Some holiday traditions go back so far no one can even remember how they started. That’s what Christmas morning breakfast is like for my family. Every year, after reading the nativity story around the tree, opening presents, and tidying up the sea of wrinkled gift paper, we get ready for one of my favorite meals of the year.
We set the dining room table with our fine white china and get to work helping mom assemble the breakfast feast. The side dishes may vary (fruit salad and bacon are some of the usuals), but the centerpiece of the meal has always been my mom’s delicious buttermilk waffles.
When I got married in 2010, we started spending Christmas with Jason’s family in New Jersey. It was amazing to experience all of the traditions of another family and to see how people celebrate the same holiday so differently. I got to see the tree at Rockefeller Center and the holiday windows at the flagship Saks on 5th Avenue in New York. I was introduced to an Italian seafood feast on Christmas Eve and a huge family gathering on Christmas Day complete with classic foods like eggplant parmesan, lasagna, and pasta with meatballs.
A lot changed about the holiday for me (like having a white Christmas for the first time in my life!), but I wanted to bring a piece of home with me. So in addition to the other festivities, I started making Christmas breakfast for my new family members.
These days, I always add some food that reflect my Southern traditions, and of course waffles never fail to be a crowd pleaser. When I think back to the memory of my late grandmother setting the china and silver on Christmas morning, it makes it that much more special to carry this tradition forward. One day I will take out the china for my children and grandchildren, showing them the proper way to fold a napkin and place the silverware with care, the same way my grandmother did for me when I was small. As our family grows and changes over the years, I’m reminded of how memorable certain meals can be and how gathering at the table has a unique way of keeping us grounded and thankful for the most important people in our lives. Who knew waffles could remind you of all that?
Mom’s Buttermilk Waffles
These waffles are perfect in every way. Soft, fluffy, and sweet with a very subtle tang from the buttermilk. And for my family, it wouldn’t be Christmas morning without them.
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 T. baking powder
1 T. sugar
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. butter, melted and cooled
2 c. buttermilk
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt together. Set aside.
Separate the eggs, placing the whites in one mixing bowl and the yolks in another.
Whisk together the egg yolks, butter, and buttermilk. Fold the mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients just until everything is incorporated.
Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks with an electric mixer on high speed in their separate bowl. Then add the stiff egg whites to the batter, very gently folding them in with a rubber spatula until they are completely incorporated. Lumps in the batter are fine, you don’t want to overmix it.
Cook according to waffle maker directions.
Makes 8 waffles.
This post is part of the Favorite Holiday Traditions series, sponsored by Betty Crocker Cookies.