This week’s recipe is inspired by Zoe’s, a diner in Cambridge, and some sweet potatoes I needed to get use. Zoe’s has sweet potato pancakes, which they serve with brown sugar butter, and which are amazing. Erik and Emil, though, have a waffle iron, so I thought I could try something a little different from the breakfast item that inspired these.
Over breakfast, we did have a lengthy discussion about the pros and cons of waffles vs. pancakes. While I agree that pancakes are the superior breakfast food (someday soon I’ll post my dad’s recipe – they are the best pancakes in existence), I do value the pockets on waffles where syrup and butter can collect. Erik pointed out that I just like the excuse to use more butter, in an attempt to fill every hole. That may be true, but doesn’t detract from how good those little pockets of deliciousness are.
Regardless of where you fall on the waffle/pancake debate, this batter would probably let you make either. As I’m giving it here, it’s pretty basic. But, were I to make it again, I think I’d add some traditional fall spices to bring out the sweet potato flavor – think cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. That would take what are already great waffles to a whole new level.
So how to make them?
First, steam the cubed sweet potatoes for about 20 minutes, until tender when pierced with a fork. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. When the sweet potatoes are cooked, mash them with a fork, or puree them in a food processor if you’re not into the idea of occasionally eating a chunk of potato in your waffles. Then, mix the sweet potatoes in a medium bowl with the milk, light brown sugar, melted butter, and orange zest. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until thoroughly combined. In another medium bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. You’ll notice my yellow hand mixer in Erik’s kitchen – after making enough breakfast items in which I’ve had to hand whip egg whites, I decided enough was enough, and carried the mixer over to his place. I also carried my steaming basket and microplane. This is all made slightly funnier by the fact that my walk to Erik’s included first going out to a couple bars for St. Patrick’s Day shenanigans with a friend. Should anyone at the bar have needed to check my bag for any reason, I was going to have some weird questions to answer. But that’s all an aside. Fold the egg whites into the batter 1/3 at a time until just incorporated. Finally, using your waffle iron however you usually do, drop some batter (it will be thick – don’t worry, it still spreads out) into the wells and cook. The result is a very fluffy, best enjoyed immediately waffle. With lots of butter, of course.If you do have leftovers, I’d probably freeze them. When you’re going to use them again, heat them up either in the microwave or on a skillet.
Sweet Potato Waffles
- 1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- zest from one orange
- 6 egg whites, room temperature
- Place sweet potatoes in a steamer over simmering water. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, until tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from heat and mash.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, mix together mashed sweet potatoes, milk, brown sugar, butter, and orange zest.
- Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients until well combined.
- In a medium bowl, beat egg whites on medium high speed of a hand mixer until stiff peaks form.
- Fold egg whites into batter in thirds, working gently until just incorporated.
- Cook on waffle iron according to manufacturer’s directions.