Lindsay Maitland Hunt

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Spiced Cardamom and Rye Waffles
 
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There's something magical about having waffles for breakfast. Starting the day with such a luxurious tone can only lead to good things, I think. Typically, I am the happy recipient of whatever waffles my mom whips up when I am visiting -- usually crunchy, Belgian-style grids that are light and airy. This Christmas when I was home, I decided to mix it up.

The result is something a little denser, with a toothsome bite from whole grains and ample spices to toast a gloomy winter day. Cardamom's fragrant notes match up perfectly with earthy rye flour. True, there's only 1/4 teaspoon in the recipe, seemingly not enough to either perfume the batter or give it top billing in the title. I promise that little bit will shine through in just the right way before hitting that metallic too-much-cardamom taste. As for the rye, Bob's Red Mill sells dark rye flour if you don't have some already on hand.

These make for the perfect wintery weekend brunch, preferably with fat snowflakes falling slowly outside, but I'll leave that part up to the weather.

Spiced Cardamom and Rye Waffles Serves 4

6 large eggs, separated 1 ½ cups buttermilk ½ stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract ¾ cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled ¾ cup dark rye flour, spooned and leveled ¼ cup granulated sugar 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon fine salt 1 teaspoon ground ginger 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom Salted butter, maple syrup, and sliced banana, for serving (optional)

Special Equipment: Waffle maker, egg white beaters (optional)

1. Preheat a waffle maker on highest setting.

2. Beat the egg whites in a small bowl with an egg beater, whisk, or an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until stiff peaks form. You should be able to lift your whisk or beater, turn it upside down, and the egg whites should stand straight up. Set aside.

3. Whisk the egg yolks, buttermilk, melted butter, and vanilla in a medium bowl until well combined. Set aside.

4. Whisk the all-purpose flour, rye flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger, baking powder, baking soda, and cardamom in a large bowl until well combined. Whisk in the egg yolk mixture until almost incorporated—it’s okay if some lumps remain. Add the egg whites and fold with a spatula until just combined. Do not over mix!

5. Spread about 1 heaping cup on the heated griddle, spreading from the middle outwards. Cook until done according to your waffle maker’s instructions. Repeat with remaining batter and serve immediately with butter and maple syrup, or your favorite accompaniments.

 
How to Make Perfect 6-Minute Soft-Boiled Eggs
 
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I come from a family that loves citing new studies to rationalize behaviors. Red wines are high in antioxidants so go for that refill! Blueberries are a superfood so load up on the muffins! Any new report can be twisted to support what we want.

So, when my dad alerted me to a recent study reporting that eating a high-protein breakfast will "reduce food cravings throughout the day and boost dopamine," I was more than ready to justify my morning egg habit. But, it turns out the reasons for eating a protein-packed breakfast (read: high in fat) are actually legit.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that not only helps control impulses, it acts like an all-purpose brain booster affecting general well-being, alertness, and creativity. The bottom line is, protein is essential to good brain function. (For more dietary sources of tyrosine, the amino acid in foods that create dopamine in your brain, check out the links above.)

Back to why you should be eating eggs in the a.m.: The research also suggests that skipping breakfast correlates with an increase in body weight! All the more reason to set fifteen minutes aside for an easy, protein-packed meal.

I'll be sharing more ideas soon for sneaking protein into traditionally sugary morning meals, like smoothies and even granola. For now, I suggest starting with a slice of your favorite toast, two perfect soft-boiled eggs, and ample amounts of butter. And, more good news on the fat front: butter isn't bad for you!

(Please note that if you have special dietary needs that preclude you from eating this type of breakfast, I am in no way suggesting you ditch the doctor's orders.)

Perfect 6-Minute Soft-Boiled Eggs on Toast

Ingredients: 2 large eggs 1 slice bread (New Yorkers, my favorite is from She Wolf Bakery) 2 tablespoons salted butter Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon Freshly ground black pepper

Bring a small pot of water to boil over high heat. Gently lower the eggs into the water. Lower the heat so it is at a simmer and cook for exactly 6 minutes.

Remove the eggs from the heat and run under cold water until they are comfortable to handle. (Now is the time to start toasting your bread.) Tap each shell on a hard surface, then roll to crack the shell all over. Don't roll too hard, just enough to create a web of cracks, this will make it easier to peel. Peel the eggs and discard the shells.

Slather the toasted bread with the butter and top with the eggs. Slice open with a knife, season with flaky salt and freshly ground pepper. Enjoy!