A balsamic kick rounds out the decadent sweetness of these waffles that work for breakfast, lunch, or dinner (or all three–no judgements here!). —INGRAIN
Barley-based beer has been around since ancient times, and surely, barley griddle cakes of some kind, so we’ll say that’s why we included this recipe. (Really, we just wanted a reason to say that Sumerians invented the straw around 2400 B.C. as a way to drink beer without stirring up the sediment on the bottom. How cool is that?)
Unlike the sprouted malted barley used in brewing, barley flour is simply toasted before milling so the earthy flavors really come to the forefront. The balsamic vinegar gives the cherry compote enough heft to rally into the world of appetizers (goat cheese), mains (pork chops or duck sauce), and dessert (ice cream).
Toss all of the waffle ingredients into a bowl the night before so you’re ready to roll in the morning, or do it while the coffee brews before work. Or if it’s just been [italicize word] that kind of work day, maple syrup is a fine substitute with these waffles. Shut down the computer, turn off your phone, and settle in on the sofa with a good beer.
Makes 4 giant waffles, more with smaller waffle irons
1½ cups buttermilk or whole milk
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter
¼ cup honey
½ cup rolled oats, regular or instant
1½ cups whole wheat flour
1 cup barley flour
2¼ teaspoons (1 packet) instant or dry-active yeast
½ teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
To serve: melted butter (optional, but good) + Cherry-Orange Compote & Whipped Mascarpone (ingredients + recipe below) + zest of 1 small orange (optional)
1½ cups milk, ⅓ cup water, 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) butter, and ¼ cup honey in a medium saucepan over low heat until the butter and honey melt; set aside. In a blender, grind ½ cup oats until fine and add to a large bowl with 1½ cups whole wheat flour and 1 cup barley flour, 2¼ teaspoons (1 packet) yeast, and ½ teaspoon salt. Use a fork to stir the warm milk mixture into the flours, then stir in 3 large eggs. (See how easy this is without caffeine?) Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or up to 12 hours. Or, let the batter rise in a warm spot for 1½ to 2 hours until bubbly and smells nice and yeasty.
Waffle iron as directed, typically medium to medium-high heat. Preheat the oven to 250°F to keep the waffles warm, or use a toaster. When the waffle iron is hot, add the recommended amount of batter; for large waffle irons, use about 1 cup of batter per waffle. Close the iron (don’t peek!), and cook for a solid 2 to 3 minutes before lifting the lid. The waffle should be golden brown and firm; if not cook it a little longer. Keep the waffles warm in the oven, if you’d like, while you cook the remaining waffles.
Waffles on serving plates and drizzle some melted butter on top. Spoon the cherry compote generously over the waffles, give each a dollop of mascarpone, and sprinkle a little orange zest in top. Even better, let everyone build their own waffles.
Makes about 3 cups
1½ pounds (4 cups) fresh cherries
Strip of orange peel (2 to 3 inches)
½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
⅓ cup sugar
1½ pounds (4 cups) fresh cherries.
Cherries, a strip of orange peel (2 to 3 inches), ½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice, 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, and ⅓ cup sugar in a medium nonreactive saucepan (choose one with high sides, as this watched pot tends to boil over when it boils).
Liquid, reduce to healthy simmer, and stir every so often. Cook the cherries for a solid 15 minutes or longer, until the sauce darkens to a ruby color and reduces somewhat. The compote will thicken more as it cools. Remove the pan from the heat and add a splash of balsamic vinegar and sugar, if you’d like. Cool the compote completely, fish out the orange peel, and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
Makes 1 generous cup
8 ounces (1 cup) mascarpone
Spoonful maple syrup
Container of mascarpone (8 ounces/1 cup) by leaving it on the counter for about 30 minutes.
Mascarpone along with a spoonful of maple syrup, if you’d like, in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment until fluffy. Or, whip the mascarpone by hand (a large spoon works best), if you have the patience.