What a day! I am so excited about this post. Waffle iron brownies, folks!! It’s an idea from a 1953 issue of Yankee and it’s fantastic. Really, I’m just so excited about my job right now.
I’m working with Aimee Seavey on a new Yankee cookbook with a “Lost and Vintage Recipes” theme. It’ll be out in October, but we’ll both be blogging about the process as we go. And in the early stages, I have the pleasure of going back through 75+ years of Yankee and pulling recipes that seem interesting and relevant and worthy of being updated for today’s cooks. How fun is that? The trick is figuring out which recipes have been forgotten for good reason. There are plenty of those. Tomato casseroles made with ground beef and too much cheese, a blueberry slump with dumplings as dense as rocks. Tastes change over time, as do standards for recipe writing and testing. In the past, recipes were sometimes seen as outlines rather than precise instructions.
So back to 1953. Here’s the bound issue from our archives, and the recipe.
I’m sure you can imagine the thrill of finding this little gem. Brownies in a wha-? A dessert that combines my love of chocolate and multitasking appliances? Sign me up!
The brownies appeared in a story called “Recipes from Old ‘Receipt’ Books” by Nancy Dixon and begins thusly:
One of the nicest things that happens to us in the Yankee Recipe Department is when we receive really and truly fascinating cook books that also serve a worthy cause. Our latest acquisition is Two Hundred Years of Lebanon Valley Cookery…
The book—with a scrubbed white cover with an easy-to-handle blue spiral binding—is by The Ladies Guild Church of Our Savior (Episcopal) in Lebanon Springs, N.Y. and the cookery editor has rightfully starred some of the following as unusual, ancient and modern.
With that introduction, it was time get out the waffle iron and start cooking. Now, most waffle irons have a single heat setting, which ranges between about 330° and 390°. I have a combined griddle/panini press/waffle iron, which I love for its space-saving efficiency. I set it for 375°.
The first step is to cream a stick of softened (salted) butter with 3/4 cup sugar.
I added 2 ounces of melted unsweetened chocolate, 2 eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. The batter began to look creamy.
In a separate bowl, I whisked together 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. I added it to the wet ingredients.
And this is where I began to get a little nervous. The batter looked thick. Much thicker than any brownie recipe I’d ever seen.
I sprayed the iron with canola oil and dropped a heaping tablespoon of batter in the center of each of the four grids.
I closed the lid and waited 3 minutes. I opened the lid, and there they were. And they were…
Leaden, dry, and with not nearly enough chocolate flavor, these brownie waffles were duds. But the idea was too good to give up. So back to the drawing board.
Comparing this formula with other traditional brownie recipes, I saw that I had used much less sugar and much more flour than most recipes. I decided to try it again with half the flour, another ounce of chocolate, and and extra 1/2 cup sugar.
Here’s what I got.
The extra chocolate and sugar were giving the brownies a richer, more fudgy texture, but clearly more flour was necessary to give the brownies enough structure to hold together. So I began adding flour a bit at a time and cooking up small batches until I got the right texture: one firm enough to hold together but still soft and chewy in the center.
And that’s how I got here. I love these brownies. The waffle iron gives them crispy ridges, but the inside remains rich and fudgy. They’re novel and fun and incredibly easy to make.
One important note: You need to let the brownies sit for a minute on the hot, opened iron before trying to remove them. Otherwise they’ll be too soft and likely to crumble.
Yankee’s Crisp-Chewy Waffle Iron Brownies Recipe Links
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Now… I’d love to get your help, Yankee readers! I’ve only tested this recipe on my iron and temperatures and cooking times will vary here. If you try this recipe, will you please report back to let me know how it worked for you and how long the brownies took to cook? I’ll adjust the recipe accordingly. Thank you!
This post was first published in 2012 and has been updated.