When people think of vanilla, they think of ice cream. Rice pudding. Shortbread – all vehicles for the warmth and aroma of good vanilla. When I get vanilla beans, I tend to hoard them, pulling them out of their delicate glass beakers only for special occasion crème brulée, homemade ice cream and the like. I’ve recently decided to not be so stingy with my vanilla beans, and call them into service for more pedestrian recipes. Here’s a thought: when the day calls for a special breakfast in bed, you can use a vanilla bean to make your waffles (and the syrup you serve alongside) are extra special.
Bonus: if you have a vanilla bean, you can simmer the pod in your maple syrup, infusing it with flavor while simultaneously warming it before breakfast.
Vanilla Bean Waffles with Vanilla Syrup
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups milk or buttermilk
1/4 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 vanilla bean (or 1 tsp. pure vanilla)
pure maple syrup or golden syrup
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the milk, oil and eggs. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise with the tip of a sharp knife and scrape out the seeds with the blade; add that to the batter as well and whisk just until blended.
Preheat your waffle iron and spray it with nonstick spray or brush it with oil. Cook the batter according to the manufacturer’s directions (I cook about a ladleful in a thick Belgian waffle maker) until golden brown. Keep them warm in a 200F oven while you cook the rest.
Meanwhile, pour as much syrup as you think you’ll use into a small saucepan, add the scraped out vanilla pod and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and let it sit until warm but not too hot; remove the vanilla pods before serving.
Makes 6-8 large waffles.
Sweet suggestions for Mother’s Day Meals: 14 Kid-Friendly Recipes!