Full plate of waffles

This blog turns 1-year-old this week. To celebrate, I plan to post a new recipe every day from now until Saturday—seven of my all-time favorites. We could call it Clary Sage Classics, but of course none of these recipes are really mine. They come from Ina Garten, Molly Wizenberg, Jamie Oliver, and, first and foremost, my mother.

A daughter learns many things from her mother. My mom taught me that life without chocolate would be bleak. She showed me how to sew the elastic straps on my ballet slippers, and how to read using the back of a Cheerios box. She taught me that love is a plate of hot food wrapped in aluminum foil as she shuttled me between track practice, ballet class, and the church youth group. (When did motherhood and cab driving become so interchangeable?) That love is also whipped cream and blueberries picked from the patch near Pine Lake. Most of all, that love tastes like a yeasty, crispy bite of waffles.

Half plate of waffles

What you see here is another childhood lesson. If my mom used Cheerios to teach me to read, then she used waffles to teach delayed gratification. The batter has to rise for 45 minutes, an eternity.

I remember walking downstairs as a kid to find waffle batter rising and my mom in her bathrobe, coffee mug in hand, perhaps Good Morning America keeping her company on the television until us late risers fell out of bed. Waffles usually signaled something special—the holidays, summer brunches, or the rare snow day and a school cancellation.

In my mind, these aren’t just waffles, they’re Waffles—the Platonic form for the Belgian breakfast food. As quintessential as they come. They’ve ruined me from ever ordering waffles in a restaurant, which just aren’t the same. Butter and maple syrup are tried and true toppings, but I really prefer them with fresh fruit and homemade whipped cream.

If the batter takes 45 minutes to rise, the waffles take 45 seconds to disappear. You’ll see.

Empty plate of waffles

Belgian Waffles

Recipe courtesy of Sue Clary

1 package dry yeast

2 cups lukewarm milk

4 eggs, separated

1 teaspoon vanilla

2½ cups sifted flour

½ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

½ cup butter

Sprinkle yeast over warm milk and stir to dissolve. Beat egg yolks and add yeast mixture. Sift flour, sugar, and salt together. Add to liquid ingredients. Stir in melted butter and vanilla. Beat egg whites until stiff. Fold into the batter. Let mixture stand in a warm place for 45 minutes (the oven at 200 degrees works well). Cook on waffle iron until golden brown.

Waffle iron