Recipe, Gift Guides

eggnog waffles + a few favorite kitchen things

I’ve always been a little wary of commercialism here*; I don’t want to be yet another person telling you how to spend your hard-earned money or indicating in any way that there’s a correlation between buying fancy things and being a great cook. Nope, nope, nope. Because of this, we’ve only had one “gift” guide to date, a very basic one, a budget-minded kitchen starter kit populated with the stuff I find it hard to cook without; that was six years ago.

eggnog waffles

But, as you can imagine, I make a few kitchen- and cooking-related purchases a year. (Cough cough SPUTTER, don’t mind my husband over there; must be this dry air!) It goes with the territory; some of them consume me with regret and I want to shout from the rooftops my contempt for the baked good-ruining parchment paper, the mixers I’ve hated or the stupid pots and pans that never mentioned they weren’t dishwasher-safe (but I’ll behave). Others I want to write love letters across the sky to because either because they were such great investments from the kind of hard-won knowledge one picks up when they spend too much time in the kitchen, or made me exceptionally happy in an absurd way, and thus might make someone you know’s holiday. For something different, let’s dish about these today:

perfect baking dishes

1. A perfect white casserole dish for every occasion:

I actually bought an extra one this year, which brought me to two of these. Two! In a tiny kitchen! This should tell you how perfect I find them. They’re the ideal balance of lightweight but sturdy; the sides are deep enough for your most ambitious lasagna and years in, mine look like the day I bought them. They’re total minimalists, so your cooking can shine like the star that it is. Plus, it’s so rare that the best in category stuff is also the best priced: let’s delight in it.

/ Amazon /

my favorite cutting board

2. A not-quite-budget but endlessly adored cutting board:

I looked for years for the perfect cutting board, one that I hoped to keep forever or at least the next decade. When I saw this, I knew it was the one. Dead flat in a gorgeous black walnut, I love the rounded edges and that it’s sturdy but not so big and heavy that I can’t move it around (because in a small kitchen, the cutting board can’t take up permanent residence on the single counter). If you’ve been following the site, you probably see it in at least one photo a week.

Buying notes: I bought it from Heidi Swanson’s San Francisco-based Quitokeeto shop, but she’s longer stocking it. On a hunt to track them down for you, I realized that they’re a) actually made in New York less than 10 blocks from my apartment, b) at a store owned by Magnus Lundstrom, the craftsman’s, wife. Fortunately for everyone outside my below-14th Street bubble, they also sell them at their online shop, and at least one other place online Lundstrom has since opened his own online store, updated link below. I have the large size in black walnut.

/ Magnus Lundstrom /

dirt cheap super-sharp paring knives

3. Dirt cheap, insanely sharp paring knives:

Yes, I realize I’m the last person on earth to buy these, but I finally did and whoa, why don’t I listen to people sooner? They’re insanely sharp, light and cheap. The blade takes forever to dull, something I can’t say for any other knives in my kitchen, and I ran mine all of three times over a knife sharpener and it was as sharp as new. It’s so nice not to dirty my big chef’s knives over tiny tasks.

Buying notes: These are available almost everywhere that kitchen stuff is sold, but to get you started:

/ Amazon 3.25″ & 4″ / Bed Bath and Beyond / Williams-Sonoma /

black cocoa powder

4. An Oreo-maker:

Please don’t run away, but I never understood the appeal of Oreos because the chocolate tasted so artificial to me. Who was fooled by this?! (My husband, my son, I know…) Then one day I bought a jar of black cocoa powder and it turns out it smells so intensely of Oreos that I doubt you’d know that it wasn’t the cookie if you inhaled with your eyes closed. Black cocoa powder is a super-dark Dutch-process cocoa (European-style neutral acidity, nuttier flavor cocoa) that’s extremely intense; a little goes a long way. But here’s the real black (heh) magic: in any recipe that calls for Dutched cocoa powder, you can swap all or part of it for black cocoa powder and it becomes infinitely Oreo-ish. It can get dangerous.

/ Amazon / King Arthur / Sur La Table /

water carafes

5. Minimalist water carafes:

Evidence that I’m a terrible host: I inwardly groan when water glasses need to be refilled. A giant pitcher of water seems like the obvious answer, but can be unpleasantly heavy to pass down the table. I found my solution when I wasn’t even looking, on the table of Russ and Daughters Cafe a few weeks ago: slim, minimalist carafes, and hunted until I tracked them down. It turns out they’re made by a company named Libbey, which also makes my spice jars — no wonder I liked the look so much!

/ Amazon /

our hopefully forever glasses

6. Simple glasses that I hope to be able to replace forever:

Over the years, we’ve bought a lot of glasses and, because we are human, broken most of them. Replacing them is never fun because few brands make the same glass patterns for years and years. One day I was at a coffee shop with a friend and by the water jug, they had these small pretty glasses and she exclaimed “just like we had at school growing up!” Setting aside the fact that French schoolchildren drink from actual glasses at lunch (sob), I had my “a-ha!” moment: if they’d been around for 30+ years, they’d hopefully be around for another 30. We bought several sets and replaced all of our glasses. Bonus: they are really hard to break! I mean, sure, we succeed, usually on the tiled kitchen floor, but I’m surprise how rarely they break when dropped on hardwood. Obviously, we must try harder!

Buying notes: Duralex Picardie glasses are sold almost everywhere kitchenware is. But, we found it helpful to get two 18-piece “starter” sets with 6 each of the 8 3/4-ounce 12-ounce and 16 7/8-ounce tumblers. Several years ago, we also bought 6 5 3/4-ounce and 6 7 3/4-ounce Gigone tumblers; the small ones were perfect for little toddler hands, the large became our favorite pudding and small dessert dishes.

