Waffle on and on and on - for Waffle Day 2012
We Scandinavians can lay claim to having invented many things. From the zipper to the paper clip, we have had our fair share of useful inventions over the past many years. Long boats, Clapping hats and ABBA too, those we can claim as our own. Still, there is one thing very dear to all Scandinavian people’s hearts that we have to credit the Belgians for: the invention of the humble waffle.
In short, a waffle is just a batter that is baked in a waffle iron and eaten, just as it is, or topped with various delights. The waffle actually stems from way back in the middle ages, where it was a batter that was baked between two plates of metal, over a hot stove and flipped over to cook evenly – and the batter was made from barley and oats, as opposed to today’s leavened waffles made from wheat flour. Way back in England in the 14th century Middle Ages, the waffles were sold on the streets by vendors known as waferers.
Despite all this, waffles are immensely popular in Scandinavia – and have been for centuries. Nope, not the potato kind of waffles so popular across the Atlantic and not the thick heavy waffles so popular in the low lands of Northern Europe (Belgium, Germany and Holland), but a humble heart-shaped waffles: not too sweet but very light and crisp. The Scandinavian waffle, although not originating from there, is still very traditional and our version is usually only made on our shores. We made it our own.
International waffle day (Våffeldag) is on 25th March every year. Especially celebrated in Sweden, (where this day of waffle wonder originated), the day has religious connotations as it coincides with the Feast of the Annunciation, signalling the beginning of spring and lighter days. On this day, people all over Sweden tuck into waffles with jam and whipped cream.
Still, nowhere are waffles as popular as in Norway where they are enjoyed all year round. Every house has at least one waffle iron and a family recipe - and it is the perfect quick-snack to whip up when the family comes to visit. In Norway, waffles are served one of two ways: sour cream and jam – or, more popular, with brown cheese.
Cheese with waffles, you say? Really? And goat’s cheese at that? Yeps. It is about as Norwegian as you can possibly get without standing on a soapbox singing “Take on Me”.
This recipe is by Farmor Eva from Sweden. We sneakily took a copy of her handwritten cookbook after tasting these.
If you don’t have a heart-waffle iron, you can buy them online at Amazon or similar places. We’ve even seen them at Robert Dyas.
Farmor Eva Aurell’s Waffles
This is a good basic recipe for waffles. There are thousands of different versions for waffles – this is a good version from which to add your own personal preferences, such as different spices and maybe even soured cream to the mix.
Note: you need a heart shaped waffle iron for these waffles. If making them in a different waffle iron, you may need to increase the dough quantity as Belgian waffles are thicker than Scandinavian waffles.
250 ml water
250 ml whole milk
320g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
150 ml melted margarine or butter
Mix a bit of liquid with the flour and baking powder to form a paste (to avoid lumps), then whisk in the rest of the flour and liquid. Add the melted butter. Leave to stand while you heat up the waffle iron.
Add enough batter to the waffle iron to cover the heart shaped surface, close the lid and cook until golden brown. Repeat over until all batter is used.
Waffles are best eaten as they are cooked or they go soggy. Enjoy with whipped cream and jam or with slices of Norwegian brown cheese.