My husband has an as-yet unexplained addiction to waffles. Maybe he wasn't loved enough as a child? Maybe the little squares, four cozy walls surrounding a pocket of flavor, make him feel safe? I have no idea. Regardless, he loves them with a passion rivaled only by whiteboards, technology, and...well, me.
Our current favorite waffle uses wheat flour, with plenty of dark chocolate chips mixed in, and a generous spoonful of cinnamon. Chris would eat these every morning if he could, I'm certain. I, on the other hand, really don't want that much sugar all the time, so I've been trying to change things up now and then.
Clearly, that was my first mistake.
I think every other incarnation of waffles I've made, Chris has been disappointed. Sweetly, kindly, gently, of course. But disappointed. He'll make a perfectly reasonable suggestion for improving them, and add, "these are still good though! Thanks, wife." He'll smile, and take another bite. Then his face will cloud with nostalgia. "But I think I still like the chocolate ones best."
After a while, this got old. Who wants to disappoint her husband every morning? So yesteday, I pulled out the big guns. "Tell you what. Tomorrow I'll make nutella waffles."
His eyes were so alight I thought he'd spontaneously combust. "Promise??"
"Promise. Nutella waffles...with strawberries and whipped cream."
Accordingly, I spent a few minutes this morning googling around before I found a recipe that called for nutella in the batter. Three-quarters of a cup of nutella.
"You've gotta be kidding me..."
But when a wife makes a promise, she really ought to keep it, so I cautiously proceeded. A smidge less nutella there, a little butter substitution for fruit puree there, and suddenly, we had waffles. Ones that I was pretty sure weren't going to send me into a sudden, unprecedented diabetic coma.
Chris ambled out of bed when I told him waffles were ready, and watched with interest as I dressed them up with the strawberry sauce I'd made, and whipped cream. We prayed; he took a bite, chewed thoughtfully. And said nothing.
I wasn't going to stand for that. I quickly prepared my plate, sat down, and placed the first delicious-looking square into my mouth.
I rolled it around my mouth, tested it with my teeth, savored the fruit and cream. It was lovely! And then, right there at the end, I caught the faintest chocolatey-sweet whisper:
"I like how it makes you slow down and figure out the flavors," I told Chris, grasping at optimism. He just nodded and took another bite. We proceeded with breakfast, mostly silent like we usually are at eight in the morning. Finally, I had to say it.
"I think the nutella flavor really gets lost when you mix it in the batter."
His relief was like another presence in the room. "I agree. I think with waffles it's just really important to have chunks interspersed, instead of things incorporated in the batter."
"I wish it would have worked better! It called for so much nutella..."
"Yeah." Chris took another bite, sadly smiling.
You'd think I'd have learned my lesson there, but no. I had to be sure. So I whipped up spice waffles, thinking pineapple juice and ginger/nutmeg/cloves would give it a gorgeous, cider-y taste.
No dice, my friends. Mostly they just taste like plain ol' waffles. I anticipate there will be a day that the knowledge that waffle mix-ins must be chunky, no exceptions, will save my marriage.
But only if it's chocolate.