My second holiday-themed mission for the Canadian Tire Kitchen Crew came in the form of a Cuisinart Traditional Waffle Maker, along with the following prompt:
It's Christmas morning, and the whole family has gathered to exchange gifts and spend some quality time together. What better way to do that than at the kitchen table enjoying an extra-special Christmas breakfast? Your mission this week is to create two recipes for the morning of the big day!
I brewed up a big pot of coffee and put on my thinking cap. As far as I'm concerned, waffles alone are already pretty darned special, but how could I transform them into an extra-special breakfast worthy of Christmas morning?
One of the first things that leapt to mind was Eggs Benedict. It's one of my very favourite brunch dishes, because when it's done right, it becomes a magical combination of toasted English muffins, salty ham, runny poached eggs and rich tangy Hollandaise sauce that goes well beyond each of its individual components. It's a thing of beauty.
It's not exactly a dish for the faint of heart, either - a perfect Benedict is hard to make at home, because there are so many components that need to be perfectly timed to come together in that one single dish. That's why I usually prefer to order it when I'm out for brunch and let someone else do all the work, rather than spending my Sunday morning fussing over a broken Hollandaise while simultaneously attempting to poach an egg. It takes a very special occasion indeed to convince me to bust out the homemade Bennies.
That said, Christmas morning is about as special as they come, which is why I'm not only putting a homemade Eggs Benedict on the menu, I'm also throwing in a crisp, hot waffle for good measure.
I must say, the Cuisinart did a great job of popping out beautiful waffles - the "3" setting delivered a perfect golden-brown colour, crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside. I also love the minimal, compact design, which is just slightly bigger than those portable CD players I remember from the 90s (which means I might even have a backpack or two from the heyday of the Discman that I can now use to transport a waffle-maker... how awesome is that?).
My only issue is that this model uses a set of red/green indicator lights to indicate when the waffle iron reaches the target temperature or when the waffles are done. Personally, I would have preferred an audible beep, especially when working on a dish like this which requires a fair bit of multi-tasking. It's a really minor nitpick, though, considering this is meant to be a bare-bones sort of model.
It's a match made in heaven. Unlike English muffins, waffles are dotted with little square pockets just waiting to be filled with sauce, making them an ideal vehicle for transporting all that lovely runny egg yolk and Hollandaise from plate to mouth without wasting a drop. And trust me, when you've busted your butt making Hollandaise from scratch, leaving even the smallest droplet uneaten is a cardinal sin!
Thankfully, I've managed to find a few shortcuts that make Eggs Benedict a little more manageable, without taking away any of the deliciousness of the final product.
The first (and most important) of my shortcuts is blender Hollandaise, which is actually much faster and much easier on the biceps than its traditionally-prepared counterpart. It's also almost completely fool-proof, as long as you're not so impatient that you dump in all the butter at once... slow and steady is key.
The second shortcut is good old-fashioned advance preparation. The Hollandaise, the waffle batter and the poached eggs can all be made a day ahead. Leaving you with nothing to do on Christmas morning other than gently reheating the Hollandaise and the eggs (using a double-boiler and a pot of boiling water, respectively), cooking waffles, brewing a pot of coffee, assembling Bennies, and patting yourself on the back for a job well done.
I was provided with compensation, including a free Cuisinart Traditional Waffle Maker, in exchange for creating this post for the Canadian Tire Kitchen Crew series.
This Christmas Kitchen Crew series highlights my stories, recipes & tips with promotional consideration made possible by Canadian Tire. If you want to uncover your kitchen's true potential, stay tuned to the Kitchen Crew for my weekly missions.
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 3 egg yolks
- 2 tbsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- ½ tsp Dijon mustard
- Dash cayenne
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- ¾ tsp salt
- 1¾ cups buttermilk
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 tbsp finely chopped lemon thyme
- 12 eggs
- 2 tsp white vinegar
- ½ lb thinly sliced ham
- Paprika or snipped chives (for garnish)
- In a small saucepan set over medium-high heat, heat the butter until melted and bubbling hot.
- Meanwhile, in the bowl of a blender, combine egg yolks, lemon juice, mustard and cayenne. Blend the yolk mixture on high speed for about 30 seconds, or until smooth and pale yellow in colour.
- Reduce the blender speed to low and, with the blender still running, slowly pour in the butter in a thin stream, until all of the butter has been incorporated.
- Run the blender for another 2-3 minutes once all of the butter has been added, to ensure the sauce is completely emulsified. If the sauce looks too thick, add more lemon juice, 1 tbsp at a time, until it loosens up to the desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, olive oil, eggs and lemon thyme. Pour into the bowl of dry ingredients, and mix thoroughly until the batter is smooth and free of lumps. Let stand for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat waffle iron. Once the waffle iron reaches the desired temperature, scoop ½ cup of batter into the centre of the waffle plate, and smooth out into an even layer using a heat-proof spatula. Close waffle iron, and cook the waffle to desired degree of crispness. Repeat until you have a total of six waffles.
- Transfer the finished waffles to a baking sheet and keep warm in a 200F oven while you poach the eggs.
- Fill a large pot with 3-4″ of water, and stir in the vinegar. Bring to a simmer over high heat, then reduce the heat to low. (Do not let the water reach a full rolling boil – you want it to be at a bare simmer for the next step)
- Working with one egg at a time, crack an egg into a small ramekin, then gently slide the egg into the hot water. Use a spatula or slotted spoon to gently nudge the egg back into shape as it sets. Repeat the process with a second egg. Cook both eggs for 3-4 minutes, or until whites are set and yolk is still slightly wobbly. Repeat with remaining eggs, poaching no more than two at a time (any more than this will throw off the timing).
