The first time I used a waffle iron, I was a freshman in college. The dorm dining hall at my school had a designated table with an iron and a bowl of batter with a ladle in it, and one night when the tacos or chicken surprise on the menu didn’t particularly appeal to me, I walked over to it and, using that adult independence I had newly acquired, made myself buttermilk breakfast for dinner.
In the years between then and now, I’ve eaten homemade waffles in my friend Sue’s kitchen at a different college in a different state, telling her what a good mom she’d make someday as she handed me a plate (by the way, turns out I was right); I’ve had blueberry waffles and pecan waffles and waffles covered with berries and whipped cream and chocolate syrup; in October, my brother and I split a waffle at Sola that was topped with goat cheese and strawberry-rhubarb compote; but it wasn’t until recently that I had the kind of waffle I bring you today, one that defied any preconceptions or previous taste experiences, which works to combine what we know as the waffle with something else entirely, the moist, dense sweetness of a banana bread.
I read about these waffles at both Seven Spoons and Honey & Jam before I made them, and those ladies made the waffles look so good, I already expected I would like them—in fact, it was Hannah’s reminding Tweet that convinced me towards the kitchen one night, dropping everything I was doing to mix up some batter—but even so, my first bite the next morning was a delightful surprise.
It’s crazy how you can tell yourself in your mind what something will be like, be it meeting someone in person for the first time or starting a new job or visiting a city you’ve never been to, and then when you actually experience it, it can be so different. I expected these waffles to taste like banana bread and by that, I guess I mean I expected them to taste like bananas. But they really taste like banana bread, while also like waffles, it is so uncanny, and when I ate a plateful of them before work one morning, all I could think was Yes! Of course! at what was so different and yet exactly what I had expected.
I’m kind of glad life is like that, that I don’t always know what things will be like, that I get to be surprised, delighted, by what is unusual or new, be it Twitter/blog friends I’ve gotten to meet in person for the first time this year—janet, martin & rachel (I can’t find your blog address, guys – send it to me?), randy, kendall, whitney, Caitlin, allison, gabi, even Ree of Pioneer Woman from a distance with Jacqui, a practical neighbor who’s become a great friend through blogging—or things to eat, happy breakfasts, things like these wonderful banana bread waffles.
One more thing I love about these waffles: because the yeast needs to rise overnight, these make a perfect prep-ahead breakfast. You do all the mixing of ingredients the night before and in the morning only need to scoop, pour and enjoy! (PS – You might want to have an extra banana or two around to slice up and lay on top of these or else, like me, you’ll be pulling out blueberries and confusing everything.)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch of ground clove
2 eggs, beaten lightly
1 cup mashed ripe banana (this was two bananas for me)
2 tablespoons sour cream (or greek yogurt)
In a small bowl, whisk together the melted butter, milk and vanilla. Set aside; the mixture should be warm but not hot.
In a large mixing bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, brown sugar, yeast, salt and spices. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, whisking until smooth. Stir in the beaten eggs. Cover the bowl loosely with saran wrap and refrigerate for at least 12 hours, but up to 24. (I just refrigerated it for 12)
About 30 minutes before you want to make waffles, take the batter out of the refrigerator to come up to room temperature slightly. It should be doubled in size and the surface will be covered in bubbles. (I wouldn’t say mine was doubled in size, but it was larger.)
When ready to begin, stir the sour cream into the mashed bananas and then add this to the batter. It will deflate, but use a light, quick hand to thoroughly combine.
Heat your waffle iron and bake the waffles as per the manufacturer’s instruction.