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9 am Sunday: sugar and shortbread

When my former employer Rebecca and her gay husband Jimmy promised another buttery breakfast, they meant business.

As I learned in the Dutch babies episode, Jimmy fears no fat. He is a firm believer in butter, cream, and all things buttercreamy, and his waffles are no exception. Not content to settle for a normal version, he makes a shortbread waffle that is, as one might expect, heavy on the butter. In fact, the batter is rich and thick enough to be dolloped onto the waffle iron with an ice cream scoop, awe-inspiring in a way that’s both very beautiful and completely terrifying.

Rebecca’s straight husband—and comic straight man—John nearly hyperventilated at the sight. Jimmy closed the lid of the iron with cool confidence. Rebecca sipped her orange juice nonchalantly and toyed with a plate of bacon. The whole spectacle sent me into a cold sweat, some sort of strange and dreadful anticipation.

“Jimmy, what kind of syrup do you use on your waffles?” I asked by way of distraction.

“Oh, you know—just the regular pancake syrup. That’s what Rebecca likes,” he replied.

“I’m surprised you’re not a 100%-maple guy,” I said.

“That’s not nearly enough sugar, Little Bird!”* Rebecca interjected; “I need more! I’ve got to have my sugar!”

“Rebecca, maple syrup is sugar,” I reminded her, but it was a wasted effort. She's very serious about these things. When Jimmy makes waffles, Rebecca gets an entire pitcher of syrup all to herself. There’s already a cup of sugar in the batter, but that’s far from sufficient. We’re dealing here with a very unconventional woman, and her sugar needs are only appropriate—wildly immoderate, fantastically indecent, and very, very serious.

Behold, as meager illustration, her plate of waffles, and please keep in mind that this was only the first syrup pour. There would be others to follow, as well as another swipe or two of butter. In the background is her (sizable) syrup pitcher, which of course had to be emptied. If you look closely, you’ll note that each well of the waffle—itself a matrix of sugar and sugar—was swollen with syrup, barely able to hold itself together. I believe that what I witnessed was a sort of violence. A very tasty violence.

Meanwhile, over on my plate, there was less syrup—truth be told, I’m a maple snob—but a similar enthusiasm. The waffles were rich and sweet, with the tight, buttery crumb and snap of a shortbread cookie. In fact, though I’m not usually one to delay gratification, I’d be tempted to save them for dessert, with warm maple syrup and a creamy, melting scoop of good vanilla ice cream.

But then again, saving sugar for dessert would be so conventional.

*Rebecca began calling me “Little Bird” at some point during my period of employment as her Queen of Customer Service. Though I first found the nickname a bit odd and irritating, I’ve developed quite a fondness for it. And anyway, if you compare my syrup consumption with Rebecca’s, it starts to sound rather fitting.

Jimmy’s Shortbread Waffles
Adapted from the recipe book that came with his Salton waffle iron

Jimmy tells me that these waffles freeze well and reheat beautifully in the toaster—a sophisticated Eggo, if you will.

1 ¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
A good squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Sift the flour and sugar together into a large bowl. In a separate medium bowl, beat the eggs with an electric beater until fluffy. Add the eggs to the flour-sugar mixture, and beat together until just combined. Add the butter and lemon juice, and mix until smooth. Do not overmix. The batter will be very thick. Use an ice cream scoop—or a 1/3 cup measuring scoop—to dollop the batter onto a heated waffle iron. Cook until golden.

Yield: 12 smallish (Eggo-size, say) waffles.


Blogger amylou said...

Oh, Good Lord! That is truly a LOT of butter. Pardon me, I need to go comfort my arteries now, they're a little frightened.

1:32 PM, March 20, 2005  
Blogger amylou said...

Oh, wait, I just re-read the post. I thought the scoops on the waffle iron were bUtter, not bAtter. You can imagine why I was so shocked.

(Arteries now sufficiently calmed)

1:35 PM, March 20, 2005  
Blogger Zarah Maria said...

Must. make. shortbread waffles. NOW. And of course, pour syrup down my throat by the pitcher full. It just wouldn't seem right without it.

1:48 PM, March 20, 2005  
Blogger blackbird said...

Freakin god.
Made the pancake this morning -- too eggy for my crowd, but fun to watch. But this waffle business?
The butter quotient is right up our alley. Will call from the ER.

1:53 PM, March 20, 2005  
Blogger Christian said...

I love the writing style, and those waffles do look quite delicious. I am tempted to make them but I lack a waffle iron. Toodles.

