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Brown Butter Waffles with Cherries

Hot, golden waffles, crisp on the outside and tender on the inside, are a spectacular way to kick off a weekend morning, whether you’re at home in your slippers or in a booth at a bustling diner. The indentations are perfect for catching melted butter, maple syrup or the juices from fresh fruit, such as this honeyed cherry compote.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cherries (about 1/2 pound) 
  • 3 Tbs. orange blossom or other mild honey 
  • 4 Tbs. unsalted butter 
  • 2 cups whole milk 
  • 2 large eggs, separated   
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract 
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 3 Tbs. sugar 
  • 4 tsp. baking powder 
  • 1⁄4 tsp. fine sea salt 

Directions:

Halve and pit the cherries and place in a bowl. Add the honey, stir to mix evenly and let stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes to allow the cherries to release some of their juice.

Preheat an oven to 200°F. Have ready a rimmed baking sheet. Preheat a waffle iron. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the milk solids in the bottom of the pan turn a toasty brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool slightly. Add the milk, egg yolks and vanilla, and whisk until combined.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the milk mixture and whisk just until combined (a few small lumps are okay). In another bowl, using a clean whisk or a handheld mixer, whip the egg whites until soft peaks form. Scoop the whites onto the batter and, using the whisk, gently fold them in evenly. If your waffle iron is not nonstick, lightly and evenly oil the grid. According to the manufacturer’s instructions, spoon the batter over the grid, close the lid and cook until the waffle is golden brown, usually about 4 minutes. Transfer to the baking sheet and keep warm in the oven. Repeat with the remaining batter. Serve the waffles piping hot with a big spoonful of the cherries. Serves 4.

Variation: For diner-style waffles, stir 1 Tbs. malted milk powder into the dry ingredients after sifting, and serve with the classic duo of butter and pure maple syrup. For strawberries-and-cream waffles, substitute sliced strawberries tossed with sugar to taste for the cherries and top with dollops of whipped cream.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Comfort Food, by Rick Rodgers (Oxmoor House, 2009).