Potato Cheddar Waffles – Improv Challenge

Potato Cheddar Waffles

March is usually maple syrup season anywhere in the northern US. Ever since I lived in Boston and visited a western Massachusetts sugar shack on March weekends, I’ve been fascinated by the process of maple sugaring. After a long drive up a bumpy graveled road, we would emerge in a small clearing surrounded by tall maples; there stood a small sugar shack with steam pouring from the chimney. We would sit down on plastic lawn furniture to feast on the best breakfast of the year: Homemade pancakes and waffles and maple sausage, all smothered in fresh maple syrup. It wasn’t fancy; since the sugar shack (and it was a shack!) was only open the four weekends in March; but the aroma of maple syrup bubbling away above a wood fire pit is not easily forgotten.

Last year, our Michigan friends tried making their own syrup by tapping the maples on their land. Their shared final product was amazing – and like liquid gold – since it took a week to collect enough sap to fill a couple large stock pots. (It generally takes 40-50 gallons of sap to make a gallon of syrup!) And then it took hours to boil the sap into syrup. They didn’t end up with even close to a gallon of delicious syrup. Undeterred, I was excited when they offered me and my kids the opportunity to tap some of their trees this year and make our own syrup.

But…unfortunately, thanks to unseasonable warm weather this year, the sap has been running amuck since February. Perfect maple sugaring weather is when the temperature rises above freezing during the day (so the sap runs from the maples’ roots up the trunk) and then freezes at night (sending the sap back down the trunk.) This gives ample opportunity for the sap to flow out of the tree through a tap into a waiting bucket (in the olden days) or into plastic tubing these days. (Don’t worry, there is still plenty of sap remaining after sugaring season to keep the trees healthy!)

Maybe next year I’ll be able to write about my maple sugaring experiences. But in the meantime, I’ve been craving maple syrup this entire month. Thus, I knew I had to develop a recipe over which I could drizzle maple syrup for the fabulous potatoes and cheese Improv Challenge dreamed up by Kristen at Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker. Sharp Cheddar is a great match with maple – so I thought potato waffles with cheese could be delicious. I saw this Ham and Cheese Waffles recipe and found this Potato Waffles recipe. I actually removed a stick of butter from the recipe and the waffles still tasted buttery-crispy on the outside and super-moist inside, thanks to the potatoes. The cheese oozed out of the sides of the waffles to become crispy fried, and everything tasted amazing smothered in real maple syrup.

Potato Cheddar Waffles

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 1/2 cups lowfat milk
  • 1/2 cup cooked, mashed, cooled potatoes (from 1 peeled potato)
  • 3 ounces sharp white Cheddar cheese, shredded (I used 50% Reduced-Fat Cabot Cheddar)

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks, melted butter and milk. Pour into dry ingredients and stir just until combined; stir in potatoes. In another bowl, beat egg whites until medium-soft peaks form. Fold into batter.
  2. Coat waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray. Pour about 3/4 cup (depending on your waffle iron size) better onto iron. Scatter 1 heaping tablespoon cheese over batter and close iron lid to cook until golden brown and cooked through. If desired, keep warm in a 300 degree oven while making remaining waffles. Serve with pure maple syrup.
  3. Makes eight 4-inch waffles
http://teaspooncomm.com/teaspoonofspice/2012/03/potato-cheddar-waffles-improv-challenge/

potato cheese waffles

Potato Cheddar Waffles topped with dried apricots and maple syrup

Have you ever seen maple sugaring? What do you like to eat smothered in pure maple syrup?



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Comments

  1. These look great! Glad I decided to search twitter for other fellow participants since the linky is acting up – great pick for this month!

  2. Great recipe. I have bookmarked and will make!

  3. Deana! These look absolutely amazing! Being a New England girl myself, I can appreciate your love of maple syrup. I’m originally from Boston, but have never seen the maple tapping experiences you’ve described! I wish I did! Fresh maple syrup would make this such a perfect sweet and savory treat! What a great way to use this month’s ingredients! : )

    • Oh, you must get to a sugar shack this month! It’s such a treat and they are growing few and far between! Good luck! Thanks for the kudos!

  4. I would never have thought of making waffles! But why not? We eat boxty and latkes … waffles aren’t that far off.

    There are a couple maple sugar houses in my area that have festivals and open houses during sugaring season. It’s fun to go and see syrup being made (and buy delicious hot maple-glazed doughnuts).

  5. YUM! I saw a sausage/potato/cheese waffle from Rachael Ray that I was going to try for this challenge — but my waffle iron is on the fritz. *sigh*

  6. I never thought to have savory waffles before, but these sound so good, I will have to try them sometime.

  7. These waffles sound amazing! I’ve always thought about making a savory waffle, but just never have … though now I don’t have an excuse! Great recipe!

  8. Wow, what a creative recipe for the Improv Challenge! I have never had cheddar cheese with maple syrup, but I’m a big fan of salty/sweet combos, so I bet it’d be right up my alley!

  9. Oh, yum…I can’t imagine the fabulous taste of freshly made maple syrup. And your waffles look incredible…great Improv idea :)

    • Thanks Liz! Just warm up your maple syrup a little…and you’ll get close to the idea of the fresh stuff! (:

  10. I love how you made these healthy. It’s hard to believe the recipe called for a stick of butter. This was a wonderful improv entry!!

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