/ Amazon / Duralex / Sur La Table / Chef’s Catalog /

pancake lens (sadly, not a pancake)

7. A pancake lens (sadly, not an actual pancake):

Many of us have invested in DSLR cameras over the last 10 years, but not a lot of us enjoy actually schlepping them everywhere, and end up defaulting to the cameras on our phones instead. Sure, cameraphones have come a very long way but they’re not DSLRs. I spied the Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 on Sprouted Kitchen’s gift guide last year, nudged the appropriate parties, received one from my husband last Hanukah and have used it most weekends since. Slim and lightweight, it’s called a pancake because it’s shorter than it is wide, barely protruding from your camera body, and it makes my camera so much more portable than the heavy glass 50mm f/1.2 I use for all the other photos on this site. If you know someone who dabbles in photography, this gift is a shoo-in for their new favorite thing. I have the 40mm, but just discovered the existence of the newer 24mm… shaking out the sofa cushions as we speak. ;)

/ Adorama / Amazon 40mm, 24mm / B&H /

beloved new cookbooks

8. Some cookbooks that inspire me:

I go through phases when all I want from a cookbook is practicality, i.e. tell me how to make dinner, tonight, basically about 20 minutes right now. And then I go through other phases when all I want is to live out my wanderlust, i.e. I have zero vacations on the horizon, let me daydream. Very rarely do they intersect — that is, inspire me to dream of farflung places in very practical ways. 2015 was a magical year in which five different books did this. I’m just beginning to cook out of them (2015 also being the year we added a new human to our family) but they’re making it very hard to wait much longer.

Amazon / 101 Easy Asian Recipes / Hot Bread Kitchen / Made in India / Near and Far / Zahav /

Indiebound / 101 Easy Asian Recipes / Hot Bread Kitchen / Made in India / Near and Far / Zahav /

mild sauce for hot people

9. Mild Sauce for Hot People:

Let your friends brag about how many chile peppers they can eat at once without bursting into flames. Does their hot sauce tell them what a babe they are? I didn’t think so. More seriously (because this is very serious stuff, of course), this hot sauce is rather mild, which is great for people like me who like a kick of heat on their eggs and tacos but in a moderate — some might argue, wimpy, to which I say, pbbbbblt — way.

/ Rancho Gordo / Mouth /

10. A waffle maker that respects your time:

I mentioned this earlier this year but it bears revisiting: I have lamented for years why I didn’t understand why waffle makers didn’t just come with removable plates. “Just wipe it out with a sponge!” you’ll say, but my last waffle maker had 360 channels and 240 keyboard-like bumps (you’d better believe I counted) and after last December’s sticky gingerbread waffles, I swore off waffles until I either stopped caring about whether I was cooking on truly clean appliances or found a model that valued time not spent cleaning as much as I do. I ultimately found two: the first is Cuisinart’s Griddler, for which you can buy additional waffle plates. Everyone seems quite happy with the product, and the system would have been perfect… had I desire or need for a Griddler. I bought the second one instead, a simple model from Hamilton Beach that has proven so easy to use and clean, our waffle intake has increased tenfold since. So, consider this a recommendation and a warning.

/ Amazon / (let me know if you see it somewhere else) /

what you'll needwet into drynew handmixer, yayfoamed egg whitesthick battermine

* This is why I avoid sponsored posts and, as always, bought everything you see here.

One year ago: Jelly Doughnuts
Two years ago: Sugared Pretzel Cookies
Three years ago: Cashew Butter Balls
Four years ago: Caesar Salad Deviled Eggs
Five years ago: Garlic Butter Roasted Mushrooms
Six years ago: Vanilla Roasted Pears and the 2009 Gift Guide, Build Your Own Smitten Kitchen
Seven years ago: Veselka’s Cabbage Soup, Brown Butter Brown Sugar Shorties and Spelt Everything Crackers
Eight years ago: Pear Crisps with Vanilla Brown Butter and Chicken and Dumplings
Nine years ago: Fettucine with Porcini and Potato Salad with Sherry Mustard Vinaigrette

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Saltine Crack Ice Cream Sandwiches and Strawberry Cornmeal Griddle Cakes
1.5 Years Ago: Pasta and Fried Zucchini Salad
2.5 Years Ago: Bowties with Sugar Snaps, Lemon and Ricotta
3.5 Years Ago: Broccoli Parmesan Fritters
4.5 Years Ago: Roasted Red Peppers with Capers and Mozzarella

Eggnog-Kissed Waffles
Adapted from A Kitchen in France

Let’s talk about these waffles. As someone who has found my waffle nirvana twice now — first, in Marion Cunningham’s Essential Overnight Waffles and a second time when I finally got Liège Waffles right at home — you might wonder why am I still making new waffle recipes. The problem with the other two is that they expect you to be a person who plans ahead. I am not. Like a lot of people in 2014, I was charmed by Mimi Thorrisson’s first cookbook, but it was her waffle recipe — yeasted, but with only a 30-minute rising time — that I was the most curious to try. I knew it wouldn’t be enough time for a full rise, but wondered how a half-risen waffle would taste; certainly not bad, right? While the results are never going to knock my favorite two out of their position, we enjoyed them for exactly what they were, a barely sweet lightweight waffle with a bit more nuance than the pancake batter-type.

As for the eggnog, well, I saw the yolks and the whipped whites and the suggested rum and my brain went straight to eggnog, as it will in December, and so I added nutmeg, cloves and vanilla too. The flavor here is eggnog-kissed; a gentle hint of eggnog. To amp up the holiday vibe, you might warm your syrup of choice with some mulling spices for a spiced syrup.

1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons (10 grams) crumbled fresh yeast or 1 teaspoon active or instant dry yeast
2 cups (240 grams) all-purpose flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon finely grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 large eggs, separated
7 tablespoons (100 grams) unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or the seeds from half a vanilla bean
2 tablespoons dark rum, brandy or bourbon (optional)
Powdered sugar, for dusting

Combine milk and granulated sugar and heat until lukewarm, no more than 116 degrees F. Stir in yeast and set aside for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk flour, nutmeg, cloves and salt together in a large bowl. Create a well in the center and pour in the milk-yeast mixture, the 3 yolks, butter, vanilla and rum. Mix until you have a smooth batter.

