Happy Breakfast Week guys!
Across the country, Eater has been promoting its food-porniest breakfast finds.
Kind of makes me wonder who decides what week/day/month is assigned to each food holiday. There is literally a holiday for every single day of the year (today is National Almond Day, if you’re curious). Maybe anyone can just declare any day a holiday because they feel like it?
If that’s the case, I hereby declare every Friday to be Pajama and Cake Day. So wear your footsies to work today and bake yourself a cake. Because you’re worth it.
But I digress. If you’re in the U.S., you may have noticed the barrage of breakfast pictures taking over your Instagram feed this past week. And if you haven’t, don’t worry. ‘Cause I’m about to shove some breakfast all up in your face.
I don’t have to tell you that Nutella is a highly addictive substance. It would be a Schedule I controlled substance if it wasn’t so freakin’ delicious.
Unfortunately, Nutella comes with some baggage (and no, I’m not just talking about what it adds onto my hips).
I’m talking about ethical baggage. Bear with me.
I know I personally prefer not to think about how some of the foods I love are made, unless I want to feel overwhelmingly guilty (here’s looking at you, bacon). But a few years ago I took a course on the politics of chocolate and food, and it’s hard to un-know some of the sketchy practices that food corporations knowingly take part in.
Nestlé , Cadbury, Mars and Hershey have historically been some of the worst offenders in the chocolate industry, but good luck boycotting them, they’re everywhere. Even knowing all about Mars’ child labor and poor treatment of chocolate farmers, I still succumb to the peanut M&Ms at the grocery store checkout every now and then. I guess I’m a monster.
To make things even more complicated, even if food has the fair trade label, that only means a small percentage of it is truly fair trade, not necessarily all of it – so many farmers are still not being paid enough for their crop while the big companies are making millions. So most chocolate is still basically tainted chocolate.
I have so much more to say about this, but I’ll save it for another day – if you’re interested in this stuff, check out this blog and this more hopeful account of changes being made. There’s not much info out there because big companies aren’t the most open with the public, but if you find a solid source, send it my way.
The good news is that most companies have agreed to go 100% fair trade by 2020, and this includes Ferrero, the company that manufactures Nutella. But they’re not quite there yet. So until then, I have a homemade alternative that tastes just as good, if not better than, the real thing. And I know people always say that, but it’s actually true when I say it. So you can eat your favorite chocolate-hazelnut spread completely guilt-free, as long as you use responsibly sourced chocolate.
The chocolate-hazelnut spread is only half the story. When it’s smothering these yeasted orange waffles, which are so light and airy they’ll practically dissolve on your tongue, you may just reach waffle nirvana. The batter needs to rest in the fridge overnight, but all this means is that when you wake up you’ll be only minutes away from fresh waffles.
And for some reason I thought this outrageous lily needed gilding, so I topped the whole thing with orange zest infused whipped cream, with some Grand Marnier thrown in for good measure. I can’t be helped.
Yeasted Orange Waffles:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 1/4 cup milk
3/4 cups orange juice
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons active-dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
zest of one orange
1 cup (4 ounces) hazelnuts
10 ounces milk chocolate (I used Valrhona)
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon of salt
Orange Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy cream, cold
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons Grand Marnier
zest from 1/2 an orange
For the waffles:
Heat the butter, milk and orange juice together until melted and combined, then let cool to body temperature. Combine the flour and salt in a small bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together yeast, warmed milk mixture, and honey. Add eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla extract and orange zest, then gently mix in the flour mixture until fully incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap or transfer the batter to an airtight container and refrigerate overnight, or for 8 hours.
To cook the waffles, brush a heated waffle iron with melted butter. Then spoon the batter onto the iron – the batter should be airy after its rest in the fridge. Brush more butter on before each new waffle.
Leftover waffles can be frozen for several months – just toast them on high to bring them back to life.
For the chocolate-hazelnut spread:
Melt together the milk chocolate and coconut oil, then set it aside to cool.
Toast the hazelnuts in a frying pan or in a 375F oven for several minutes, or until fragrant. Then rub them while they’re warm to get most of their skins off – some will be stubborn and stay on, that’s okay.
In a food processor or blender, process the still-warm hazelnuts into a smooth paste, which should take about 5 minutes. The smoother the better. Then mix in the confectioner’s sugar, salt, and vanilla extract. Finally, pour in the cooled melted chocolate mixture and process until smooth. Taste to adjust salt or sweetness levels to your liking – but I think you’ll find it just right.
For the orange whipped cream:
Whip heavy cream, sugar, orange zest and Grand Marnier together in a chilled bowl until soft peaks form. Serve immediately.