Monday, August 10, 2015

Savory Cheese & Sausage Waffles - The "All in One" Breakfast

Our family is on the go, constantly. Nearly every weekend is consumed by some fun activity - skiing, camping, traveling, etc. We love it, though it can be exhausting at times. Completely self inflicted. On the weekends we do end up staying home, it's our time to relax and get some stuff done around the house.

One of my favorite meals to cook on these lazy at-home weekends is breakfast. I have a multitude of pancake and waffle recipes that we rotate between. It's a bit of an addition, and my husband doesn't even really care for them!

Awhile back, someone mentioned the idea of adding sausage and cheese to waffles. Sounded kind of strange, but somewhat intriguing. A "multi-meal" type of breakfast affair. I gave it a whirl, adapting one of my favorite buttermilk waffle recipes, and was incredibly impressed.

These waffles are the perfect balance between fluffy buttermilk waffles with the savory goodness of seasoned sausage and a hint of cheese. Full of flavor and very filling, you'll hardly be able to make it through 1 or 2 of them. Or, if you're me, you fit a bit more in, just because.

You can bake these in a regular waffle iron, or a Belgian waffle iron. I chose Belgian, but am increasingly frustrated by how uneven mine cooks.

Also, as with all the best waffle recipes, the key to fluffiness is separating the eggs and whipping the whites into peaks. Folding them into the batter at the very end allows the air to mix into the batter, leaving you with great texture. Don't skimp here.

I especially love these because my kids really like them, and I'm able to get a bit of protein in them at the same time. A more "balanced" breakfast, if you will. They like to help prepare them, as well, even if I lose a few bits of cheese here and there from sneaky fingers.

Did I mention these freeze/store well? They are perfect for an on-the-go breakfast. Pop one in the toaster to warm it up, and head out into your day with a hearty breakfast to keep you going.

It's fairly straightforward, adapted from the incredible buttermilk waffles recipe shared by Sally's Baking Addiction.

Savory Cheese & Sausage Waffles

- 1 lb ground pork breakfast sausage
- 1 & 3/4 C. all-purpose flour
- 1 & 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs, separated
- 1/2 C. unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 1 & 3/4 C buttermilk
- 1-2 C shredded cheddar cheese (depending on your love of cheese)

1. Preheat your waffle maker on medium-high heat. If you're not eating right away, preheat your oven to 200F degrees, as well, to store them while you (not so patiently) wait.
2. Brown the sausage, breaking it up into smaller pieces. Similar to how you cook ground beef. Drain, and set a side to cool a bit while you prepare the rest.
3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In another large bowl, whisk the egg yolks, butter, and buttermilk. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and combine until smooth, taking care not to over mix.
4. Fold the sausage and cheese into the batter until mostly incorporated.
5. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form. I prefer my KitchenAid mixer with the whisk attachment. My arm appreciates it.
6. Fold gently into the batter until the sausage, cheese, and egg whites are incorporated. Err on the side of under mixing. You don't want to lose all that air in the eggs.
7. All waffle makers are different, so you'll want to pour the amount of batter you typically use. For example, 1/3 - 1/2 cup per "square" is about perfect in my Belgian maker.
8. Once they are golden brown, serve them up! A healthy dose of butter on top is great. Some don't like sausage and maple syrup together, but I do like the combo of sweet and savory.

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