Extra crispy buttermilk waffles, infused with warm Chai spices are topped with tender apples that have been cooked in a maple cinnamon syrup. This may be the best addition ever to your breakfast or brunch table!
What is Chai Spice?
The word Chai, in various forms around the world, means tea, but the word chai most commonly refers to delicious South Asian Masala Chai tea, which is black tea that is cooked with milk, sugar, and warm spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and black pepper.
Although you can buy pre-blended chai spices, it is so much easier (and more affordable!) to just make your own. The use of these warm spices doesn’t have to be limited to tea though! I’ve used my own blend of chai spices in apple pie, French toast, coffee, and now Chai Spiced Waffles!
What do you need to make a great waffle?
The most important part of any waffle, no matter the flavor, is… the waffle! That means you have to start with an amazing base waffle recipe. This is it folks. I have been working on this waffle recipe, literally, for years. I tried every trick out there for getting my waffles to have a crispy exterior with a fluffy interior. I wanted them to be just sweet enough, but not so sweet that I couldn’t top them with syrup, gravy, Maple Cinnamon Apples, or even chicken! And I can finally say, I’m done. Here are my best tips for the most crispy, fluffy, and flavorful waffles:
- All-purpose flour No fancy flours need apply here. You can try whole wheat flour, or another flour alternative, but I haven’t tested them and cannot attest to their pluses or minuses. I can only imagine they might make a more dense waffle, and that’s not what I’m after today.
- Cornstarch This is my secret ingredient for a crispy exterior to my waffles. I already use some cornstarch with my flour when making fried chicken, and I thought, why not? And it works like a dream!
- Baking Powder and Baking Soda I use a bit of both in this recipe to get added lift to my waffles. The baking soda works with the acid in my buttermilk and the baking powder does its thing when it hits the hot waffle iron. Poof!
- Eggs I’ve fiddled around with separating the eggs, whipping the whites, and folding them into the waffle batter, but I just didn’t see much difference. It can certainly give your pancakes a good fluffing, but with waffles, you’re pretty much restricted by the waffle iron itself, so I found it to be an unnecessary step. Just add eggs.
- Chai Spices I created, and tasted, a lot of chai spices before I decided on a blend I like. If you go too hard on the cardamom it can taste too bitter, but you need it there for a bit of warmth, and to offset the inherent sweetness of cinnamon. It’s all rounded out with ginger, nutmeg, and clove, and just a touch of black pepper. Trust me on the black pepper. It’s the hint of heat in my Black Pepper Caramel No-Churn Ice Cream and it’s perfect here with all the sweetness. All together, I think this is the perfect blend of spices to give you next level waffles!
Can I make these waffles without the Chai Spice?
Absolutely! This waffle recipe started out as a basic waffle recipe, and it has been put through so many different combination tests to see how it holds up to added flavors and ingredients. I’ve made Blueberry Cornmeal Waffles (sub corn meal for the cornstarch and add 1 cup fresh blueberries), Chocolate Chip Waffles (duh), and so many more. Just leave out all the spices listed after the salt in the recipe and you’re all set. The wet ingredients stay the same and the cooking instructions don’t change.
How do I get Chai Spiced Waffles and apples into my belly?
- Cook the apples as directed and cover them to keep warm while you make the waffles.
- Whisk together the dry ingredients, including your spices.
- Whisk together your wet ingredients. It is always better to use room temperature ingredients, so I mix my buttermilk, milk, eggs, and vanilla together before starting to cook my apples. This gives them time to come to room temperature. Add in the melted butter just before mixing the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
- Do that 👆 Add wet into dry and mix until just fully combined. Then let the batter rest for about 10 minutes. This allows the dry ingredients to fully hydrate and for any gluten you built up in mixing to relax, for a more tender and fluffy waffle.
- Make waffles and eat them with syrupy apples and maybe some whipped cream. You’ve earned it!
Chai Spiced Waffles with Maple Cinnamon Apples
- Belgian Waffle Maker
- 1 ½ cups all purpose flour (195g)
- ½ cup cornstarch (60g)
- 3 Tbs sugar
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp cardamom
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- 1/8 tsp cracked black pepper
- 1 ½ cups buttermilk (360g)
- ½ cup whole milk or half and half (120g)
- ½ cup vegetable oil (120g)
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted (60g)
- 1 tsp vanilla (extract or paste)
- 2 large eggs, whisked
Maple Cinnamon Apples
- 3 large apples
- 3 tbs unsalted butter
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar (50g)
- 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- Homemade or store bought whipped cream
- Preheat oven to 200°F. Set a wire rack into a large sheet pan and place in the oven. This will be the staging area for your waffles as they finish cooking and await devouring!
- Peel, core, and cut apples into 1/4 inch slices. Whisk together the cornstarch, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and kosher salt. Toss apples in a nonstick pan with butter, lemon juice, and the sugar and spice mixture. Simmer over medium-low heat for 8-10 minutes, or until apples are soft on the outside, but still crisp in the middle. Pour in 1/4 cup maple syrup and bring back up to a simmer. Allow to reduce for about 5 more minutes until apples are softened and the syrup has thickened. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.
- Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl, whisk well, and set aside. In a large measuring cup whisk together buttermilk, whole milk (or half and half), oil, melted butter, vanilla, and whisked eggs. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until just combined. There will be some lumps, but that’s fine. Allow batter to rest for at least 10 minutes. That’s just enough time to heat your waffle iron.
- Pour about 3/4 cup of batter (unless your waffle maker’s specifications say otherwise!) onto preheated waffle maker. Cook to manufacturer instructions, or about 4-5 minutes. Remove the waffle and place on sheet pan you set up in the oven. Repeat until all the batter is done.
- Serve warm with Maple Cinnamon Apples and a dollop of whipped cream.
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