Exotic Winter Waffles

I stumbled upon a jewel while exploring the Queen Village neighborhood of Philadelphia: the Queen Village Food Market, which is a Turkish grocery store. Its shelves are stacked with exotic imported spreads, nuts, dried fruits, olives, spices, tea and coffee. The refrigerator offers a selection of Turkish cheeses, and the freezer has an array of sweet and savory stuffed pastries. I could not resist purchasing some intriguing spreads and some of that traditional Middle Eastern gelatinous confection called Turkish Delight.

I walked home in the ice, snow and frigid temperature that this January has brought us. To the joy of my daughter and her teachers, the weather conditions had resulted in a snow day. One way to enjoy this special time off and to make our home cozier was to bake. After my visit to the Turkish grocery store, I was inspired to prepare some exotic homemade waffles.

One of the most delicious treats you can easily prepare yourself is a stuffed waffle. The waffle batter is simple to mix, and the only piece of special equipment you need is a waffle iron. If you don’t have a waffle iron, you can use the same batter to prepare stuffed pancakes instead. In place of the quotidian ingredients I see on most local menus, I experimented with some flavors from the Ottoman Empire. I used fresh halva, Turkish Delight, honey with assorted crushed nuts, and sweet poppy seed filling.

Basic Stuffed Waffle

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Heat the waffle iron to medium.
  3. Lightly oil the waffle iron.
  4. Place 2 1/2 tablespoons of waffle batter on one side of the waffle iron.
  5. Add a teaspoonful of the filling of your choice in the center of the batter.
  6. Pour an additional 2 1/2 tablespoons of waffle batter on top of the batter with the filling.
  7. Close the waffle iron.
  8. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the waffle stops producing steam.

The results of my experimentation with exotic fillings were very interesting. The rich halva stuffing melted in my mouth. The Turkish Delight softened into a sweet, gooey, nutty confection. The honey with ground nuts and the poppy seed filling were sweet and crunchy. All of the fillings were delicious with a thick, sweet cup of Turkish coffee, flavored with a pinch of hel, which is Farsi for ground cardamom.

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