When the cold months and the holidays roll around, it’s nice to make this seasonal waffle recipe for a weekend breakfast or brunch. Warm gingerbread spices and brown sugar are mixed into a buttermilk batter and poured into a Belgian waffle iron. For the compound butter, simply stir together softened butter, vanilla bean seeds, and orange zest. To serve, top these spiced beauties with the butter and a drizzle of warm maple syrup. Freeze any leftover waffles in between sheets of parchment paper inside a resealable bag, and toast one whenever you need a quick weekday breakfast.

What to buy: There are various intensities of molasses available, from light to blackstrap. Dark (sometimes marketed as robust) tastes best in this recipe.

Special equipment: You’ll need a Belgian waffle iron for this recipe.

  • Yields: About 8 Belgian waffles
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr

Ingredients (19)

For the vanilla-orange butter:

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped, seeds reserved, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest (from about 1 medium orange)
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine salt

For the waffles:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 cups well-shaken buttermilk
  • 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup dark molasses, such as Grandma’s Robust
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Warm maple syrup, for serving (optional)


For the vanilla-orange butter:

  1. Place the butter in a medium bowl and mash it with a rubber spatula until it’s very spreadable. Add the vanilla seeds or extract, zest, and salt and mix until thoroughly combined; set aside.

For the waffles:

  1. Heat the oven to 250°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Set a wire rack on a baking sheet and place it in the oven.
  2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, ginger, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, allspice, and cloves in a large bowl to aerate and break up any lumps; set aside.
  3. Place the eggs in a large bowl and whisk until they’re just broken up. Add the buttermilk, melted butter, molasses, and vanilla and whisk until evenly combined.
  4. Add the buttermilk mixture to the reserved flour mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until the flour is just incorporated and no streaks remain. (The batter may have a few lumps.)
  5. Heat a Belgian waffle iron to medium low according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once heated, fill it with batter, close the lid, and cook until the steam starts to diminish (open the top and peek for doneness after a few minutes). Transfer the waffle to the wire rack on the baking sheet in the oven. Repeat with the remaining batter. Serve immediately with the vanilla-orange butter and maple syrup, if using.