Place egg whites in a clean bowl and beat with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites batter.

Let batter stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, then cook according to your waffle-maker’s instructions.

You can keep waffles warm in 225 degrees F oven until needed. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

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157 comments on eggnog waffles + a few favorite kitchen things

  1. Christine H

    I remember your post about the waffle maker! Hah! Mine is my Mom’s old GE waffle maker she and my Dad got when they married in late 1950’s…with cast iron plates that have the knobbies on one side, and voila, if you turn them around they have smooth plates!!!! (I used this to make many an “egg mcmuffin” in my dorm room, even though I wasn’t supposed to…). Sadly, the cord broke somewhere in the late 1980’s, and believe it or not, I went to a yard sale AND FOUND ANOTHER MAKER without the plates!!!! I absolutely love that maker…but sadly we’re on our third iteration of repairs. A wire shorted out, but my electrical engineer husband will (one day, soon, I hope-but not too optimistic) fix it for me. Good thing they’re very simple! So I can get back to my waffle making, which yes, my husband and son love, too.
    Went back to your gift guide, Deb–I love reading what other people use and how they find it useful. Thanks for all your posts. Happy holidays!

  2. nathan

    “I didn’t under why waffle makers”
    did you mean ‘understand why’?

    I’m loving those baking dishes, always had a weak spot for plain, pale colored porcelain things.

  3. Kim

    These look great…..also discovered the joy of those duralex glasses this year and now am slightly obsessed with their storage containers and bowls….need to try the pairing knives…I replaced a very old serrated knife earlier this year with one of theirs and am really really pleased…….super long and great for those big beautiful loaves of bread that can be a trifle to cut through neatly…and it didn’t cost an arm and a leg…

  4. Caroline

    Thank you for a nice list of kitchen things. I adore your essential kitchen list and love the new items on this one. We have those Duralex glasses, and they are amazing. My two and four year olds have thrown/dropped them on the wood floors several times with no breakage. It is so nice to use real glassware with the kids!

  5. This gift guide is nice! I actually don’t mind seeing them around the web since it’s neat to see what people have in their own home. I did see someone link to a $40 candle today though…WHOA! Anyway,these waffles sure seem like a good plan for this weekend. So delicious!

  6. Anne

    Just as an fyi….I received my first set of the Duralex Picardie glasses for my wedding all the way back in *1982,* so yes, it seems pretty likely you really will be able to replace these forever. I still have a few from the original set.

  7. Emily

    Deb, I love your commitment to non-sponsored posts. I always trust that you’re giving your honest opinion, which makes your recipes more trustworthy!

  8. Julie

    Thank you for the recommendations! I’ve added many of your recs for my own kitchen over the years. Like the poster above, I LOVE your commitment to nonsponsored content. Yes, I like to know what goods you got hanging around, and love the infrequent, long updates on your favorites. The carafe is already on the way to me :D I have the gigogne glasses and guests think they’re charming.

  9. Emily

    If anyone is shopping for a waffle maker and had been considering the Cuisinart Griddler, but like Deb mentions, don’t really have a desire for a griddler, you might want to check out this one, also by Cuisinart:

    The plates are fully removable and dishwasher safe (plus comes with an extra set of plates for making small pancakes, if you’re into that sorta thing) and has a timer that makes an audible noise when the waffles are fully cooked. It’s been a vast improvement over the little GE machine I used to have.

  10. sillygirl

    The paring knives – wish I had known about them years ago. I have had more expensive ones that didn’t hold an edge. This is the best knife ever – off limits to my husband!

  11. Annette

    What Anne (comment #4) said. Also, you picked some lovely things – now I have another reason (besides Hamilton) to come to New York: snag me a walnut cutting board!

  12. Sarah U

    Thanks for the great recommendations! Our waffle maker is cheap and annoying to clean and after 6.5 years of marriage, still going strong despite my desire for it to be the one kitchen appliance to die. (Never mind the fact that I’ve had to replace my coffee pot, food processor and blender in these 6 years, all of which I loved!) I’m going to add yours to my wish list so I can replace it when that happy day comes!
    PS – those sticky gingerbread waffles were totally worth it last Christmas – thanks for the reminder to make them again this year!

  13. Courtney P

    Definitely feel the need to jump on the bandwagon here and applaud you for non-sponsored content. I know Mama’s gotta eat (and bravo on any blogger who is that successful!!), but it cheapens a post for me when I see blatant advertising- is that really the blogger’s favorite product or does it do the job enough to post about it? So thank you, a million times, for being the best. My kitchen mayyyyy have a lot of Smitten-inspired touches to it ;-) those casserole dishes will be happening soon..

    Also, my family thanks you in advance for the THREE desserts I’m making from your site for the holidays. Traveling across the country and using other people’s kitchens- scary! (I’ve sent them a list of tools I’ll need, of course.. because who doesn’t do that?)

  14. Derek

    One question I have about the recommendations – I can’t seem to get ahold of black cocoa in the UK anywhere, and nor can I find sellers in the US that ship here. The only product I’ve found in the UK which looks like it might be the same is this, do you think this would be similar to the King Arthur Flour stuff?

  15. Jo

    Two things: (1) Yum! the essential raised waffles you posted are my go-to waffles and always are a hit. and (2) 100% yes on the Duralex glasses. I have had my set for more than 30 years and still going strong. Durable, timeless, and great for wine-drinking. :)

  16. Christine

    Love the cutting board. I see that this one comes with a hole cut out. Perhaps a stupid question but what is this for? I would assume to help pick it up somehow?

