The more I cook, the more I realize that the best results follow from understanding the concepts, methods, and ingredients, and applying that knowledge; as opposed to using exact recipes every time.
True, when it comes to baking, much has to be measured precisely. But even then, it’s the ratios of basic ingredients that must remain constant, with wide variations possible based on additions or changes to flavoring ingredients. Such was the case with the gingerbread waffles I made today. I took a basic waffle recipe and added a good bit of cinnamon to it—perhaps a couple of teaspoons; about 1/8 as much each cardamom, ginger, and allspice; plus a shaving of nutmeg and a good shake of maple sugar–probably a couple teaspoons of that, too.
While I was cooking my waffles and putting them in a 200F oven to keep warm, I heated up some of the sweet butternut squash, apples, and cranberries I had made last night. To make it, I sauteed half of a butternut squash (diced) in about 1/3 cup of butter. When the squash was starting to soften, I added three peeled and diced apples, a good cup of cranberries, and about a half cup of brown sugar. I let the mixture simmer until the cranberries were soft and starting to pop.
We had it as a slightly sweet side dish with our dinner, and saved the leftovers. Upon reheating, the mixture seemed to be a bit too dry to serve as waffle topping, so I added maple syrup until it had a good flow to it, and spooned it over waffles for service.
Combine a tasty autumnal breakfast with an extra hour of sleep and a game of backgammon over breakfast, and you’ve got the start to a happy day.