Saturday, December 22, 2012
Let's Hear It For Gingerbread!
Lots of emotions going on recently. I was remembering school Christmas nativity plays and all of the costumes and songs. I was painfully shy after about age 7, so never acted in any that I can remember, but a friend remembered being an angel and she said something interesting: "The tinsel made my shoulders itch." At first I thought she meant literally, but she was talking about feeling not worthy to be such a higher being as an angel. I know that feeling myself.
At this time of year I alternate between feeling good about myself as I choose just the right gift or make some quick bread as a gift and feeling inadequate when I realize that I don't have a gift for a friend who just made a lunch date with me or when I can't even seem to find the time to see someone I really enjoy spending time with.
I get a warm glow sending out cards to good friends and a sinking feeling that I'm going to forget to send cards to people I care about since my list hasn't been updated and I'm terrible at keeping my database clean with up to date addresses and phone numbers.
Then there is the well of sadness that lives just below the surface of my emotions and has for 13 years. Mostly it stays below the surface and I'm happy, even joyful, as I prepare for the holidays. Then something will poke a hole in that happy and the missing of my son wells up. It's OK. I ride with it, shed a few tears sometimes, and then the happy is all around me again.
It's part of the season for lots of people I think. Many of us have lost a loved one, are worried about the illness a loved one is dealing with, have to face loneliness or the death of a dream. So day by day I remind myself to live the meaning of the season. Be kind to those around me, be kind to myself, and patient, be grateful for my blessings. Share my love as generously as possible. It works. All the lights on the Christmas tree help, too.
Last, but not least, I find that making and sharing good food is my way of finding the happy. This morning we had a great breakfast with dear friends and I made Gingerbread Waffles. I'll bet you can imaging just how wonderful my house smelled as they cooked! There were topping of pure maple syrup, applesauce, an apple that had been sauteed, then mixed with some cinnamon and chopped pecans. For Sweetie there was a bowl of whipped cream which he even shared with the rest of us. Good man! Our friends brought a lot of fantastic candied bacon which also had some rice wine vinegar in the basting sauce to cut the sweetness a bit. It was a hit and I'll share the recipe if I get it. Could not have been a happier time.
The Gingerbread Waffles were based on the Amazing Overnight Waffles I love so much, but with the addition of some spices and substitution of molasses for the sugar. They were crispy and spicy and just wonderful!
Amazing Overnight Gingerbread Waffles
adapted for gingerbread flavor
from Mollie Katzen's Sunlight Cafe' Cookbook
1 packet dry yeast
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
½ cup water
Whisk together and let sit, uncovered, at room temperature for 2 hours
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon salt
all of the sponge
1/8 teaspoon instant yeast
½ cup molasses
2 cups milk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
Butter (and bread) for the waffle iron
Whipped cream if you are feeling decadent or maple syrup if you prefer
Combine the flour, spices, yeast, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the sponge that has sat for 2 hours waiting for this moment, and whisk to combine. Add the molasses, milk and whisk until blended. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let stand overnight at room temperature (or put in the fridge if room temp. is over 70 degrees F.)
The next morning, preheat the waffle iron. Melt the 6 tablespoons butter and let cool a bit. Beat the eggs in a small bowl (unnecessary if using egg substitute) then beat into the batter along with the melted butter.
Lightly spray the hot waffle iron with non stick spray, top and bottom plates, and then butter a piece of bread and use that to rub some butter on top and bottom plates.
Add just enough batter to cover the cooking surface…this varies by waffle iron…about 2/3 cup. Lower the top and cook until dark brown…it’s OK to check now and then. It takes about 2-3 minutes and it's usually when the steam starts to diminish. You want it medium-dark brown but not burnt.
Serve hot, right away, with sautéed apples, whipped cream or maple syrup, or toppings of your choice.
Note; If you have too many waffles for the number of people you are feeding, bake the leftover batter a little less than the ones you are eating, let cool on a baking rack, then freeze and store in the freezer tightly wrapped. Re-heat in the toaster.