Fall mornings are a fabulous thing. Who invented them? Morning hot chocolate on the patio is ever more enticing as we watch the fog lifts slowly off the lake to reveal the beautiful silver blue of early morning. Although we know it is coming, fall seems to arrive suddenly. One morning it’s summer, the next morning it’s fall. “Don’t remember summer even saying goodbye” says David Mitchel in Cloud Atlas. Suddenly the days are shorter and there is crisp coolness in the air. First hints of gold appear among the still green leaves.
Fall feels different. It gives a sense of coming of age, wisdom and richness. I begin to pile my must read books for the season, begin putting into action plans made over the summer. Nesting instincts reveal themselves as we pull out the throw blankets, add candles here and there and some cushions to make sitting by the fire more cozy. Wardrobe changes, I pull a few pieces of kneatwear from the back of the closet, buy a couple of new shawls (oye, it’s my thing) and a fun pair of new ankle boots. Fireplace is lit in the mornings making everything warm and inviting and the aromas from the kitchen hinting cinnamon and spice begin to waft through the house when I cook indoors now.
Change of season is first refected in the kitchen, long before the golds and reds of fall present themselves. Peaches and apricots yield to apples, pears and pomegranates. Beries with cream are replaced by apple tarts and poached pears. New potato salad clears the way to showcase sweet potatoes and beautiful fall squashes. I would venture to say that all cooks love fall cooking. Soups, slow cooked dishes, gratins, pies and tarts, pastas and sauces, baked loaves and heartier breakfast fares are on the menu. If you like to cook, and chances are you do, then you know what I mean.
These sweet potato waffles are a fall breakfast favourite. The sweet potatoes are fresh, cook in minutes and are naturally sweet and fragrant. Highlighted with a little orange, cinnamon and spice, they lead the way in the transition from summer to fall cooking.
I like serving them, two per person, with orange sauce made quickly on top of the stove. You can let the sauce reduce on its own by boiling it down to the right consistency, or if you wish you can thicken it with a teaspoon of cornstarch dissolved in a couple of tablesopoons of cold water, adding it to the sauce to speed things up. A little whipped cream is always nice to serve with breakfast waffles. It’s a breakfast for special occassions, not for a Monday morning rush.
“April never meant much to me” said Truman Capote, “autumns seem that season of beginning, spring”. Some people have a way with words.
And now to the recipe.
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder (it needs it, there is some heavy lifting going on)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
A couple of grinds fresh nutmeg or 1/4 teaspoon dried
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
1 medium sweet potato, cooked and mashed (yielding about 1 cup mashed)
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon orange zest if you have it
3 Tablespoons butter, melted
Peel and cut sweet potato. then cut into large dice. Place in a small pot, cover with cold water and bring top a boil. Lower heat, partially cover and let cook until soft. Drain and mash the sweet potato witha potato masher. You should have about a cup. Let cool.
In a large bowl combine flour,, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt.
In a smaller bowl combine sugar, eggs, buttermilk, orange juice,, mashed potatoes, butter and zest. Mix well.
Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and mix with a spatula, being careful not to over blend but still incorporating all the flour into the liquids.
Scoop batter by 1/2 cupfuls and pour onto a preheated waffle iron (maker, really). I like to spray it a bit with non-stick oil, just in case as I don’t like things sticking.
Cook over medium heat setting until the waffles are golden and release easily from the waffle maker.
Keep the waffles warm in a 300℉ oven until they are all done.
Serve warm with orange cinnamon sauce
1 1/2 cups orange juice
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoon colad water
Combine orange juice, butter, sugar and cinnamon stick in a small pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a slow boil and cook until the sauce is reduced to a syrupy consistency. If you wish, add the cornstarch mixture to the OJ to thicken it faster.