A weekend with my sisters is a jaunt to the basics. Chocolate. Carbs. Sugar.
They are somewhat picky eaters, though with time their tastes and habits seem to be bending. I asked Lila to guess what cool ingredient we were putting on our Valentine’s Day pizza. She exclaimed,”zucchini!” I was surprised by her enthusiasm for something green mixing with her cheesy pizza, but the correct answer was grapes. I didn’t add slivers of garlic to the first pizza but sprinkled them all over the second one with the hope that Melly, who dislikes onions, would try it. They both ended up liking that one even better .
But there’s no doubt where their allegiances lie.
So when it came to breakfast, I knew I had to sweeten the deal. Lila, the youngest, is certainly the trickier one to appease, and she is firmly in the pancake camp. She wants a fluffy, tender pancake rather than a crisp-edged waffle. Danny and I love the texture of waffles, so I tried to sway her with chocolate. I didn’t mention that it was dark chocolate rather than the milky, more sugary kind she’s used to eating.
From her and Danny’s latest couch fort (they’re getting more sophisticated; this one had the air mattress propped up to create bunk beds) I heard her pleas to take some of the batter and make a couple pancakes. Just try a piece of the waffle, I said. I broke off a piece of one, buttered it up, and placed it in her hand before she could object. All I heard after that were the cries of Lilo and Stitch on the TV.
“They’re only good if they’re homemade. That’s a fact.”
Soon we were all seated at the table. She seemed to quickly warm to the idea of waffles instead of her beloved pancakes for breakfast.
“How do you like them, Lila?”
“They’re good. I like your waffles,” she said. “They’re only good if they’re homemade. That’s a fact.”
No argument there. On her last waffle square, she spread the butter to cover as much surface area as possible. She broke pieces of bacon and layered them all over the top. She prepared her last perfect bites with such care, and then she dug in. Melly really liked these, too, without butter. These dark chocolate waffles are on the tender side, which is what they both prefer. Noted.
Visits to Bern’s for sundaes, mornings at the farmers market, and forts made with couches and sheets continue to be traditions when my sisters visit, and now I bet we’ll be adding these chocolate waffles to the list. Though to be honest, I may have to treat myself to another batch of these before their next weekend in town. The all-carb, pro-chocolate diet is not easy to get off of once you’re on, especially when I consider Lila’s advice.
Lila: “Thirty-five is old.”
Me: “I only have 10 years left.”
Lila: “Well, you better use those years wisely.”
dark chocolate waffles
A weekend breakfast for chocolate lovers. This waffle is flavored with chocolate in two ways — cocoa powder and finely chopped dark chocolate. They cook up tender and fluffy, and they’re best when smeared with butter, drizzled in maple syrup, and sprinkled with Maldon salt. I highly recommend serving bacon on the side. This recipe comes from the Mast Brothers in Bon Appetit.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large eggs, separated
2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate (at least 70% cacao), finely chopped
butter, maple syrup, and flaky salt, for serving
Heat oven to 250°F. Whisk flour, cocoa powder, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and add egg yolks, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Whisk together, gradually incorporating dry and wet ingredients together until just combined.
Beat egg whites with an electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. Fold half the egg whites into the batter until just combined. Repeat with the rest. Fold in chocolate.
Heat a waffle iron until very hot. Coat waffle plates lightly with nonstick spray or grease with butter. Ladle batter into waffle iron a 1/2 cupful at a time, press down the top of the iron and cook for a few minutes until the waffle is cooked through. Transfer to a wire rack or baking sheet and place in the oven to keep warm as you finish off the rest of the batter.
Serve waffles warm with butter, maple syrup, and a sprinkling of sea salt.