2:10 PM, March 20, 2005  
Anonymous keiko said...

Molly, I might buy a waffle maker... tomorrow!

3:30 PM, March 20, 2005  
Blogger stef said...

i've been searching for a good waffle recipe that might convert my non-waffle eating husband. i think this will do the trick! thanks for sharing!

5:51 PM, March 20, 2005  
Blogger Nic said...

Those are some fine lookin' waffles, Molly. I'd personally save them for dessert. =)

6:08 PM, March 20, 2005  
Blogger Molly said...

Amy, I howled when I read your second comment. Howled. Have your arteries stopped seizing?

Zarah Maria, I should introduce you to Rebecca. She could show you the proper syrup-guzzling technique, I'm sure.

Blackbird, keep me posted. I will not, however, be responsible for any medical bills!

Christian, thanks for stopping by! Perhaps you should befriend someone with a waffle iron? That's how I handle my ironless state.

Keiko, your photography skills plus these waffles could be absolutely out of this world.

Stef, if your anti-waffle husband likes shortbread cookies, this might indeed do the trick! These waffles have a very cookie-like consistency, which I think is unusual. Let me know if it works!

And Nic., I'm with you on the dessert thing. I just keep thinking about these as the base of a sundae...

10:04 PM, March 20, 2005  
Anonymous Nicole said...

I made (and loved) the "Dutch babies," for which I went out and found the appropriate cast iron pan. (I had wanted/needed one for some time, I just benefited from a little push!)

It seems I now need a waffle iron. And a Kg of butter or two. I couldn't be happier!

1:31 AM, March 21, 2005  
Blogger Emily said...

wwhooaaaaa there!! the picture of the waffle iron and batter excites me in a way only an overload of butter can. thank you for sharing the story and the recipe with us.. i'm going to have to make these now!! :)

6:44 PM, March 21, 2005  
Blogger Molly said...

Nicole, I'm so glad to hear that the babies were a success! I think I see a waffle iron in your future...

And Emily, let that excitement loose on a pair of waffles!

8:48 AM, March 22, 2005  
Blogger dayment said...

My husband and I are dutch pancake people - I like them because we use the lemon, butter and powdered sugar (since I don't like syrup). We also bake it in a pie pan and it does fine.
If we HAD a waffle iron I would make these waffles. *sigh*

By the way - nice to meetcha - I live in Seattle too and there is a group of us girls that think you should JOIN US (cue scary voice). We are a knitting, cooking, baking, crafty, snarky bunch.

11:41 AM, March 22, 2005  
Blogger Avatar said...

You have to love that sort of hedonistic approach to all things culinary. I only wish I was able to partake; the outcome looks delicious.

12:27 PM, March 22, 2005  
Blogger Molly said...

Dayment! A fellow Seattlite! And a lover of Dutch babies! Drop me an e-mail sometime. I'm always game for craftiness and snarkiness.

And Avatar, now that you have the waffle recipe, perhaps you can recreate our morning of hedonism?

1:49 PM, March 22, 2005  
Blogger Compmouse said...

I just found your journal via the Not Martha website and am inspired by your writing and wonderful recipes!

Those waffles look fantastic!

And hey! I think I have that very same belgian waffle iron!

5:44 PM, March 22, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Molly, I admit to being a pure maple snob too, particularly after I spent a year in Vancouver. Although that was some time ago I occassionaly crave and have bacon, maple syrup and pancakes. Most other Australians would wonder why I feel the need to mix my dessert with meat!

The waffles look divine and I will have to track down a waffle maker too. The only other floury type breakfast item I think I would need to know who to make other than Dutch babies and a shortbread waffle would be coconut crumpets. I had them at a cafe with a lemon butter and they were divine.


3:14 AM, March 23, 2005  
Anonymous dave said...

This is why we need youngsters blogging. To test out these potentially deadly-decadent concoctions. I think I'm salivating excessively.

7:37 AM, March 23, 2005  
Blogger Molly said...

Thanks, Compmouse!

And Lushlife, you've got excellent taste. Coconut crumpets? I'm swooning.

And Dave, perhaps you should get Frankie into food blogging?

1:09 PM, March 23, 2005  
Blogger Zarah Maria said...

I did it Molly - I made these. They were DIVINE and yes, I did use a lot of syrup (cane sugar syrup - the lid on my maple syrup was stuck and I couldn't get it of! Darn it!), making sure to fill every little hole with syrup. Am still on a sugar high, eyes all glazed - literally, heh! Thank you for sharing the recipe! (And thank you Jimmy, for letting Molly share!)

