I love baking with sour cream for the richness, tenderness and moisture it adds to my cakes and other baked goods, but I have no desire to eat it on anything but pierogis—and I never make pierogis. And so sour cream frequently gets sad and gross in the back of my fridge, having been forgotten until I run out of space for the next cake or bowl of cookie dough or yogurt container.
Until now, that is.A few weekends ago, armed with a half-container of sour cream leftover from making kolaches, I set out to make some waffles. I had previously tried Molly Wizenberg’s Waffles of Insane Greatness and was intrigued by Stella Parks’s Buttermilk Waffles, but wasn’t going to make either of those recipes because sour cream, duh.Instead I combined aspects of both recipes into The Best Waffles I Have Ever Eaten In My Life. We’re talking crispy edges and fluffy interiors, light and not too sweet, and gorgeous and golden. Truly, the best waffles I’ve ever eaten in my life.I have 24 of them in my freezer leftover from testing and have been toasting and eating them plain as a midnight snack for the last few weeks, so I can confirm: these are the fluffiest and crispiest and The Best Waffles I Have Ever Eaten In My Life. Period.Reasons the insides stay nice and soft:
• Sour cream is creamy, rich, and thick, which means it adds lots of moisture and some heft to the batter. Also, it’s acidic, so it reacts with the baking soda in the batter to help with the fluff factor.
• Egg whites are used in their liquid state. That’s right—no whipped egg whites here! This is a waffle recipe for those of us who are never going to be up for whipping egg whites before they’ve had at least two cups of coffee. If you’re skeptical, baking queen Stella Parks says using liquid egg whites instead of the more traditional whipped ones creates more moisture in waffle batter, which creates more steam, which creates a fluffier waffle, and—no surprises—she’s right.
• The dry ingredients include a large amount of cornstarch. Here, it impedes gluten-development in the same way that it does in cakes, producing a more tender texture.
• This recipe calls for a fifteen minute rest after you’ve prepared the batter. This allows the developed gluten to relax and gives your waffle iron time to get screaming hot, which is important for crispy edges! Speaking of which…Reasons the outsides get crispy:
• Sugar. There isn’t much in this recipe, but the small amount is crucial for crispy waffle success. It caramelizes against the hot iron creating both crisp texture and golden color.
• Making sure your waffle iron is HOT. I let mine heat for at least 15 minutes.
• Letting the waffles cook until the steam dissipates. That may mean that your waffles take 6-7 minutes instead of the 4-5 it takes for the “ready” light to come on, but I promise you it’s worth the extra wait.I mean, look at that. Does breakfast get any better than that? I don’t think so.Needless to say, half-containers of sour cream are a hot commodity around here now.
Sour Cream Waffles
makes about 8 4-inch waffles
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup whole milk, room temperature
2/3 cup full-fat sour cream
2 large egg whites, room temperature
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
For the waffle iron:
warmed maple syrup
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, cornstarch, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a large liquid measuring cup (or small mixing bowl), use a fork to whisk together whole milk and sour cream. Whisk in egg whites, melted butter and vanilla.
Add liquid ingredients to dry in two installments, whisking until combined and mostly smooth (a couple of small lumps are okay). Let batter rest at room temperature for 15 minutes while the waffle iron is heating.
Preheat oven to 200F. Place a cooling rack over a rimmed baking sheet.
Grease waffle iron with cooking spray. Pour 1/3 cup of the waffle batter into each well of the iron and close the top. Let cook until steam dissipates and the waffles are turning golden, about 6 minutes.
Transfer cooked waffles to the prepared rack-over-pan and place in the oven to keep warm. Re-grease the waffle iron and cook remaining batter.
Serve waffles with butter, warmed maple syrup, and seasonal fruit, if desired. Enjoy immediately.
Leftovers may be layered with parchment, placed in a freezer bag, and frozen for up to 3 months. Reheat in the toaster.