This Maple Nut Spread is ridiculous! If your cream cheese isn’t already softening to mix some up, you should grab it out of the fridge right now. It’s rich, creamy, and perfectly sweet, with the satisfying crunch of chopped walnuts. I want to spread this stuff on bagels, toast, waffles, you name it. The photos you see here (in which I tried to build a “layer cake” out of the waffles — ha ha, get it? Carrot Cake Waffles?) are only a slight exaggeration of how much Maple Nut Cream Cheese I ate with my breakfast. I’m too embarrassed to tell you how much of it I ate straight from the spoon, so just take my word for it: you’re going to love it.
Okay, you have your reason — now go dust off your waffle irons! Have your cake and eat it for breakfast, too!
Yields: about 7 waffles (using ½ cup batter for each)
|2||cups all-purpose flour|
|1½||teaspoons baking soda|
|1¾||cups buttermilk* or 1½ cups sour cream or plain yogurt thinned with ¼ cup milk|
|4||tablespoons (½ stick) butter|
|½||teaspoon vanilla extract|
|1||cup walnuts, chopped|
|1½||cup finely grated carrots|
|Cooking spray for waffle iron|
|Maple Nut Cream Cheese Spread Ingredients:|
|8||ounces cream cheese, softened|
|3-4||tablespoons maple syrup|
|⅛||cup chopped walnuts|
1. Bloom the spices in butter**: Heat 4 tablespoons butter in skillet over medium heat until melted, 1 to 2 minutes. Continue to cook, swirling pan constantly, until butter is light brown and has faint nutty aroma, 2 to 4 minutes. Add spices and continue to cook, stirring constantly, 15 seconds. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
2. Combine the flour, salt, sugar, baking soda.
3. Mix together the buttermilk (or buttermilk substitute) and the egg yolks. Stir in the spiced butter and vanilla. Spray the waffle iron well and preheat it. Stir the wet into the dry ingredients.
4. Beat the egg whites in a separate bowl with a whisk or electric mixer (make sure bowl and mixer are spotlessly clean) until they hold soft peaks. Stir them gently into the batter. Add carrots, walnuts, and raisins. Stir gently to combine.
5. Spread a ladleful or so of batter onto the waffle iron and bake until the waffle is done, usually 3 to 5 minutes, depending on your iron. Spray iron with cooking spray between waffles as needed.
6. To make Maple Cream Cheese spread, simply combine nuts, syrup, and cream cheese and mix well. Serve waffles immediately with a schmear of Maple Cream Cheese spread (which will get lovely and melty), or keep them warm for a few minutes in a low oven.***
Notes:* The buttermilk can be substituted with 1¼ cups of milk at room temperature, mixed with two tablespoons white vinegar, left to clabber for 10 minutes.
**If you prefer a quicker breakfast, you can melt and cool the butter plain instead of browning it and blooming the spices in it — but doing so does add flavor. If you do skip the spice blooming, simply add the spices to the dry ingredients in step 2. Add your plain melted, cooled butter instead of the spiced butter in step 3.* Waffles also freeze well. You can make a big batch, allow them to cool, and freeze them for a homemade alternative to preservative-laden commercial frozen waffles.