I count myself among those devoted cooks who aren’t afraid to break out their waffle irons. A brave and foolhardy bunch, we make our batters from scratch or from boxes, and indulge in the ridiculous pageant of cooking waffles.
Why? After all, any hot, flat surface would transform an almost identical batter into golden brown (and arguably easier) pancakes. But the waffle is a brilliant vessel for flavor, and its surface packs tiny squares for nestling even more delight.
These three simple waffles only feel complex. The savory waffle is a delightful blend of strong flavors: sesame, scallion, sharp cheese toasted until golden brown. The chocolate waffle — for true chocolate lovers — is intensified by unsweetened cocoa powder. It’s for your breakfast or brunch plate, but can double as a sweet snack with coffee or a dessert topped with whipped cream and berries. My 4-year-old daughter Aṣa will take hers with maple syrup in each of the little waffle holes, please and thank you. The buckwheat waffle, as a gluten-free option, is nutty and fragrant with lemon zest. Best of all, it will accept any fresh or frozen berries you want to throw in the batter.
I’ve tried to bring my girls into the kitchen, young as they are, to give them agency, and to help them carve out their own memories. As with any pastime a parent hopes to pass down, though, this one is yielding mixed results. Aṣa loves making waffles but won’t eat them unless chocolate is the central ingredient. My 1-year-old, Midé, will eat anything, but what she loves most is making epic messes. These recipes are perfect for keeping my tiny collaborators involved and entertained, allowing me to curate moments of exploration as their attentions shift.
My life is filled with rigid, unwieldy contraptions: strollers, car seats, high chairs — a parents’ world. By comparison, my waffle maker is comforting and amenable, like an old friend. Whether your collaborators are experts or novices, think of each recipe as flexible and forgiving, designed to elicit joy from the moment the lid is lifted.