It hadn't occurred to us until our little son Gio started eating real breakfasts that a waffle iron is a magical item. You pour cold, lumpy batter into a mysterious machine, leave it alone for a while and open it to find hot nut-brown waffles inside! He just loves them. Now, when Gio wakes up at 7 am, he is ready to begin his day; we are still bleary from a night in the restaurant. He demands to "mix now," but the last thing we want to do is cook. So we devised a waffle recipe that is improved by being started the night before. Use quick-cooking oats for a tender waffle, plain if you prefer a more substantial, chewy waffle. The light tang of orange juice and buttermilk add a wonderful flavor. Serve with butter and spiced apple butter or maple syrup. With the orange-and-oat flavors of the waffles, plus melting butter and maple syrup, what could be better than cold, fresh apple cider? Garnished with apple butter and whipped cream they taste like apple pie ala mode, only in breakfast form.
The night before you plan to serve the waffles, in a medium bowl, combine the buttermilk, orange juice, and oats. Mix well, cover, and refrigerate overnight.
In a large bowl, whisk the egg. Add the sugar and mix. Add the flours, baking soda, salt, and the oat mixture and mix well. Stir in the melted butter. The batter may be slightly lumpy.
Preheat and lightly butter a waffle iron. Spoon a generous 1/2 cup of batter onto the hot iron and close the lid. Cook until no more steam escapes from the iron and the waffle is golden on both sides, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately with the apple butter and whipped cream and garnished with fresh berries.
Equipment: Waffle iron.
Allspiced Apple Butter:
Put the apples in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over low heat. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 1 1/2 hours. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon, and allspice and continue cooking over low heat, stirring occasionally, until very thick, about 30 minutes more.
To test for doneness, place a spoonful of the mixture on a white plate and let sit 20 seconds. If a ring of liquid forms around the apples, there is still too much liquid in the mixture. Continue cooking and testing until no ring forms.