I have been feeling some pain over the last week with a disc out of joint in my neck, so it is a good time to look back to an older post I am nostalgic about. As soon as I can, I will hop over to the stove and whip up a batch of these tender, nutty, aromatic stove-top cakes to eat slathered with caramelized bananas.
Waffle-making is a task I take on without much prompting on the weekends, filling the kitchen with warm, vanilla aromas as my family lounges about drinking coffee. When I found a recipe for Hazelnut Waffles, I knew these would knock everybody over, adding a toasted nut nuance to the panoply of flavours I was about to launch.
Obviously, you need a waffle-maker for this project and I am happy to say I inherited an old-fashioned cast iron clunker from my mom after she gave up participating in this sort of kitchen slavery. For those of you not so inclined, may I suggest you take the beautiful batter and make pancakes instead? Surely you have a frying pan! I like to think we are all in this together.
Waffles speak to me of breakfast and brunch but I have been known to present them later in the day as well, even calling them a summer supper, topped with frozen yogurt and fresh fruit. Sometimes a multi-course meal just makes no sense and a tender, furrowed stove-top biscuit is exactly suited to our desires.
The other impetus for waffle-making in my house is having extra bananas, as I have been told that waffles without caramelized bananas are hardly worth waking up for. If there was ever a good reason for getting up in the morning, this is it.
Chocolate Hazelnut Waffles
2/3 cup hazelnuts, toasted, skinned and ground medium fine (see Note ); 2/3 cup bittersweet chocolate, chopped medium fine in a food processor (optional, but really yummy); 2 cups all-purpose flour; 1/2 cup whole wheat flour; 2 tbsp. granulated sugar; 3 tsp. baking powder; 1 tsp. kosher salt; 4 large eggs; 2 cups milk; 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted; 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract.
Combine ground hazelnuts, chopped chocolate, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl. Gently whisk eggs, milk, melted butter and vanilla in another bowl. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth, about 30 seconds. Use this batter according to the directions of your waffle-maker, or use it to make pancakes. Excellent served with carmelized bananas or fresh fruit and maple syrup. Makes 4 4-sided large waffles.
Note : To skin hazelnuts, toast in a 350 F oven until starting to turn golden and fragrant, about 8 minutes. Wrap the warm, toasted nuts in a clean dish towel and let cool. Rub vigorously to remove most of the skins. Don't worry if you don't get all the skin off.
Slice 3 - 4 bananas about 1/2-inch wide along the diagonal. In a large frying pan over medium heat melt 2 tbsp. sweet butter, 2 tbsp. brown sugar, a pinch of salt, 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon and a few gratings of fresh nutmeg. Add a splash of rum and stir to blend. Add the bananas and let them caramelize on each side. Serve hot over waffles.
Wake up to something special this weekend: