Here's a fun question from Jennie, who is throwing a waffle party for her husband this weekend. She writes:
I'm throwing a birthday brunch gathering for my husband this Sunday. Instead of brunch basics though, I'm envisioning a full-out Waffle Bar - I'll churn out homemade Belgian beauties and my guests can choose from an array of fabulous toppings. Here's where I'm stuck:
1. Thoughts on making waffles ahead of time and keeping warm in the oven? Will they get soggy?
2. For toppings I've got fresh fruit, Nutella, dark chocolate sauce, maple syrup and whipped cream. What else would be delish on waffles?
Jennie, what a fun birthday idea! I think waffles make a great brunch centerpiece; they aren't an everyday breakfast food, and it's fun to fill up those little holes with syrup.
This also reminds me of the waffles I had at a concert just before Christmas. They were made by Taste From Belgium, a Cincinnati company. (Forgive the heinous photo; all I had was a phone.) They make these thick, almost rotund, waffles with a rich, yeasty chewiness and texture. They make the dough ahead of time and roll it into balls with ice cream scoops. Then they slap the refrigerated dough on their seriously industrial waffle iron and cook it for a few minutes. They sprinkle the waffles with pearl sugar while they're cooking so the outside gets all caramelized. They hand you the finished waffle, piping hot, in a little sleeve of paper -- no forks needed.
These things are heavenly. They made me see waffles in an all-new way. So, obviously I am going to suggest a yeasted waffle recipe - they just have more heft, and they also seem to hold up better than the regular soda-batter waffles.
I would also suggest doing like Taste From Belgium and making and scooping your dough the night before. Then you can make waffles to order very quickly; you may not even need your oven. Here are some yeasted waffle recipes:
Also, here is Taste From Belgium's website. If you are in Ohio, check them out.
For toppings, we don't have a lot of ideas - yours sound great. Perhaps add some creme fraiche, honey, and jams? You could also have dishes of crumbled bacon, cheese, and green onions for anyone who wanted to try a savory version.
Readers... more waffle bar ideas?
Related: Weekend Project: Family Brunch!
(Image: Martha Stewart's Gingerbread Waffles)