use regular tater tots if you can't find or don't like the sweet potato option). Place a handful of tots on the lower plate of a hot, greased waffle iron. Close the lid and let cook for 3-5 minutes. The time will depend on your waffle iron, so just be patient the first batch.
Once you have a sweet potato waffle, you can add the other layers. Smoked salmon topped with a dollop of creme fraiche with a sprinkle of dill. You could also add capers or substitute sour cream if you prefer. Super simple and oh so good. I used three tots per waffle so they'd be the perfect bite sized appetizers.
Pizza in a Waffle Iron
Waffle Iron Pizzas
This was probably the easiest of all the waffle iron recipes I came across. I didn't get a good picture of my finished waffle iron pizza, because we ate it before I could snap one.
To make pizza in a waffle iron, you first need some type of pizza dough. I used store-bought pizza dough in a can, but you could make your own from scratch or with a baking mix.
My waffle iron is kind of small so I ended up cutting the dough into four rectangles to make four smallish pizzas.
The dough will cook in a preheated waffle iron for a couple of minutes and then you're ready to add toppings. I used salsa, but you could also use marinara sauce. Then, top with cheese and whatever other toppings you like on pizza and pop it under your oven's broiler for a few minutes.
Using the waffle iron might seem like extra work for pizza, but the texture it created made the store-bought dough much better.
Dessert in a Waffle Iron
Carrot Cake Waffles with Homemade Cream Cheese Frosting
This was my favorite waffle iron recipe and I am not even that big of a carrot cake fan. It was just so good. Of the three recipes, this one is the most like a traditional waffle batter...but there's nothing traditional about it beyond that. It was the perfect texture, light and fluffy and not too sweet. You could definitely leave off the frosting and still enjoy this treat.
To make Carrot Cake Waffles, you'll need:
1 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 c. oil
1/4 c. milk
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 c. flaked coconut
1 c. shredded carrots
Mix the dry ingredients together and set aside. Then mix the wet ingredients and fold them into the dry. Stir it well, but it's okay if you have lumps.
Fill the center of your preheated, greased waffle iron plate with about a half cup of batter. This recipe made 5 waffles for me, but as I said earlier my waffle iron is fairly small.
For the frosting:
4 oz. softened cream cheese
2 T softened butter
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla
Mix this together well. You should probably use a mixer, but I was lazy and stirred it by hand. It still turned out fine. I put mine in a squeezable icing container so I could control the amount I put on each waffle. It was so good. I can't wait to make this again. It would be a great addition to Easter breakfast or brunch.
I came across some other interesting ideas while researching the information for this post. Did you know you can take cold pizza slices, fold them in half and heat them in a waffle iron? Apparently canned cinnamon rolls are also really good. I'm going to play around with other waffle iron recipes and I'll keep you posted! And if you have a tried and true waffle recipe, even if it's just for plain ol' waffles, I'd love to hear about it!