Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Yeasted Brown-Butter Waffles & How Ren Got Her Groove Back

“I hope you live a life you’re proud of.  If you find you’re not, 
I hope you have the strength to start all over again."  ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

This post title sounds like it could have been an episode of the Oprah show, but bear with me.  There's a waffle recipe at the end of it.  I've never been on a roller coaster, but 2013 sure as hell felt like it.  Highs, lows, good, bad and everything in between.  It started off badly, with a break-up not unlike the Post It Episode.  Just swap in a text message and you get the drift.  I was very, very sad then very, very angry.  Looking back, it's hard to read those early 2013 posts.  My mind and my heart were all over the place, and at times the sadness was all consuming.  I leaned on my family and friends as much as I could; surrounded by all things that made me happy and gave me comfort.  The kind words left here were like a warm blanket - thank you.  I prayed for time to quicken so I could get out of the darkness.  Somewhere along the line, a few months in, I realized that the sadness and anger weren't doing much for my complexion nor my spirit.  When I looked in the mirror I didn't recognize the eyes staring back.  Bloodshot, tired, not bright and shining.  Enough was enough. I couldn't change what had happened, but I could change how I carried on, forging forth.  I went away for a bit, which helped tremendously.  A change of scenery always does a girl good.   And then there was that pesky gallbladder surgery to deal with.  Never had I been more afraid, but obviously, I survived to tell the tale.  The downtime also did me good - got me thinking about what I wanted to do when I grew up; what I could change that would me happier.  As serendipity, or luck, or whatever you want to call it would have it, a phone call out of the blue changed my career path, and because of that one phone call I'm doing something I love so much.  There's plenty to be said about being lifted out of a rut - emotionally, professionally, mentally.  Once one thing falls into place, so many other good things follow.  And that's where I sit now.  As I cross the threshold of a new year tonight, I will for sure give a little whoop.  I did it.  I plowed through obstacles that at times seemed insurmountable.  With those last dying seconds before midnight, I will be grateful for it all.  

So let's talk about food now rather than emotional trauma.  There are a few other waffles recipes on the site, but holy man, I couldn't in good conscience eat these without telling y'all about them.  The best part is you can prepare them mainly the night before.  Well, scratch that.  The best part is that there is brown-butter involved.  You know that thing when you let butter come to a simmer then it gets all foamy on top, with luscious brown goodness left in the bottom of the pan?  Yeah, that.  Also there is yeast involved, which makes these ultra tender and light, with a hint of sourdough tang.  Butter and maple syrup love a good sourdough tang.  

 So, here's what I did - browned the butter in a saucepan, be sure to watch it though - no one likes burnt butter anything.  Let it cool, then whisk it together with buttermilk, whole milk, sugar, yeast, salt and flour.  Leave it hang out on your counter top over night, then in the morning crack in a couple of eggs and a bit of baking soda and you have waffle magic.  Seriously.  The edges are crispy, the middle terribly soft and yummy.  Spread with more butter (YOLO) and a generous pour of good maple syrup, I can't think of a better way to say goodbye to the old and hey there to the new.  

And with that, I wish you all the greatest happiness in 2014.  I hope it's full of warmth, true love, a happy heart, good health and an adventure or two.  I'm wise enough to know that I won't always get what I want, but damn it, I'm going to try.    

Yeasted Brown-Butter Waffles 

3/4 cup unsalted butter, plus more for serving
2 cups warm whole milk
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp sugar
1 1/4 oz package of active dry yeast (about 2 1/4 tsp)
1 tsp salt
2 cups all purpose flour
2 large eggs
1/4 tsp baking soda

canola or coconut oil for brushing your waffle iron
pure maple syrup and fresh fruit for serving

Melt 3/4 cup butter in medium saucepan over medium heat and stir often while the butter melts.  It will foam, then brown, takes about 5-8 minutes.  Watch it carefully.  Immediately pour into a small bowl to let cool.  Meanwhile whisk together the whole milk, buttermilk, sugar and yeast.  Pour in the cooled brown butter and whisk in the salt and flour.  Cover with plastic wrap and let stand on your counter for 8-12 hours.  In the morning, whisk in the eggs and baking soda.  Preheat your waffle maker and proceed to make waffles.  Makes 8 servings.  Recipe from Bon Appetit November 2013.  


  1. There has not been nearly enough waffles in my life in 2013. I'm going to change that in 2014. With lots of butter on top, because ... definitely YOLO :) Happy 2014, Renee!

  2. And your poor foot, too! Wishing you nothing but the best for the new year!

  3. I love this post so much! Yay for overcoming sadness and new beginnings and time healing all wounds. What a crazy year.
    And YAY for these freaking waffles. Seriously, I was just telling my parents about some yeasted waffles I tried in Toronto and how I've been craving them. Cannot wait to give them a try next time we have guests for breakfast

  4. Jennifer - All the waffles, all the time. Happy 2014!
    Donna - Thanks lady! Same to you :)
    Robyn - Oh, yes, how can we forget the foot?!!! Happily it is fully mended now, but that was a bit of a downer. Only good things for you and me in 2014!
    Stephanie - Thanks so much - I'm due for less crazies this year...we'll see if that happens. Enjoy the waffles - they are my fave!

  5. Renee, I'm glad to hear you feel back in your groove. I have to say that from afar, you've always been inspiring here despite the heartache and hardships. That said, I hope 2014 is really really good to you and treats you as you deserve:)

  6. I'm so glad you got your groove back, Renee! Happy New Year! Waffles are my favorite!


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