  17. Lauren

    Thank you for this amazingly practical guide. I passed it along to my engaged sister who needs ideas for her registry. And regarding lugging around bulky camera equipment, have you considered switching to mirrorless? The best mirrorless cameras these days (like the Sony A series) take incredible pictures, and they’re so much lighter and smaller.

  18. Before I even read your post my first thought was, “I don’t need a new waffle recipe, I need to know how to clean my waffle iron!” So imagine my delight. I’ve been using my little Oster belgian waffle maker since we received it for a wedding gift nearly 19 years ago and no one who sees it would willingly eat what it produces, so I have to ban everyone from the kitchen and pray that the heat kills the germs. I really only use it on Christmas morning, when it is our tradition to make waffles with strawberries and whipped cream. But on Christmas morning, I’m making waffles for a crowd, which presents another problem – my waffle iron has an auto-shut off mechanism. It always shuts off half-way through breakfast and in the hustle and bustle of Christmas morning I can never remember it’s coming. All of this to say, your recommendation just moved onto my Christmas list! Thanks, Deb!

  19. Deb, have you tried to cook any of the recipes in Zahav yet? I found it to be a beautiful cookbook and a fun read, but the recipes suffered badly from “downsized restaurant recipe” syndrome.

  20. amaranth16

    In terms of yield, I got 14 4-inch square waffles, but it could have been 12 if I’d filled the waffle maker to capacity each time.

  21. christine

    I enjoy your policy on commercialism as well and love the recommendations in this post as I too have been looking for the right water pitcher and casserole dish for some time now! Love your taste and practicality.

  22. I have those paring knives and use them constantly. And I’m so in love with the lines of those carafes. I have some tall, beaker-like ones from CB2 that cost about $5 when I bought them (looks like they’re $7 now) that serve the same purpose, so I probably can’t justify taking up more kitchen space. My aunt lives near the Libby factory in Ohio and often gives us stuff from their outlet store, which so often turns out to be simple, sturdy, an incredibly useful (ok, except for those tall pastel dessert dishes…)

  23. Kim

    Deb, can you confirm measurements of the casserole dish? It says 9×13 on amazon, but a starred review claims it’s less, & my husband specifically wants a new one only if it’s bigger than our current one.

  24. JP

    I would guess that for those of us who do not drink and do not have rum in the house, an alternative would be a little rum extract. Those waffles sound like a real treat! I use the same old waffle iron I got when I was married in 1974. Never have had any problem cleaning it because the waffles just pop right off. I think it is non stick coated. We love waffles and I appreciate that fact that the waffle iron has hung in there all these years!

  25. I have loved those white casserole dishes for so long, but I have such a hard time justifying them when I have perfectly serviceable (but way uglier) pyrex. Do you have/use both? Am I being ridiculous, and should immediately add one to my Christmas wish list?

  26. Tawni

    I have envied your glasses ever since the coconut limeade post, and your white casserole dish is my favorite (now to convince the husband it is needed….). Also, where did you get your kitchen towels? I love how simple but lovely they are.

  27. Mel

    I agree with Hannah (#49). I LOVE that you do not do sponsored posts or reviews. It is so refreshing to have an honest opinion that is not clouded by prizes/money/perks, etc. So thanks for your wonderful blog Deb!! Have been a fan for years and am totally in love with the writing and the recipes. Plus your recipes make me look like I can actually cook, which is nice :-)

  28. Krista

    I fell in love with Duralex glasses a few years after moving to France. Most French people dislike them, because they remind them of school cafeteria lunches and aren’t considered attractive. But, we have concrete kitchen floors, and, although it doesn’t happen every time, I have seen Duralex glasses bounce on the concrete and not break. They are not indestructible but they come pretty darn close. On normal flooring, they are probably almost break-proof.

  29. Lauren

    Oh, those look divine! I’ve been on the hunt for a wafflemaker, and this recipe plus the recommendation will probably push me over the edge.

    Minor copy thing: “I have lamented for years why I didn’t under why waffle makers didn’t just come with removable plates” maybe should be “that I didn’t understand”?

  30. P Adams

    Deb, thanks to your Liege waffle post, I just purchased the Hamilton Beach Belgian waffle iron. I appreciated the heads up about removable plates that can be washed. It was on my Amazon wish list and I found it at half price on Black Friday. Rather ironic since I’m not much of a fan of the fevered hyped sales days but I was happy to pounce on the deal.

    Now though my wish list has grown again. I really appreciate your comments about equipment that works for you. I’m actually trying to downsize but kitchen and dining items are my downfall.

    Jess, if I can justify the white casserole dishes, you can too. I also have some very sturdy Pyrex dishes that I find useful but harder to clean. Baked on food stuff like scalloped potatoes seem harder to remove on the Pyrex versus on ceramic, porcelain or enameled pans. That’s my story and you are welcome to use it.

  31. Fiona

    I have the 24mm Canon pancake lens and love it! I highly recommend you shake down your son’s lunch money too :) Now, what I can’t figure out is the best way to carry my DSLR, especially with a three year old and a seven month old in tow. What is your solution?

    I’m already putting items from your gift list onto my wish list…ahem. Not sure that is the way gift guides are supposed to work…

  32. I need a waffle maker too! I have only had waffles at fun fairs (and devoured them!) I cannot resist to temptation when I spot them. Love your favorite gadgets list, I must say I could do with a pancake lens myself.. maybe for Christmas..hopefully!

  33. Michelle

    I have to comment negatively about the Duralex Picardie glasses. I have had so much trouble with them shattering. I don’t know what causes it, maybe they get a microscopic nick, but they have shattered inside the dishwasher after it was finished washing. As soon as I touch them, they literally explode and send little pebbles of glass all over the kitchen and inside the dishwasher. I have told Williams-Sonoma where I bought them and they said they never heard of it. So foolishly I thought I got a bad batch of glasses and bought more. And had it happen again. So they are now in the trash and I will never buy them ever, ever, ever!