2:53 PM, March 27, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm a new poster but an old reader. Love this site and would love to know the name of rebecca's silverware pattern. Its gorgeous. thanks.

6:44 PM, March 29, 2005  
Blogger Molly said...

Zarah Maria, I'm thrilled to hear of your success! Yum. But how dare that maple syrup be so temperamental...

And Anonymous, I have bad news for you. I asked Jimmy about his silverware pattern (that's what was in the photo), and he tells me that it's a discontinued pattern from Pottery Barn. It was given to him as a gift about three years ago, and he unfortunately can't remember what it was called. Perhaps you can do some research?

12:24 PM, March 30, 2005  
Anonymous AXA said...

Thanks so much for following up on the silverware thing. I had no idea Pottery Barn turned out such cool product. unfortunately, my search did not turn anything up. oh well, it was not meant to be. though they have a very pretty pattern right now that I might be eye-ing.

ps - I made the dutch babies too and loved them. and I would totally make the waffles if I had a waffle iron. yum yum.

5:40 PM, March 31, 2005  
Anonymous kayenne said...

that IS a whole lot of butter for barely 2 cups of flour! i don't have a waffle iron...i wonder how it'll do as pancakes? hmm...

your friend reminds me of how i used to pour the syrup... poor pancakes swimming mercilessly! i had to cut back after i started wearing a dent on my floor, pacing.

2:28 AM, November 05, 2006  
Anonymous linda said...

I made these with butter and they were great!
But, then when I made them again i didn't have butter so I made them with margarine. They did not turn out well at all! You need real butter for these.

8:17 PM, March 21, 2007  
Blogger valentina said...

Thanks Molly!
I tried these & I enjoyed each bite! I don't care about the amount of butter;)

8:57 PM, March 01, 2008  
Anonymous kate o. said...

oh. my. these were good. but funny story, as i was lifting the waffle iron up to get ready to clean it, a crazy amount of butter that had oozed out from the batter poured right into the electrical unit. so long, waffle iron. but i was happy to sacrifice it for such goodness.

12:19 PM, November 19, 2008  
Blogger Molly said...

Oh no, Kate! That's terrible! (And kind of disgusting. Eeek!) I'm so, so sorry about your waffle iron.

5:54 PM, November 19, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't wait to try these waffles! It's interesting to me that they don't contain any leavening which must be why they have the shortbread consistency. Oh, all that glorious butter!! Don't tell anyone I said that butter is glorious...I'm a dietitian!!

5:20 PM, January 14, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many Years ago my mother was given a waffle receipe .It's origins were from Denmark I believe .Over the years she made them from memory and in her later years there was some problem in the replication of her , family named "Granny's Waffles". There was a complaints about our attempts to duplicate Granny's Waffles .The problem was with the modern Irons ,it was the distance ,or thickness or distance between the top and bottom squares on the iron itself .They caused the iron to over cook the thin portions between the top and bottom squares of the waffle griddle plates.We stiil have the origional Waffle Iron although it needs a re-wire .I have looked at many new irons but have not found anything close to the old one .I am about to try Granny's Waffles again or Jimmy's soon .This time I am going to try and bake as a cookie style using a moulded small(bite size)cupcake style tray .Later I plan to try some modifications ,maybe adding wheat gem or whole wheat flower or peanut butter .My family and friends enjoy the taste at anytime of the day as a snack .

9:00 AM, January 24, 2009  
Anonymous Christine said...

I love the idea of making these for dessert and serving with ice cream. I just really don't think I could serve something like this to my family and actually call it breakfast. Good lord! But, warm maple syrup and cold ice cream for after dinner. Oh, yes!

9:11 PM, January 03, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought those were balls of butter on the waffle iron...about to have a heart attack. Whoo-ee I only wish I could eat these.

My parents are pure maple snobs too. Well, my dad would be having grown up in upstate NY and all.

7:24 PM, March 04, 2011  
Blogger AnickH said...

ive seen other waffle recipes w/ this much butter but never any with this much sugar, will this be too much sugar???

1:24 AM, August 19, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want to make these tomorrow, but I'm really confused. Are we supposed to just add the room temperature butter (which would still be solid) to the batter? Or are supposed to melt it first? Or are we supposed to beat the butter and sugar first?? HELP PLEASE!

2:24 AM, March 23, 2013  

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