SUNDAE SUNDAY: Decaf Wafflegato, a waffle + affogato hybrid inspired by the secret menu item at Blue Bottle

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Earlier this summer I joined the digital team at Blue Bottle Coffee, and something I disclosed upfront to my now-manager in the first thirty seconds of meeting her: I don’t (can’t) drink coffee.  As a baker, coffee is a magical ingredient that I work with often, but as part of my morning ritual? Not so much.

Part of me thought this fact might immediately disqualify me as a candidate, but I led with proactive transparency since my caffeine sensitivity isn’t something that can fall in the “fake it til you make it” category -- just ask my partner about the time he had to fetch me from Yerba Buena Park in SF because of a green tea-induced over-caffeination that rendered me immobile.

This week’s #sundaesunday takes coffee as the theme and pays homage to an off-menu item that Blue Bottle offers in some of its cafes: the wafelgato. For my take on this affogato + waffle hybrid, I’ve made a few adjustments:

  • No Liege wafel here. I happen to be out of pearl sugar at home, a key ingredient for the style of waffle served at Blue Bottle.  Therefore, I made a brown butter version of my buckwheat buttermilk waffle recipe instead, and it paired quite nicely.

  • Wafelgato → wafflegato: Since I’m using a different type of waffle than at Blue Bottle (more on that below), I adjusted the spelling accordingly to reflect my American reinterpretation.

  • Decaf coffee, obvi. For me, this is a selfish choice so I can actually enjoy the affogato.  For everyone else, using decaf eliminates the risk of late-night jitters should you want to serve this as an after-dinner dessert.

  • Brewed coffee via an Aeropress rather than an espresso machine.  I know, I know -- an affogato is an espresso poured over vanilla ice cream.  If you have an espresso machine at home, I encourage you to use it; if you don’t, brew some nice coffee in whatever means you have available.

  • Store-bought ice cream (gasp!).  I had every intention of making a batch of my vanilla ice cream, but my cream went bad sooner than expected. I’ve included my vanilla ice cream recipe below, but full disclosure: these pics are shot with Straus vanilla ice cream.  #lifehappens

Friendly reminder: As always, my Sundae Sunday recipes are on-the-fly in nature, so they’re not as thoroughly tested as my other recipes.  In this case, all components were winners, and I’d remake as-is, with maybe the (untraditional) addition of a caramel swirl in the vanilla ice cream.

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Decaf Wafflegato, a waffle + affogato hybrid inspired by the secret menu item at Blue Bottle

By: Kathleen Hayes - specific attribution and yields listed by component

Vanilla ice cream - adapted from the humphry slocombe ice cream book; yield = 1 quart

MISE IT

  • 470g heavy cream (~2 cups)

  • 240g whole milk (~1 cup)

  • 200g (organic) sugar

  • 48g egg yolks (~3 eggs)

  • 4 pinches of kosher salt

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste

MAKE IT

  • Create an ice bath for your final mixture to cool down in a large mixing bowl.

  • In a medium saucepan, combine cream, milk, and salt.  Heat over medium or medium-high until it’s just at a soft boil, then remove from heat.

  • Whisk together your sugar and egg yolks until combined. This will form a thick paste.

  • Temper your egg mixture by ladling (or carefully pouring straight from the pan) ¼  - ⅓ cup of your hot cream mixture into the bowl with your eggs+sugar, whisking constantly to start melding the two mixtures together.  Repeat with a few more ladles worth of the cream mixture, and then transfer the tempered mixture back into your saucepan.

  • Over medium-high heat, heat your base and use a spatula to draw figure-8s shapes repeatedly through the mixture to keep everything moving so it doesn’t stick to the bottom.  Do this until it thickens slightly and reaches a temperature of 170 - 172 F, then remove from heat. (You’ve made creme anglaise!)

  • Pour your creme anglaise mixture through a chinoise/fine-meshed strainer into a container over an ice bath. Add vanilla paste to the strained base and stir.

  • Stir periodically and let mixture cool down to room temperature.  Then let mixture chill for at least an hour and up to 2 days in the refrigerator.

  • Before you spin your ice cream: place a baking dish and spatula in the freezer (I use the smaller of these two dishes) so your finished ice cream will go into a chilled container and not melt.

  • Follow the instructions for your ice cream machine and spin your ice cream.  If your machine’s bowl isn’t your final storage container, transfer your finished ice cream from the machine to the chilled baking dish and let it set for a few hours.

Decaf coffee - I used Blue Bottle’s Perfectly Ground Night Light Decaf coffee, brewed in an Aeropress (though this decaf is served an espresso in cafes, so it’s versatile)

Brown Butter Waffles - adapted from The Spruce; yield = 2-4 waffles, depending on your machine

MISE IT

Dry ingredients

  • 75g all purpose flour

  • 38g whole wheat flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon baking soda*

  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt ½ teaspoon kosher salt

Wet ingredients

  • 219g buttermilk 438g buttermilk*

  • 27g neutral oil (like grapeseed or non-gmo canola) 

  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla paste

  • 27g (¼ stick) European butter, melted 

  • 30g egg yolks (~2 eggs) 

Egg white/meringue ingredients

  • 60g egg whites (~2 eggs) 

  • 7g organic sugar 

For the waffle iron

  • Cooking spray

MAKE IT

  • Preheat/turn on your waffle iron and preheat your oven to 225 degrees F with a half sheet pan in it.

  • Brown your butter and set aside to cool slightly.

  • Measure all of your dry ingredients (flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt) into a bowl and set aside.

  • In a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, start whipping your egg whites on medium-low (speed 2-4 on a KitchenAid) until bubbles form across the top.  

  • Slowly add sugar to the whipping egg whites, crank up the speed to medium-high, and whip until you have stiff peaks.  Set aside.

  • While/after you whip your egg whites, whip your egg yolks in a large mixing bowl until they’re light and homogenous (~1 minute).

  • Add all of your other wet ingredients (buttermilk, oil, vanilla extract, browned butter) into the bowl with the yolks and mix until combined.

  • Sift your dry ingredients directly into the bowl with your wet ingredients.  Fold/mix together until there are no dry patches of flour -- don’t overmix this step!

  • Gently fold in ⅓ of your whipped egg whites until they’re mostly incorporated; then repeat with the rest of your egg whites until they’re mostly folded in.  It’s okay if it’s not 100% incorporated: airiness trumps a homogeneous mixture here.

  • Now it’s time to make the waffles!  After spraying your waffle iron with cooking oil, scoop batter into it, close the lid and cook according to your waffle maker’s instructions.  My machine takes between ¾ cup and 1 cup of batter per waffle.

Special equipment - across all components

  • Waffle maker

  • Hand or stand mixer (I used a stand mixer for the egg whites and a hand mixer for the yolks)

  • Baking scale

  • Spatula

  • Sifter / strainer / chinoise

  • Ice cream machine

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ASSEMBLE IT

  • Scoop 3 scoops of vanilla ice cream into a bowl.

  • Take 1 wedge of a waffle and wedge it into the scoops, off-centered.

  • Pour a shot’s worth of coffee (or espresso, if using) onto the ice cream.

TWEAK IT

  • Ignore my decaf selection and go with your tried-and-true espresso or coffee.

  • Drizzle chocolate sauce onto the finished product.

  • Add cocoa nibs or chocolate chips/chocolate pearls into the waffle batter.

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