    1. Pat Harms

      I had the same experience… twice a glass exploded, once just sitting on the shelf. Had bits of glass everywhere…even fell in the blender, which I didn’t know till I had glass in my bread crumbs! I disposed of them all.

  34. Anne

    Thank you for this post! Good suggestions here for kitchen stuff! I am from France and my schools had a different type of glasses, but still made out of glass. What do American kids drink out of? I am curious.

  35. Laurie

    #62 Michelle, we’ve had our glasses for at least 5 years, and only once had one shatter in our dishwasher. We love these glasses! Now, I’m suddenly “needing” knives, a new cutting board, carafes, and a cookbook!

  36. Elizabeth Templeton

    I use the Black & Decker waffle-or-grilled-sandwich maker that I received as a wedding present in 1970. The removable plates are for waffles on one side and grilling, etc on the other smooth side. The non-stick-coating has aged and now it needs a touch of oil while it’s heating up. But when my sons were little it was a weekend breakfast workhorse and made 2 or 3 grilled cheese sandwiches at a time.

    1. Kitty H

      I’ve read instead of putting oil on the nonstick finish, you should add a bit more oil/melted butter to the waffle batter. Works for me. I also just wipe the grids with damp to wet paper towels after use to leave them “seasoned” and have never had difficulty with sticking.

  37. Marilou

    Mary B, yes, it must be The Power of Deb. I ordered yesterday and it’s being sent from Amazon. Hope I didn’t scarf up the last white lasagna dish. Such an all-purpose container!

  38. Carol

    I have been drinking from Picardie glasses since the 1970s. I babysat for my high school Latin teacher and she and her husband who drank wine from them (which they also shared with me!) including Retsina, just like the glasses they had enjoyed it in in Greece. I gave my mother some from the Williams-Sonoma catalog and she gave me my first set for my college apartment. I added to my collection while living in Germany a few years later after my German boyfriend said how much he liked the glasses the local Greek bistros used for the Retsina, just like in Greece! I still haven’t been to Greece myself and it has been quite a while since I had any Retsina, but we use the glasses everyday; I have three sizes, tiny (3oz?), about 5 oz, and around 8 oz.
    Thanks for your blog and Happy Holidays!

  39. Kate in MN

    Deb, it takes particular commitment and integrity to blog without “sponsored content” these days. I know that I can always trust that your opinion is actually your own. In a hyper-commercial world, that is so refreshing, and means a great deal. Thank you. And a Happy Hanukkah to your and your family.

  40. Ok, probably stupid but umm, how do I clean the cutting board? Water? Dishwasher? Magic unicorn powder? (Sorry, I still use an OXO cutting board which I pop in the dishwasher!)

  41. Phyllis Bienstock

    Hi – sadly the white casserole dishes are not in stock at Amazon, and may not even come back in to stock at all…. any suggestions where to buy them?

  42. Heather

    I just ordered the Hamilton Beach waffle maker from for $44; plus they sell the pearled sugar you need for the Liege waffles, and there is a $15 off coupon for first time customers!
    Complete bargain. Very excited for Christmas breakfast now.

  43. I…. need a pancake lens immediately. I have a bad habit of just chucking my DSLR into whatever purse I have on hand, and that would make my life so much easier! On the wishlist it goes.

  44. Elise

    I would love to get an investment cutting board, but don’t want to do that until I can figure out how to get smells out of boards.

    I’m a little scarred from a recent onion-infused cranberry incident in which I had to start all over with chopping cranberries for the amazing cranberry bars from your cookbook (which reminds me, I also need to invest in a food processor).

  45. Erica

    As a long, long, long time reader (and even rarer commenter) I just want to say how very much I appreciate the integrity with which you continue to run the site. The lack of sponsorships etc. is so refreshing and further proof of why I really value your opinions and recommendations. All that to say, thanks for so many years of great content!

  46. JessB

    Deb, you should warn Amazon, etc., when you are doing posts like this as a lot of the stuff has been ‘cleared off the shelves’ by your readers. They needed to stock up better ahead of time! LOL

  47. JessB

    I would never put a wood cutting board in the dishwasher. They aren’t meant for that. Just use a warm, soapy dishrag to clean it then rinse it off and towel it dry. There are beeswax rubs to put on them to keep them conditioned. If it becomes really beat up later on, they can be sanded down again as well.

  48. Maria

    @62 Yes – my parents have these Duralex glasses and as a kid when I was emptying the dishwasher I think at least two of them EXPLODED. Other than that I like them.

  49. JP

    @87 Maria: Other than the fact that the glasses “EXPLODED”, you like them? Hmmm…perhaps we will just keep drinking out of the glasses we own. Not as trendy, perhaps, but than I have never had one explode, either.

  50. Jen

    Wanted to quickly write to say that a little commercialism is not unwelcome. Case in point: based on one of your posts long ago, I bought the Messermeister vegetable peeler and I have been so very thankful to you ever since. A bad peeler is such a drag! And all the more when I find myself using one nearly every day (young children, lots of crudités…) This is definitely the best one I’ve ever owned. So please! Be shameless and keep sharing your equipment reviews!

  51. Deb, this is a truly awesome and useful gift guide. I really appreciate how you took the time to talk about your personal relationship to each item, instead of just posting links like most blogs and hoping to make some affiliate dollars.

    Just bought some Picardie glasses recently, and aren’t they just a pleasure to drink from? Very intrigued by this ‘pancake’ lens… I thought the name meant it’s perfect for shooting pancakes… lol :)

    Happy holidays!

  52. Amy

    masterfully done! I’ve added a couple of these to my Amazon cart, and am eyeing a few others. I love your blog and appreciate it that it’s not full of ads, it just makes me want to buy anything you talk about. Happy Hannakuh and Merry Christmas, too!

  53. christi in ma

    I’m another one who went right to Amazon this spring and bought the waffle iron after your post. It’s a game changer! Especially for the gingerbread waffles.