- Note: This step can be done in advance if poaching a dozen eggs feels too daunting – simply plunge the finished eggs into an ice water bath, then reheat in boiling water for 20-30 seconds when ready to serve.
- Place a waffle in the centre of a dinner plate, and arrange two or three slices of ham over the top. Top the ham with two poached eggs, then ladle a generous amount of
- Hollandaise sauce overtop. Finish with a dusting of paprika or a sprinkling of snipped chives. Repeat with five more waffles to make a total of six servings.
Cooking Rookie says
Wow, the waffles look delish! I wish I had that waffle maker... do you think asking Santa will help? ;-). I am adding this to my Favorite blogs on Pinterest, so that when I get the waffle maker I'll know where to find the recipe!
Russell van Kraayenburg says
How have I not combined my love for waffles and eggs benedict yet?! This recipe looks incredible, Isabelle.
How awesome that idea is!!! How the heck did you become one of the Kitchen Crew, I love reading your posts and totally want to share mine too!
I would love to be part of the Canadian Tire Kitchen Crew. My daughter wants a waffle maker for Christmas. I know where to shop for one now.
It's a pretty minimal model in terms of features, but it's very reasonably priced, and I've been very impressed at how quickly it heats up and how evenly it cooks the waffles. Almost as good as my fancypants Calphalon waffle maker, which cost twice as much!
I absolutely loved your version of eggs Benedict and it looks like a perfect festive time breakfast!Awesome recipe and thanks for all the details.Congrats on your new waffle-maker and also for the Top 9!I'm your newest follower and hope to catch up with all those interesting recipes up here:) nice meeting you!
Lynn @ I'll Have What She's Having says
Awesome dish! Waffles as the base of Eggs Benedict is a great idea.
Have you ever reheated poached eggs? I've never done because I've been scared of over cooking the yolk.
I'd read about reheating poached eggs before (it's apparently pretty common in restaurant kitchens), so I tested it out for this recipe and it worked fine.
Basically, I slightly under-poached the eggs (a little under 3 minutes, or just long enough for the whites to set up), transferred to a bowl of water to keep while I dealt with the other elements of the recipe, and then reheated in a pot of simmering water for a maximum of 30 seconds just before serving.
The yolks were still perfectly runny after all that, and the whites were only just a smidge firmer than fresh-poached (probably because they absorb more heat during the reheating stage).
In american kitchen this is more common than other places... poached eggs take moments and are not difficult once you ruin a few. After 15 years of working a kitchen in australia iv never once heard of a professional reheating poached in aus.
Isabelle Boucher says
Poached eggs aren't particularly hard, but you have to admit they can be a little daunting if you're a home cook, rather than a professional who poaches eggs on the regular. I personally feel comfortable enough to poach my eggs at the last minute, but sometimes it's nice to have a make-ahead option if you've got some hungry guests waiting for their brunch!
Lindsay @ Rosemarried says
Lemon Thyme waffles? And then you turned it into a benedict? Bravo, this is the perfect sweet/savory breakfast. And congrats on foodbuzz top 9!
This is a really special brunch! I have made eggs florentine (my favourite) twice , but both times with the help of the washer up. Even then it is a challenge to get it all on the plate warm at the same time!! Props for managing that AND waffles, you're a pro!!
Jen @ Savory Simple says
These look so good! All the more reason I need to get my hands on a waffle maker.
Yadsia @ShopCookMake says
I'm dying over those waffles! Can't wait to try them tomorrow!
Jean (Lemons and Anchovies) says
It would never have occurred to me how well a waffle would work as a base for Eggs Benedict but you did it and it makes sense. I think I might actually prefer this to an English muffin. Looks wonderful!
Kimmy @ Lighter and Local says
This would make the husband cry with delight! He loves his eggs benny, but then the homemade waffle? Be still my beating heart!
I hope you're well! Miss you!
Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. says
I have the same waffle maker. I think a beep would have been a great idea! I love that you combined waffles with eggs benedict! Now you can have the best of both worlds!
It was either that or serving Eggs Benny with a pile of waffles on the side... this just seemed like the easier option. ;)
[email protected] says
You hit the salty sweet spot! I love this combo and amazed I havent had it before. Two of my all time breakfast favorites in one...
claire @ the realistic nutritionist says
Your photos are STUNNING!!! I love this! Eggs bene is one of my favorite dishes, I love it served over a waffle!!
What a great idea! I love other savory waffle preparations like chicken and waffles, but I'd never thought of doing it with eggs benedict. Sounds amazing!
Considering my first missions for this series involved a deep fryer, I now have everything I need to make chicken and waffles... guess I should probably get on that, huh? It would be like combining the two appliances into a single uber-challenge! :)
Kiri W. says
Wow, that looks delicious! Eggs benedict are so, so tasty, although I've never had them served on a waffle. Sounds like just the thing for a special breakfast :)
Jessica @ the Learning Curve says
Mmm... Eggs Benedict is my all-time favorite breakfast. After trying it from basically all of our local breakfast-serving restaurants, I've even gotten to be quite picky about my Hollandaise! Most of the time I don't like people messing with my Eggs Benedict - like, heaven forbid you use fried eggs instead of poached like IHOP does! - but this sounds like a variation that even the purest of us Bennie fans would love! And way to go with that savory waffle recipe... it sounds dynamite! Sounds like this dish was totally worth the extra work. :)
Fried eggs? Blasphemy!
Then again, it's not like IHOP is known for their fine breakfast fare, either.... I bet they make their Hollandaise from mix. :P