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I am fairly new to the world of waffles. My mother tells me that she used to make them, but I mostly remember her pancakes, omelets and drop biscuits. The person who I identify waffles with most is my stepmother Regan. A trip to the mountain house in Mt. Shasta is not complete without her heart shaped waffles. They are wonderful!

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The heaping plate of hearts is a sight to behold. And the plate seems almost bottomless as we devour countless crispy treasures. If we are not gazing into our Grammy Regan hearts, we are admiring Mt. Shasta in the floor to ceiling picture windows as we ponder our adventurous day ahead. The memories we’ve created there with my father and Regan (also know as Grandpa Benino and Grammy Regan) are tucked away in the happy spaces of our minds — enjoying waffles, bocci ball tournaments, board games that span a few days, snow shoeing, hikes and exploring fishing holes.

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A few weekends ago, as the weather started to take on a chill, my thoughts transported me Mt. Shasta. I woke up with a yearning for a healthy waffle that had a zing of flavorful spices to take the chill out of a winter day. It was a quiet morning at home with my son, whom I affectionately refer to as Secondo. Once the breakfast was prepared we sat down together and upon taking his first bite of this creation he closed his eyes and recommended that I open a restaurant. To have the unwavering belief of a child is truly magical. I smiled and thanked him and explained that to do that would mean that I wouldn’t be able to spend mornings with him or his older sister. He quickly reminded me that on our recent travels to Kauai we went to a restaurant that is only open one day a week. He suggested that maybe I could consider that as an option! Should I ever consider it, one day a week would be the perfect amount of work to indulge my love of food and breakfast.

These waffles have all the great flavor of gingerbread plus something that cake doesn’t have – those handy grids that soak up syrup so well! They are great any time during the winter holidays and the batter can also be used for pancakes. Included in this post are a few special recipes for unique toppings – Apple Cider Syrup, Coffee Cake Crumble and Persimmon Apple compote.

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Coffee Cake Gingerbread Chocolate Protein Waffles

Gingerbread Chocolate Protein Waffles Ingredients

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsps baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

2 TBS sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsps ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Pinch of ground cloves

1 1/2 cups whole milk or buttermilk

1 large egg

1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

2 tablespoons dark (not light or blackstrap) molasses

1 TBS chocolate protein powder (optional)

Toppings- see below for serving ideas

Gingerbread Chocolate Protein Waffles Directions

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves

In another bowl, add milk and the egg — lightly with a fork to break up the egg. Stir in the cooled melted butter and molasses.

Add the liquid ingredients into the mixing bowl and stir with a wooden spoon until the dry ingredients are moistened. Some small lumps in he batter are okay.

Heat the waffle iron. Spray the griddle with cooking spray, if it is an older non-stick waffle maker.

Pour approximately 1/3 cup of the batter, per 4-inch waffle, onto the center of a hot waffle iron, spreading batter evenly to edges. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until steaming stops, and repeat procedure with remaining batter. Serve the waffles immediately or keep them warm in a preheated 200 degree oven on a platter loosely covered with aluminum foil. Repeat with the remaining batter.

Serves 6.


Coffee Cake Crumble

Crumble Ingredients

½ cup pecans, rough chopped

½ cup walnuts, rough chopped

½ cup dried bing cherries (or can use 5 pitted dates)

1 TBS coconut sugar

1 TBS instant espresso

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground cinnamon

Crumble Directions

Mix all ingredients together and serve on top of waffles.

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Persimmon Apple Compote

Compote Ingredients

2 Fuju persimmons, cut into small pieces

1 medium size Fuji or Granny Smith apple, cut into small pieces

1/2 cup pecans, rough chopped

2 TBS unsalted butter

2 TBS maple syrup

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

Compote Directions

Place persimmons, apple, pecans and butter in a small pan. Cook stirring regularly over medium heat, for approximately 5-7 minutes or until soft.

Add in pecans, cinnamon and nutmeg. Combine until well blended. Transfer to a serving bowl or refrigerate for up to a week. Quickly reheat before using.


Apple Cider Syrup

Syrup Ingredients

2 cups apple cider

2 TBS honey

2 TBS fresh lemon juice

2 TBS unsalted butter

Syrup Directions

In a small saucepan combine cider, honey, and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the mixture is reduced by half.

Remove the pan from the heat and add in the butter. Serve this syrup warm or pour into a tightly covered container and refrigerate for up to 1 week. Reheat before serving (but do not boil it, or the butter will separate).