I know, I know, we just talked about gingerbread two weeks ago, in a biscotti, hot chocolate-dipping format. It’s too soon! I completely agree with you. But this was a request; a commenter asked if there was a way to transplant the intensity of everyone’s favorite gingerbread cake into a waffle format. Asking me this is like asking a Muppet if they like to count. I live for this; I thought you’d never ask.
True enough, the so-called gingerbread waffles I browsed on the web seemed to be in name only; pale beige specimens, softly spiced, more gingersnap than gingerthud. Proper gingerbread should make an entrance, with no restraint in the ginger or molasses department. It should be dark and a little sticky. It should either be adored or reviled; there’s rarely any middle ground. Lucky for me, my family, both young and old, cannot get enough.
Pretty much everything about these will remind you of the Gramercy Tavern Gingerbread. The waffles are deeply spiced, colored, fragrant and yet harmonious and addictive. But, as I always strive for honesty here, I have to tell you that it might remind you of the worst part of the Gramercy gingerbread too — these guys really want to stick to the waffle iron. But they won’t. What they need is a little extra careful coaxing when you lift them from the waffle iron, little by little, being careful to avoid big tears (nobody will be the wiser to the small ones). You’re probably going to curse me a little. But, I want you to know that I would never put you through such a pesky retrieval if these were not absolutely, unwaveringly worth it. Plus, the moment they hit the plate, they begin to firm up. Within one minute, they’ll fulfill all of your waffle hopes and dreams: crispy edges, soft center, and a flavor that will make it impossible to have another winter holiday without them for breakfast ever again.
One year ago: Breakfast Slab Pie (the other way I’d feed houseguests for breakfast)
Two years ago: Cashew Butter Balls
Three years ago: Parsnip Latkes with Horseradish and Dill
Four years ago: Spicy Gingerbread Cookies
Five years ago: Mushroom Marsala Pasta with Artichokes
Six years ago: Seven-Layer Rainbow Cookies and Grasshopper Brownies, two of my favorite sweets in the archives
Seven years ago: My Favorite Peanut Butter Cookies
Eight years ago: Zucchini Latkes and Short Ribs Bourguignon
And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Frozen Coconut Limeade
1.5 Years Ago: Espresso Granita with Whipped Cream
2.5 Years Ago: Cold Rice Noodles with Peanut-Lime Chicken
3.5 Years Ago: Linguine with Pea Pesto
Deep Dark Gingerbread Waffles
These waffles use more sugar than any other I’ve made, but they don’t end up tasting excessively sweet because the sugar is necessary to balance the intensity of the molasses. That said, you absolutely will not need syrup on top of these, despite my suggestion of it in photos. Just a dusting of powdered sugar and maybe, if you’re feeling fancy, a dollop of unsweetened whipped cream or crème fraîche will make these even more perfect. Serve with a mixed citrus salad (favorites: 1, 2, 3) and crispy bacon, if that’s your thing. And if it’s not, you can send it here.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Yield: 15 small rectangular waffles; serves 4 to 5
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
1/2 cup buttermilk, yogurt thinned with a little milk, fresh apple cider or even stout beer
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
3 tablespoons butter, melted, plus extra for brushing waffle iron
Powdered sugar for serving
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, molasses, sugars, egg and butter until combined. The butter will likely firm up and make little white splotches throughout; this is a-okay. Pour the wet into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
Heat waffle iron to a middle heat. Either brush waffle iron with melted butter or spray it lightly with a nonstick cooking spray. Ladle gingerbread batter into waffle iron until they’re about 3/4 filled out. Cook according to manufacturer’s directions. In my waffle iron, I like to cook them 1 to 2 minutes more.
To remove waffles: Open waffle iron. Wait about 30 seconds, giving them a chance to steam off a little. With tongs in one hand and a small spatula in the other, gently, carefully lift corners of each waffle section enough to slide the spatula underneath, then lift and slide some more until you can get the section out. Curse Deb, because these waffles are very sticky and eager to tear. Trust Deb, that they will be worth it. Spread them on a tray in a single layer to let cool slightly; within 1 minute, they should be crisp to the touch and easier to lift. Repeat with remaining batter. Try not to stack waffles — even though they’re firm, they will stick.
Serve immediately, dusted with powdered sugar and, if you’re feeling fancy, a dollop of barely or unsweetened whipped cream or crème fraîche.