This fall, NYT Cooking spotlighted a A Recipe For Fluffy Pumpkin Pancakes in the print edition of the New York Times, which was clipped out by this pancake/waffle lover. About the same time, King Arthur Baking Company sent an e-mail highlighting a breakfast meets autumn recipe for flavorfully spiced, pumpkin-laced pancakes.
The King Arthur pancake recipe was tempting to make with its estimated prep time of 10 minutes to yield nine 4 1/2 inch pancakes. But with a well-used (for many years) and handy Cuisinart classic waffle maker (no longer available and seemingly out-classed by the ones now available from Cuisinart) in the kitchen, this home cook tends towards homemade waffles over pancakes.
There’s also a magical appeal to making a waffle since the breakfast treat cooks hidden away in an appliance until a timed 3 minutes when it’s done. And then, it appears like a jack-in-the box with a bit of a surprise. Batter transformed into its unique waffle shape with groves perfect for absorbing sweet maple syrup. So it was an easy decision to fine-tune the ingredients suggested by the NYT Cooking and King Arthur recipes and make pumpkin pecan waffles instead of pumpkin pancakes.
The main distinction in pancakes and waffle recipes from some years of experience is that waffles require more vegetable oil or melted butter in the batter than pancakes. Makes good sense since the extra vegetable oil assures that the waffle won’t stick to the waffle iron and can be removed more easily. There’s no fun in cleaning a waffle iron with pieces of batter cooked on to it.
My classic Cuisinart waffle maker came years ago with an instructions and recipe booklet, including a basic waffle recipe which calls for 6 tablespoons of vegetable oil for a recipe with 2 cups of flour. That proportion of oil to flour guided my fine-tuning of the pancake recipes into a waffle recipe. (Of note, NYT Cooking’s pumpkin pancakes called for 3 tablespoons of melted butter for 1 1/2 cup of flour; King Arthur pumpkin pancakes called for 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil for 1 1/4 cup of flour. Clearly, waffle batter requires more vegetable oil than pancake batter.
And as a long-time supporter of local and organic sourcing of ingredients, I use an all-purpose whole wheat flour from Farmer Ground Flour, Maple Hill plain kefir, Farmer’s Market brand organic pumpkin, local eggs from Hidden Camp Farm, and a local maple syrup instead of granulated sugar. The wonderful Bulk Food Section (with its amazing 1000 bins of products) of the Honest Weight Food Co-op in my hometown of Albany, NY is my source for organic pecans as well as “pumpkin pie” type spices such as cinnamon, ground ginger, and nutmeg, as well as Himalayan pink sea salt. My local food co-op was also the source for Napa Valley Natural Sunflower Oil and the vanilla extract (which is also sold in the bulk food section).
Looking closely at the two recipes for pumpkin pancakes, I preferred the one from NYT Cooking since it called for 3/4 cup of pumpkin purée while the other recipe from King Arthur specified only 1/3 cup of pumpkin purée. The more pumpkin, the better, guided my decision. In addition, the King Arthur recipe specified 1 1/2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice. IMHO, it’s preferable to detail the specific amount of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg to use, as did the NYT Cooking recipe.
AND since my 15 ounce can of Farmer’s Market organic pumpkin was equal to 1 and 1/2 cups of pumpkin purée, I decided to double the amount used of each of the ingredients in the NYT Cooking recipe (since the recipe specified only 3/4 cup of pumpkin purée) and make a bountiful supply of pumpkin pecan waffles. I didn’t want to waste 7.5 ounces of the Farmer’s Market organic pumpkin. It took a little pondering and some mathematic skills for an older brain to decide to use up 4 eggs and 9 tablespoons of vegetable oil due to the doubling of ingredients, but I have discovered over the years that homemade waffles freeze very well and are a cinch to warm up in a toaster for a minute or so for an evening snack or dessert.
No worries that the 18 or so waffles from this recipe will be savored for their pumpkin spice flavors and enjoyed, hot off the waffle iron or days/weeks later, warmed up for a minute or so in a simple toaster. But if that’s too many waffles for you, simply cut the ingredients in half. But don’t waste the remaining half a can (7.5 ounces) of pumpkin purée, if you take the lazy route like me of not roasting up a small pumpkin in the oven!
I also fine-tuned the NYT Cooking recipe by substituting super creamy and mildly tart Maple Hill kefir for the buttermilk specified, and by using maple syrup as a sweetener instead of granulated sugar.
Pumpkin Pecan Waffles (makes 16-18 waffles!)
3 cups of all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons of baking powder
1 & 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
3/4 teaspoon of sea salt, finely ground
3 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons of ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 to 1 cup of pecan pieces
1 & 1/2 cups of pumpkin purée
4 tablespoons of maple syrup
3 cups of plain kefir
9 tablespoons of vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices together until well combined.
In a medium bowl, whisk the kefir, pumpkin purée, eggs, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract until well combined.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and combine gently.
Fold in the pecan pieces.
Heat up the waffle maker. My maker has five settings from light to deep golden brown and I use the #3 setting. Ladle the batter on to the waffle maker, leaving room for the batter to spread when you close the cover.
I don’t depend on the waffle maker’s green light to indicate doneness, instead I set a timer for 3 minutes. Then using two forks, I gently lift the waffle from the maker.
Serve the waffles as you make them or keep them warm as you cook them by setting them on a baking sheet in a 250-degree oven. Ones which you will be freezing, set on cooling racks.
To freeze extra waffles, after they cool-off, I use If You Care Unbleached Waxed Paper (also available at my home-town food co-op) between each waffle so they don’t stick together, in groups of 4 waffles and bag them in plastic bags.
(Frank W. Barrie, 10/27/20)