  54. Emily

    Phyllis (72/73)- I just ordered one of the white casserole dishes from ebay when I saw it was gone from Amazon. Same one, new in packaging, seller with very positive ratings.

  55. Thanks so much for this waffle recipe! Mad this morning and were fantastic!
    Also a big thumbs up on the duralex glasses! Have had a set for I can`t remember how many years but I think before my oldest was born. She`s 22.
    Love your site & insight!!

  56. Joanna

    OK, so. These look amazing and I am tempted to try, but need a little advice. I have a Cuisinart classic waffle maker. We love the basic waffle recipe that comes with it, but being me I can’t resist trying others out there – and every single one comes out soggy. Including your pumpkin waffles and Melissa Clark’s simple yeasted waffles – I had really high hopes for both and was disappointed. Thoughts? I was wondering if the vegetable oil in the basic recipe helps crisp them up and maybe should try substituting that for the butter here (see Thanks for any help! I love your site.

  57. Kathryn

    Thank you for the cookbook recommendations – would you consider adding a list of all your favourite cookbooks to the “Good Reads” page?

  58. Caleb

    I can confirm that replacing the milk with eggnog itself (and toning down the spices a bit) works wonderfully. In case anyone was considering the same thing!

  59. Melanie

    I have a basic Hamilton Beach waffle maker that I picked up about 7 years ago. I dislike it immensely. Not only does it take almost 10 minutes per waffle, I can never, ever prevent sticking. I’ve tried oiling the plates with pretty much every kind of oil out there and they still stick. Plus I can’t take the plates out to wash them. I’m happy to be reading everyone’s comments here about theirs so I can determine what my next waffle maker purchase will be!

    Thanks Deb for all your amazing posts. Admittedly I sneak out of my work computer system daily to see if anything new has been posted. Cheers!

  60. Megan V.

    Hi Deb,
    I have been wracking my brain for the last three months trying to put together a wedding registry, so this post could not come at a better time! My new mother in law decided to invite 200 people (there are literally 10 from my side) and I’ve been told that you need at least one gift for each guest at the wedding on your registry. Thanks to you I now have a very nice cutting board, the glasses, a waffle maker, various knives….the list of ideas you’ve given me is endless! And your cookbook, of course! Thank you so much for always being honest about what you like and don’t like. I trust your judgement in all things cookery-related! :D

  61. Those Picardie glasses are so wonderful that they earned a coveted spot in my “it’s really expensive to move stuff to Hawaii but I can’t live without it” list. (Yes, my husband and I ARE in fact moving from the brutal winters of the east coast to Maui. I will no doubt be forced to work 4 jobs to afford this life, but you better believe I will have my Picardie glasses to drink from. They bounce instead of break!)

  62. deb

    Kathryn — I would so love to but I’d never know where to start. I did an interview with Serious Eats last year where I talked about some of my favorite cookbooks; it might be a better place to start.

    Joanna — I think it’s very hard to get crisp-exterior-ed waffles without finishing them in an oven. It’s just the way waffle irons are shaped; they trap steam in a closed environment. I find that yeasted waffles and those with whipped egg whites tend to get more of an edge in the pan, but not as much as they do spread out in the oven for a final toast.

    Emily — No, never put wood in the dishwasher (unless it’s an old wooden spoon you don’t care about). I clean mine with water and sometimes a little bit of diluted soap if needed. I regularly rub an oil such as this one into it.

    Elise — I spared you all my long and terrible history with wooden boards, but suffice it to say, I cannot deal with any onion smell (when hyper-sensitive to smells and pregnant with my son, I threw all of my wooden boards away and didn’t buy another real wooden board until I found this one) so I just have a couple wood composite boards that are dishwasher-safe around and use them for onions are garlic. The internet is full of stink-removing tips (lemon! salt! baking soda!). None worked to my satisfaction.

    Where else to get the white casserole/lasagna pan — Sorry; I hadn’t even considered that it would sell out! Amazon says it will be back on 12/25, which is little consolation if you were intending it as a gift. Brand is HIC. I see it now on a site called Kitchen Kapers, Kitchen Works and eBay.

    Stephanie — Perhaps in the fridge overnight. Not sure if the egg whites would excessively deflate.

    Anne — I’d say paper or plastic cups at best, cans or bottles more often, or they might bring drinks in a reusable bottle from home (although we use the term “reusable” loosely around here as my son has lost almost every one we’ve sent him off with!).

    Parchment paper — I have zero quibbles with parchment paper! I use it too much. But I bought awful stuff from Whole Foods many years ago that ruined many baked goods. I now stick with the extremely passive aggressively named “If You Care” brand.

    Fiona — I almost added this to the list, but figured it was long enough. I know that it would make a serious photog shudder, but I love this wrap thing. I carry one of those ubiquitous Madewell Transport Totes these days and place the camera wrapped right in the bottom.

    Re, 24mm pancake lens — Just learned you cannot use it with full-frame cameras, which rules it out for me (have a 5DMarkII). :(

    Wendy — Err, it’s not the most professional thing, but Dorie Greenspan many years ago offhand mentioned the Furi knife sharpener and I grabbed one, have been using it since. I think it does a better job for my Japanese chef’s knife than my German one.

    “Unlike exactly zero other knives…” — Right! Now fixed. :)

    Josh — I haven’t and I’m sorry to hear that, especially because I’m recommending it here. It’s definitely a hurdle for me to get into most restaurant cookbooks for this reason; they often feel like brand promotion, not really cooking manuals. Hope to dig in more in January. What’s worked for you and not?

    Re, hole in cutting boards — Yes, the one I bought from Quitokeeto didn’t have one. The regular ones from the store do. The purpose is that you can hang it on a pegboard, a la Julia Child. I am actually thinking I might try this if I buy another one (soon, so tempted), at least from my pot rack that’s over the counter.

