Cooking waffles for a special weekend breakfast or brunch sounds like a complicated production; but as I learned recently, they are surprisingly quick and easy to make from scratch.
The flavor of waffles made with buttermilk is heightened by the milk's natural acidity. Using buttermilk instead of blander sweet milk also helps bring out the flavor of whole grains such as whole-wheat flour, wheat germ and miller's bran. Fruit and fruit zest also can be pureed into waffle batters to add flavor and sweetness.
The food processor mixes the batters so quickly that waffle preparation time is reduced to about 5 minutes, approximately the same time it takes to prepare a packaged mix.
To keep waffles tender, it is important to pulse dry ingredients carefully into the batter with the processor's metal blade. When pulsing dry ingredients into this or any other batter, it is important to use the briefest possible pulses of the machine. Letting the processor run continuously can cause the batter to toughen when cooked.
Dry ingredients should be sifted together so that baking powder and salt are evenly distributed in the batter. While all the dry ingredients can be added at one time, I find it helpful to add them in two separate batches, pulsing just until they disappear.
WHOLE-WHEAT ORANGE WAFFLES
Peel of 1/2 medium orange
2 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup warm melted butter
2 cups buttermilk
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Oil or shortening
Insert metal blade in dry food processor container. Strip off orange peel with vegetable peeler allowing rind to fall into machine. Add sugar and process until peel is finely minced, about 1 minute. Add eggs, butter and buttermilk and process with 5 (1-second) pulses, or just until mixed.
Sift together whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add half dry ingredients to machine and process with 3 to 4 (1/2-second) pulses, or almost until ingredients disappear. Pulse in remaining ingredients with 1/2-second pulses, sweeping container side with spatula.
Heat waffle iron and brush with oil or shortening. Cook waffles according to manufacturer's directions. Makes 4 waffles.