Monday, November 12, 2012


Sweet Potato Waffles
My idea of waffles was always those frozen packaged things that we would pop into a toaster for several minutes and when they were "done", we would smother them with Aunt Jemima's syrup and chunks of hard butter that never really melted.  I think the last time that I had one of those waffles was about 30 years ago.

Since then, and as the items in my kitchen continued to grow throughout the years, I still peruse the cooking sections of major department stores, specialty cooking stores, and even the discount stores, seeking for a new kitchen item that I don't own.  Although I've seen many waffle irons, I never really thought about purchasing one or making waffles from scratch--until a few weeks ago when I saw a cooking episode featuring Chef Jesse Jones on the CBS Morning Show.  Chef Jesse Jones, who is one of New Jersey's top chefs and the 2010 Ultimate Chef of Bergen County, made Sweet Potato Waffles.  Chef Jesse owns a catering business and teaches cooking classes throughout the state and has been featured on the show quite frequently.  I tasted his extreme comfort food several times and it is delicious, so his recipe for Sweet Potato Waffles got my attention.  The following day I purchased a waffle iron. 

After about a week of the iron sitting on my counter, it was time to make the waffles.  Although I had most of the dry ingredients in my pantry, I adapted the recipe slightly to use the items that I had on hand and purchased those that I didn't.  For example, I used pancake mix and a vanilla bean in lieu of the pastry flour and vanilla extract, respectively.  And eggs and butter are always core staples in the fridge, but I did need to purchase buttermilk.

I also did some research and came across a recipe for Bourbon Maple Syrup on the Bon Appetit website.  Bourbon is always a staple on the bar, particularly in the fall and winter months, and espresso is another staple that is always in the kitchen. It all came together.   I also made a side dish of braised wild mushrooms which were a perfect accompaniment to the dish. 

After dinner, the storm hit. 

Sweet Potato Waffles
Adapted from Chef Jesse Jones of Chef Jesse Concepts and owner of Heart and Soul Catering

Yield: 4-5 waffles per batch

2 cups pancake mix
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
3 egg yolks, separated, reserve egg whites
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, or seeds scraped from one vanilla bean
1 small sweet potato - baked, peeled and mashed (4-6 oz)
Vegetable oil in a spray pump (or unsalted melted butter) to coat waffle iron

Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees and pre-heat the waffle iron. 

Sift together the pancake mix, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, allspice, and both sugars in a medium bowl.

Separately, in another medium bowl, combine egg yolks, buttermilk, melted butter, oil, vanilla  extract (or seeds scraped from the vanilla bean) and mashed sweet potato.

Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix gently until combined. 

Beat the reserved egg whites until frothy and fluffy.  Gently fold egg whites into the waffle mix.  Let batter rest for about 5 minutes.

Spray waffle iron with oil (or brush with melted butter).  Ladle 4 to 6 oz of batter into iron and close.  Follow cooking instructions according to manufacturer's directions. As each waffle is done, remove from waffle iron and put each one on a cookie sheet and place in oven to keep warm. 

Remove waffles from oven.  Place on individual serving dishes and drizzle with Bourbon Maple Syrup.

Bourbon Maple Syrup
Adapted from

Yield:  3/4 cup

1 cup brewed espresso coffee
6 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
3 Tablespoons (packed) dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon espresso coffee powder
1/3 cup bourbon
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

Stir coffee, maple syrup, and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Bring mixture to a boil; cook until thickened and reduced by half, about 6-7 minutes.  Remove syrup from heat; add bourbon and 2 tablespoons butter. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until sauce is reduced to about 3/4 cup, about 40-45 minutes.  The mixture should be thick enough to coat a spoon, but not sticky, and will thicken as it cools.

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