Like everyone, I cycle through recipes. I try a lot of new ones for my job at The New York Times, and I shuffle through a pile I keep as inspiration for other writing projects. Some I try only once. Others, I come back to again and again, until I get it right or get bored or both. Then there are the recipes that I always use. They are family recipes or dishes that were so good -- or so easy and so good -- that they became part of the rotation at my house. Here are some of those constants, including recipes from Spoon Fed.
The recipe Marion Cunningham always used has appeared in her breakfast book and in dozens of publications. When my former editors at the San Francisco Chronicle did a 20-year retrospective of the best recipes the newspaper had published, the waffles took top honor for 1989.
1/2 cup warm water
1 package active dry yeast
2 cups milk, warmed
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1. Use a rather large mixing bowl—the batter will rise to double its original volume. Put the water in the mixing bowl and sprinkle in the yeast. Let stand for 5 minutes, until yeast dissolves.
2. Add the milk, butter, salt, sugar and flour to the yeast and beat until smooth and blended.
3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand overnight at room temperature.
4. Just before cooking the waffles, beat in the eggs, add the baking soda and stir until well mixed. The batter will be very thin.
5. Cook on a very hot waffle iron, adding about 1/3 cup batter per grid. Do not use a Belgian waffle maker. Bake until the waffles are golden and crisp to the touch.
Note: The leftover batter will keep several days if you cover it and put it in the refrigerator.
Yield: About 8 waffles, which keep nicely in a warm oven until they are all cooked and ready to serve. Of course, people like them hot off the iron, too.