I come from a large, busy, chaotic family. I am not a particularly busy person myself, so there were times when growing up that I would have killed for some peace and quiet (memories of trying to read by the pool while my siblings splashed me are especially vivid in this regard). However, as much as I enjoy some quiet (well kinda quiet, I do have 2 very young kids), it is always hard on me when people leave after visiting. Even if it is only for a day visit, that moment when my family drives away the whole house feels empty, lonely and melancholy.
I cannot decide if having kids makes it better or worse. On the one hand, I have company to empathize with me. On the other hand, they are usually devastated themselves.
My sister left this afternoon, driving away, tooting her horn as promised, while Alex shouted to drive safely at the top of her lungs. The minute she got to the end of the driveway Sammy burst into tears, sobbing that she did not say goodbye (she did, but she’s 3 1/2 and apparently had already forgotten). And silence descended over my house.
Does food cheer you up? It does me–I know there is a fine line between emotional eating (bad) and food playing an important ritual role in your life (good as far as I am concerned). Since I did not want to eat away my sadness, I decided instead to finally get around to posting about these chocolate waffles. Maybe staring at that chocolate sauce will be as effective as eating it.
OK that’s just dreaming, but it will distract me at any rate.
I know I took a while to post these waffles–many of you were aware when I made them–but I have been either out of town or with a house guest since making them, so they kinda got shoved onto the back burner. Which is a shame, because they were fun, delicious and unusual. They are a great dessert for guests of varying sweet tooths, because the waffles themselves are, well, waffles–they are not super sweet or rich, but rather the perfect chocolate canvas for the sauce and whipped cream. The sauce is intensely chocolate and not at all too sweet. And for those who need the extra sweet? Whipped cream fills in nicely (I am still using the light cream from a spray bottle because of the gallbladder surgery, but holy cow homemade rich whipped cream would send these over the moon). I added raspberries for color.
2 cups milk (I used 1% w/ a little cream)
1 1/2 t vanilla
1 1/2 cups (235 g) AP flour
1/2 cup (45 g) cocoa powder (I used Scarffenburger natural; they did not call for Dutched and the presence of baking powder would make me wary of Dutched)
1/2 cup (125 g) sugar
2 t baking powder
1 t salt
2 oz (60 g) semisweet chocolate, chopped
4 T (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
Preheat the waffle maker according to your directions.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and vanilla. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, sugar and salt onto wax paper or into a another bowl. Add this flour mixture to the wet mixture and whisk until smooth.
Melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave on 50% power in 30 second increments until it is melted and whisked smooth. Whisk it into the batter until it is smooth (I whisked until there were no streaks of chocolate but did not whisk past this point for fear of overmixing).
Bake according to your waffle iron directions and serve with chocolate sauce (see below) and whipped cream.
Alice’s Chocolate Sauce
from Bittersweet, Alice Medrich
This is is a perfect chocolate sauce recipe because it is very much to taste–everything about it is flexible. I will include my amounts in italics.
10 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (5 oz 61% cacao, 5 oz 72% cacao, both Scharffenberger)
1/2 – 1 cup milk or cream or any combo (approx. 1/2 cup cream, 1/3 cup 1% milk)
2 T unsalted butter, optional (I did not use, is more recommended for milk based sauce with less cream)
1/2 t vanilla
pinch of salt (I used 2 hefty pinches because I like chocolate and salt)
Put the chocolate and 1/2 cup of the cream or milk (I started with combo) in a large heatproof bowl set in a pot of barely simmering water (I used a double boiler). Stir frequently until it is melted and smooth–if it looks curdled or is too thick, add more cream or milk. Be patient, it will melt slowly. I kept adding milk and cream until the sauce poured off of a spoon the way I wanted it to pour onto the waffles. You can also test it by pouring a little over ice and seeing how fast it hardens–but boy I could I not bear to waste it that way! Once you have the texture the way you want it, remove it from the heat and whisk in the vanilla and salt (and butter if using). The sauce will keep for at least a few days in the fridge and can be heated up by placing back into a double boiler. Medrich notes that you will likely need more liquid for higher cacao percentage chocolates to keep it pourable. It is basically a liquid truffle and one of the best things I have ever tasted.