Grandma Kitkowski’s Perfect Waffles

11:30 pm

So, I’m cheating a bit on this one…or perhaps just stretching the rules?  Making waffles in a waffle iron may or may not be considered baking, but it is going to be my test for a baking tip I just heard.

For my friend’s wedding shower last weekend, her family set-up a cooking demonstration – what a great idea, right?  (and yes, she was the glamorous helper)  When the chef was preparing cheese souffles, she explained that egg whites should always be at room temperature before beating for maximum volume – in whatever recipe you are using.  This truly intrigued me as only some recipes I’ve made have called for the whites to be at room temperature first, so I considered the gauntlet thrown.

There are many recipes that would make this difference obvious, however, I wanted to test the theory with my (now I’m switching into a booming announcer’s voice) truly. favorite. thing. to make. EVER-er-er-er. (those were the echoes)  My Grandma’s waffle recipe can’t be beat.  Growing up, I always felt like the coolest girl when my mom would make this for post-sleepover breakfasts.  As an adult, I have made this for friends more than any other food – always with rave reviews.  (Who says waffles aren’t the perfect dinner/midnight snack/lunch/brunch/breakfast/3am snack?)  Though I knew this would be trickier to test as they don’t fluff up as much as a soufflé, I was excited about turning a little taste of heaven into a taste of heaven on a cloud.

Now, to truly make Grandma’s waffles, it’s ideal to have an old school waffle iron.  Grandma Kitkowski scored my dear ol’ faithful for a few bucks at her local second-hand store.  This is just like the one I grew up using; anytime I have Belgian waffles, the greater thickness makes it hard to get the waffle/topping ratio just right.

I began making the two separate batches as the dueling banjos song began playing in my head…and immediately regretted my mental soundtrack choice.

For those of you who have never separated egg whites from the yolks before, I had hoped to capture the act in a photograph. After one or two attempts, my handsome photographer (i.e. Rick) suggested it might be conveyed better in a video.  So, with his significant help, I bring you my YouTube debut to show you how to separate an egg (and so you can hear my wisCONsinite accent):

The difference between the two temperature whites was noticeable:

The whites on the right are straight-from-the-fridge.  Notice how they’re a bit cloudier than the others?

The next observable difference was after I beat them up (hah, couldn’t help it).  As beating egg whites to the appropriate stiffness took me a bit to get the hang of when I first started baking, I thought I’d show you the difference between almost done and not quite.  Here’s an example of whites that are almost fully beat stiff:

See how the peaks kind of fell down on top of themselves?

Now note how stiff and high the peaks stand after a bit more beating:

Now here’s a comparison of the room-temperature whites (left) and the colder ones (right):

I did my best to get similar-sized bowls to use, but it’s hard to see if the volume difference is due to the temperature or the containers.  I will say, however, that the warmer whites seemed fluffier while the colder ones more dense.

The batters didn’t seem to yield too much of a difference though, although my eyes were playing the volume trick on me again.

And then, finally, onto the finished product!  Rick and I were the sole taste-testers this time…as we are uniquely qualified as Grandma waffles connoisseurs, however, I felt confident that this would be a good test group.

But, before I go any further, you must promise me one thing if you are to make this recipe.  For the first waffle you eat, you MUST eat it as fresh-out-of-the maker as possible with butter and powdered sugar on top.  This is a time-honored way of eating Grandma’s Waffles and it’s a heart-warming delight.  Just look at how the powdered sugar combines with the melted butter in the valleys of the waffle…

Surprisingly, however, there was no noticeable difference between the two batches.  I was careful to put the same amount of batter in for each test batch and bake them until they had the same color but, try as we might, Rick and I couldn’t tell them apart.  I suspect that the difference is noticeable in recipes that are baked in an open-top container where they have more room to fluff up.

Have you had any recipes where it’s made a difference for you?

At any rate, it’s still a killer recipe that’s easy to put together.  Plus, one of the treats of making a double batch is that you have plenty left over to pop in the toaster for breakfast.  They’re better with jam or maple syrup after the first day as they dry out a bit when toasting.  They also freeze quite well.

Here’s the cost breakdown for this:

total ingredients household/store brand price high end/organic price
2 1/2 c. flour $0.42 $0.70
4 tsp baking powder $0.04 household brand
1 tsp. salt $0.06 household brand
1 Tbsp. sugar $0.20 household brand
2/3 c. butter $1.56 $2.06
4 large eggs $0.44 $1.16
2 c. milk $0.48 $0.80
TOTAL COST $3.20 $5.02

 

After seeing this cost breakdown, one of food’s greatest riddles has been solved for me.  I now know why many restaurants can afford to give customers the option of pancakes or toast with their breakfasts (seeing as how pancakes are made with similar ingredients to waffles).

One final note before I give you this treasured recipe is that it is always better to use the largest measuring cup/spoon possible for the greatest accuracy.  For example, this recipe calls for 4 tsp. baking powder, however, it’d be most accurate to use 1 Tbsp. (the equivalent to 3 tsp.) and 1 tsp.

Printable Recipe
Printable Recipe with Photo

Grandma Kitkowski’s Perfect Waffles
Servings: 3-4

My attempt at a waffle smiley face.

  • 2 1/2 c. flour
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2/3 c. (10 2/3 Tbsp.) butter, melted
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 2 c. milk

Turn on waffle iron. Combine all of the dry ingredients in a sifter.  In a small bowl, beat egg whites to stiff peaks.  In another bowl, beat egg yolks and add milk.  Then add flour mixture.  Add melted butter; the butter will likely congeal a bit from the cold milk.  Then gently fold in egg whites until just incorporated (there will be lumps).

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: