These waffles are yeast-raised and donut-glazed. Don’t be phased by the overnight rest, you’ll be amazed at the end result (and praised by all those who try them, they’ll leave your table dazed and waffle crazed). Raised-glazed-unphased-amazed-dazed-crazed. That’s waffle poetry right there.
Actually, the real poetry happens when you take your first bite.
I’ve always been unequivocally on Team Waffle (the only satisfying pancakes in my humble opinion are these German pancakes… because they’re basically French toast). Anyway, for waffle lovers, these yeast-raised Belgian waffles are the holy grail. They’re light and crispy, tender and buttery, and, if that wasn’t good enough, thinly coated with a clear vanilla bean glaze (think Krispy Kreme) that gives the waffles a perfect touch of sweetness. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but they might just be your new favorite waffle (they’re definitely ours).
For those of you on Team Pancake (don’t write these off just yet!) I implore you to take a gamble and break out the waffle iron this weekend. You might just find your allegiances starting to shift… that’s how good these are. If you don’t like them, then you can go back to your beloved pancakes. Just try.
These yeasty waffles were inspired by Jeni Britton Bauer’s iron-born featherlight waffles (yes, that Jeni). Jeni was in Nashville last year for a special brunch event I was lucky enough to attend, and, despite the myriad delicious dishes all the guests brought, her glazed yeast waffles were the star of the show. I wasn’t able to get ahold of her exact recipe, but, via some careful insta-story sleuthing, I learned that she based her recipe off of the yeast waffle recipe in the vintage Fannie Farmer cookbook, but that she whipped her egg whites separately and folded them into the yeast-aged batter. It wasn’t a final recipe, but it was enough to get me started.
insta-stalking thorough research and testing, my waffles are not identical to hers (I’m missing the vintage cast-iron waffle maker, for one) but I’ll tell you what they are pretty darn fabulous nonetheless. Taylor said they tasted like donuts (which is totally what I was going for, and the fact that he came up with that description without me telling him as much was a pretty good indicator of my success).
The first batch I made was pretty true to the original Fannie Farmer recipe, with the exception of separating the eggs and whipping the egg whites. The batter seemed awfully runny to me, but I went ahead and baked them up anyway. The result was quite possibly the lightest, airiest waffle I’ve ever had – delicate and crispy and almost lace-like around the edges. To put it simply, they were surreal. I wish I could share the recipe with you, but they were far from practical, so much so that I started to call them the Impossible Waffles.
I determined that the lace-like texture and nearly hollow centers was a result of the thin batter coating both sides of the waffle baker (I use this KitchenAid one which rotates, allowing the liquid batter to coat both sides of the mold). I could not see how this recipe would work in a non-rotating waffle maker, unfortunately; it just didn’t have the structure to support itself, and no one wants a sad half-waffle.
Since I didn’t want to give you a recipe that depended on a specific waffle maker, I decided that those lacey waffles, as good as they were, just weren’t blog material. Sorry! Come over for brunch sometime and I’ll make them for you. :)
My second attempt, however, was much more practical (and just as delicious in its own right). In other words, entirely Possible Waffles. I thickened up the batter significantly, with more flour and less liquid, plus an extra egg to help give the waffles enough structure and lift to fill the waffle maker of its own accord. They’re still super light and crispy on the edges, but sturdy enough that they don’t fall apart at the merest touch.
Meaning, of course, that they’d hold up to a glaze. A sweet vanilla bean glaze, to be exact, which just reinforces their donuttyness.