    Re, using black cocoa — While you CAN use it 1:1 for regular Dutched cocoa, it’s not necessary because it’s so potent. You can use less by doing a half-swap; the cookies should still be quite black and Oreo-ish.

    Derek — Yes, that looks the same.

  63. Nadia

    I have been saying the same thing about waffle makers! It’s so much easier if you can take the plates out and throw them in the dishwasher instead of having to spend ages scrubbing off all the grime with an old toothbrush. They seem to be really hard to find though, unless you score a vintage one. Luckily, I found one in a thrift store that has waffle ridges on one side and the other is flat so you can grill sandwiches and stuff on it. It’s great. Now, if only more of them were made of cast iron. My grandma had an ancient cast iron waffle maker that made the best waffles because the iron really held in the heat. I find that with the regular non-stick kind, the waffles are usually cold by the time they make it to the plate.

  64. max

    I totally got this wafflemaker on your recommendation a bit ago. Mine died after years of weekly use (I don’t think it was designed with that volume in mind!) and I too was so frustrated by the un-cleanability of every other model I’d ever seen. And then I was looking at a waffle recipe from your archives and found this one and into the amazon cart it went! It makes the best waffles and is totally non stressful to clean. Thank you ! you’ve officially saved my weekend breakfast.

  65. Joanna

    I would love to make that Oreo looking layer cake for New Year’s dinner. Any chance it will be posted by then? Black cocoa powder is on its way – thanks for the suggestion!

  66. Lisa

    THESE WAFFLES! We just ate these for breakfast half an hour ago. Good God. They are perfection. They are good enough to make me forget the gingerbread waffle fiasco which ended in the death of my (luckily cheap) waffle iron. This recipe is sooo good! I adapted it only slightly, subbing white whole wheat flour for half of the flour. I also used Snap gingersnap liqueur in place of the rum. I didn’t tell the kids about the booze until after they had raved about how good the waffles were. This recipe has now replaced your pumpkin waffle recipe as my new favorite. THANK YOU.

  67. Lisa

    Oh, I forgot to mention that we topped these with fresh comice pear pieces and whipped cream. I don’t think that combination can be beat until it is peach season again.

  68. I just made these and wow the yeast really makes a difference. Now I will always make the yeasted version. Thanks Deb!

    I made the mix but them had to run out of the house for couple hours before I was able to pour in the griddle and they tasted great! Not sure what the difference taste wise would have been. also for a few of them I added lightly crushed sugar cubes and was not disappointed.

  69. Elsa

    Could I recommend a recent “nostalgic” gadget purchase? A Toas-tite grill sandwich maker. We had one when I was a kid and my mom made delicious flying-saucer shaped grilled sandwiches. Looked for it when I reorganized kitchen cabinets – but it was gone. Saw that Sur la Table had them but didn’t really want to spend $30 for one…but a couple of weeks ago they put them on sale so I got one. Have been making easy grilled sandwiches (using sandwich bread up to now) but am ready to experiment with pita, tortillas, pizza dough, dessert “flying saucers”…The sky is the limit!

  70. So this was my FIRST EVER try at making waffles…ever! We made them Christmas morning with heaps of fruit, home-make whip, maple syrup and a side of sausages. I was pleasantly surprised that the waffle maker I was using (an ultra cheap brand that my sister in law lent me, and I’m sure was bought at a second hand store) worked just fine. I made sure to butter the grill and the whole experience was mess free and fun. The waffles were just great. I liked them on the lighter side, rather than darker baked version. The recipe made A LOT of waffles. We have so much left over. I’m looking into if we can freeze them. The only, only, only thing I would change is the nutmeg quantity, probably to 1/4 spoon. I started to feel dizzy after eating, and realized that the quantity of nutmeg for me might be too much…always have to remind myself that nutmeg has hallucinogenic qualities. The quantity used in the recipe is not excessive, but I am a slight person, so it might have just been too much for me.

  71. Erica K

    You’ve solved a 6-year long household dilemma for us with your “simple glasses” recommendation! After getting fed up with broken glasses, I’ve been using the small-size mason jars as drinking glasses (they are so wonderfully sturdy!), but my husband thinks they have an unappealing college dorm aesthetic and is always wanting us to get something more attractive and grown-up looking. These will be perfect. As a teacher I’ve had the occasion to use these in a French school when traveling with my class, but I would not have known they were available here. Thank you!

  72. Garnet Muething

    Okay, we just finished eating these for brunch this morning. These are the BEST waffles I have ever eaten! Had never tried yeasted waffles before and loved the texture it created with the egg whites and the hints of spices and bourbon – unbelievable! I don’t eat wheat, so subbed in half white spelt flour and half all purpose flour, which worked beautifully. Thanks so much for this recipe – it’s going to become a holiday tradition!

  73. Thanks for sharing this! I am not sure if it’s the best idea or the worse idea to get black cocoa. It sounds super delicious but like you said, super dangerous. I’ll think about it. I’m also seeing a lot of great gift ideas for certain people in my life so thanks again for sharing.

  74. Shannon

    Hi there! I love this site, been following it for several years and it has been the secret ingredient to all of my holiday success. Thank you! I am going camping and want to make this waffle batter in advance. Can I store it overnight?



  75. Alicia

    We made these for Christmas brunch, and they were a big hit. We liked them best just topped with powdered sugar and fresh berries. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  76. Panya

    I have two of those water carafes that I bought at Meijer for about $6. I’m not sure what they’re labelled at the store, but I currently use them to store my chia seeds and flax meal in the refrigerator. We’re very slowly replacing all of our plastic-ware with glass, ceramic, stainless steel, etc. and I really want to get more of these for my wheat germ, whole seeds, etc. Ideally, I’d get more for the pantry as well. I love that they’re easy to store both on the door and on the shelf, I can see what/how much is in them, and I can easily apply labels or write dates right on the bottles with wet erase markers [though I do have to keep reminding my husband to watch where he puts his hands when I write on the bottles].

