Gingerbread Waffles

A couple of weeks ago, my daughter took the train in for a weekend visit. On this crisp fall weekend, she decided to rise early to make a bountiful breakfast for the family. The Gingerbread Waffle recipe was on the menu. The aroma in the kitchen was enough to pull everyone out of bed saying, “What is that delicious smell coming from the kitchen?” Sure enough, she had a tall stack of delicious looking waffles perched on the kitchen counter and ready for the taking. Eggs, coffee, and hash browns rounded out the meal. It’s always fun to have M come home for the weekend! She’s an excellent cook and we so enjoy seeing her.

We’ve made this recipe several times over the last couple of weeks. They are great to keep in the fridge to microwave for weekday mornings. Top them with homemade apple butter for an autumnal treat!

This recipe is from the cookbook entitled, Best Recipes from American Country Inns and Bed & Breakfasts, by Kitty and Lucian Maynard. I’ve made some changes to the recipe to add a little more flavor and of course, to substitute our own homemade maple syrup; removing the corn syrup in the original recipe.

My daughter doesn’t have a waffle iron of her own… So, guess what Santa may be bringing to her this year? Ho,ho,ho… gingerbread waffles!

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Cranberry Walnut and Buttermilk Muffins

After an enjoyable St. Patrick’s Day holiday, I am often faced with a bit of leftover buttermilk as it is one of the main ingredients in my Irish Scones and Irish Bread recipes. This year was no different. Over the last few days, every time I open the fridge, I notice a half-filled jug of buttermilk that will need to be used before it expires. 

As spring is just around the corner,  I decide to make one of my favorite muffin recipes.  This recipe is moist and flavorful due to the addition of buttermilk. The sweet taste of cranberries and walnuts combined with the buttermilk and orange juice concentrate make for a fresh start to the day. Substituting yogurt or sour cream is definitely an option if you don’t have buttermilk on hand.  Remember, you can always add an acidic ingredient like vinegar or lemon juice to regular milk in order to make your own substitute for buttermilk.  Don’t miss the recipe for cranberry butter at the bottom of the post as it is DELICIOUS and really makes this muffin recipe extra special.

Cranberry Nut and Buttermilk Muffins

1 cup cranberries, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

3⁄4 cup sugar, divided

3 cups all-purpose flour

3 1⁄2 teaspoons baking powder

1⁄4 teaspoon baking soda

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1⁄2 cup butter

1 egg

1 1⁄2 cups buttermilk 

2 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed

2 tablespoons old fashioned oats (optional)

2 tablespoons sunflower seeds (optional)

Combine cranberries, walnuts, and 1/4 cup sugar; set aside.  In a large bowl, mix together flour, remaining sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  With a fork or pastry blender, cut cold butter into dry ingredients until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  In a medium bowl, beat together egg, buttermilk and orange juice concentrate.  Add the liquid and sweetened cranberries to dry ingredients, stirring until just moistened; do not over mix.  Spoon batter into greased or paper-lined muffin cups. Lightly sprinkle with old fashioned oats and seeds (optional). Bake at 350 degrees for 23-27 minutes.  For mini-muffins, bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

If you are so inclined, here is a recipe for cranberry butter that tastes delicious slathered over the warm muffins…

Creamy Cranberry Butter
1 cup cranberries, finely chopped
1 cup powdered sugar

1⁄2 cup butter or margarine, softened

1 tablespoon lemon juice or orange juice

Purée cranberries in a blender; add remaining ingredients and  process until smooth.  Refrigerate.