  77. larsonharry2

    Those waffles look so delicious!!!! Mmm just mouth-melting! There is not such a big cleaning mess behind it, but even if there is, it is worth it :)

  78. Thank you so much for avoiding sponsored posts! I feel like so many cooking blogs become just advertisements. However, I do really enjoy your reviews on cooking equipment you love. I’ve redone my spices using the jars you recommended (which are fantastic) and I’m eyeing those cutting boards. Thanks!

  79. C.P.

    Deb, question: I stumbled upon this and am now drooling over it! But, sadly, I don’t have a waffle iron. I’m trying to figure out if/ how to covert the recipe to pancakes? I saw very early on in the thread (#1, in fact) that you think it might work as pancakes- but, I’ve never used yeast in a pancake natter? Would that work ok? Or would you try and covert the leaving to a parking powder/ soda mix? I know I’m being a bit of a “mad scientist” here, but any thoughts would be appreciated!

    1. deb

      I scrolled through but didn’t see anyone who had responded that they’d actually made them as pancakes so I’m not positive. I’d use the same batter, just not sure how they’d taste. But it can’t be that different in taste, right?

  80. AmandaB

    I *think* these have deposed the Sticky Toffee waffles as my favorite. I’m not sure, I may need to make them both several more times to be sure. I used 1/2 cup of eggnog with 1 cup of milk, since I had it, doubled the sugar, though it didn’t need it (I always forget the syrup brings all the sweetness you need), added 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and used a lot of homemade vanilla (made with vodka) instead of rum. It made my entire house smell amazing and I really want to make ice cream sandwiches with eggnog ice cream, dipped in dark chocolate. This was my first yeast based waffle and it was amazing, definitely going to make them again! Thanks so much!

  81. PaulaV

    Deb… I love ya…. first for your well thought out/ well explained recipes… and now for the kitchen gear pointers… you are perfection.

  82. Lauren

    How do you take care of your cutting board? Mine don’t last long unless I oil it daily and that just isn’t going to happen in my kitchen.

    1. deb

      Carefully! I try not to heavily soap it or fully run it under water. When it’s new, I find I have to oil it a lot (I use Boos board oil but there are lots of others out there) but eventually, it hits its groove and I only do it every several uses, maybe a little more in the winter because the air is so dry. It really doesn’t take long to oil it; it adds 45 to 60 seconds at most and then it’s done and looks great.

  83. Oh my! This may be my new favorite waffle! We had these for Christmas morning breakfast with baked fruit in a butter and sherry sauce. So incredibly delicious. I could see us making these again without the cloves and nutmeg for a simple vanilla waffle. The texture and flavor were perfect.

  84. Jen

    I really wanted to like these and made them for breakfast this morning for my family. We usually use Rose Levy Berenbaum’s phenomenal waffle recipe, but it uses a lot of butter (nothing really wrong with that, right?), but I was trying to be a bit more healthish. I followed the recipe to the “T”, but sadly, my family really did not care for these. My husband actually spit out his bite and said, “please don’t make these again.” The rest are in the trash can. I didn’t think they were THAT bad, but certainly, nowhere in the league of Rose Levy’s amazing recipe. I love Smitten Kitchen’s recipe’s, and it is always fun to try something new, but this one won’t be making it in the repeat folder.

  85. Trisha Bergthold

    You mention: “I want to shout from the rooftops my contempt for the baked good-ruining parchment paper.” Could you say a bit more about this? How do you attribute baked goods being ruined to the use of parchment paper? I’m probably being pedantic here. I, of course, use parchment paper, but have begun to suspect that it is a factor in not-so-great outcomes for my muffins lately. I like making and using parchment paper for liners in the muffin tins, because the parchment peels off of the muffins so, so, nicely….. regular muffin papers decidedly do NOT — they leave too much of the muffin behind too often. Yet, the parchment-wrapped muffins don’t have the same crumb around the outside. Is this your experience?

  86. Lu

    Delicious and great timing for Christmas breakfast. I did sub the 1.5 cup whole milk for 3/4c egg nog and 3/4 c 2% and found it to be a not too strong egg nog flavor. (The kid who loves eggnog loved the waffles and the kid who hates eggnog also love the waffles)

  87. clayton richard

    Made these waffles for Christmas brunch, 2020. They were a “project” to make (we moved from a 2000 sq ft one-story to 1300 sq ft, 2nd floor condo less than a week ago) but I love a challenge in my kitchen. Turned out great. Froze leftovers for easy breakfast later. Happy holidays everyone. Thanks again Deb for another winner.

  88. Katie

    I was so happy to buy my husband a waffle maker for Valentine’s day so many years ago.

    Now it’s a greasy mess that we can never quite clean- so I’m very happy to see a Deb-approved waffle iron on this list.

    Happy holidays!

  89. Do the waffles come out crisp in the Hamilton? My vintage waffle maker (with plates you could take out and easily clean holy amazing) bit the dust after years of fabulous use and every waffle maker we’ve bought since (and retuned) makes not at all crispy on the outside waffles. It’s tragic. The vintage waffle maker was perfection no matter what recipe I threw at it and so easy to clean.

    Also!! I LOVE this post!!! I love knowing what you love and use in your kitchen, so double thanks Deb!

  90. Bobbi H

    Thanks for all these recommendations! I love the La Paloma Rancho Gordo hot sauce, which I searched out based on your review. Excellent! Very flavorful and not too spicy. I’m between bottles of my favorite hot sauce, Ring of Fire Garden Fresh Chile Sauce, which is quite similar, just a bit more textured. You might like that one too.
    Love your blog and what you do, Deb!

  91. jude

    I recently read, with pleasure, a post showing ALL your favorite kitchen things. And now I can’t find it !!! HELP……….