Father's Day Brunch Slam Dunk: Make These Monte Cristo Waffles
Want a seriously special breakfast for a seriously special dad this Father’s Day? Skip the crowds at the local brunch joints and whip up a batch of mad delicious Monte Cristo waffles with homemade raspberry sauce!
A variation on that French bar-snack darling, the croque-monsieur, a Monte Cristo is a ham and cheese sandwich dipped in egg batter and fried like French toast—top it with powdered sugar, serve with berry jam for dipping, and relish every bite. Our version brings those scrumptious sweet-n-savory flavors to waffle form for an easy breakfast the whole family will love (full recipe below).
It’s hard to believe that a few humble ingredients can quickly come together for such an impressive fancified-waffle breakfast. Our recipe calls for chopped ham and Swiss cheese (we recommend gooey Gruyère or Emmental), but you can also use turkey instead of ham (or a combo!) and any kind of cheese you have on hand—Gouda is another good go-to. We like the buttery tang that buttermilk adds to these golden delights, but milk works fine as well—just replace the baking soda with 3 teaspoons of baking powder.
Move over, maple syrup! A sweet-tart raspberry sauce provides a perfect balance for the rich, savory waffles. June means fresh berries abound, but frozen berries will also suffice. No berries? Use any fruit jam thinned out with a bit of water or juice.
You can dust the waffles with powdered sugar before or after saucing—or skip it altogether. And for an even heartier morning meal, top with fried eggs and you’ve got yourself a tasty take on the croque-madame.
Maybe you already have a beloved waffle maker, but if not, there are great options galore: A simple, solid workhorse for under 20 bucks; the überpremium that makes four waffles at a time; one that flips (and makes two at a time) for more even cooking; and even a heart-shaped variation. If you’re on the fence, keep in mind that waffles are also a great way to get a unique, kid-friendly lunch or dinner on the table—just ask Food & Wine or Fine Cooking. Another plus: Waffle makers can make a lot more than waffles (grilled cheese and hash browns and brownies, oh my)!
Just not a fan of waffles? Try these tantalizing Monte Cristo pancakes by Bakerita instead.
Whether you’re gathering around the breakfast table or having an awesome Father’s Day feast in bed (lay out towels…), encourage your children to help with the assembly. In our centers, we embrace family-style eating—encouraging children to serve themselves teaches them important social skills (like passing items, sharing, being patient, and saying “please” and “thank you”) and how to listen to their own hunger cues. Sure, there will likely be some spills when little ones take the lead, but also lots of smiles.
Allowing kiddos to get in on the serving action can also inspire them to try new foods, or to give a second chance to foods they haven’t liked in the past. Of course, we doubt you’ll get a “no, thank you” with ham-and-cheese waffles topped with raspberry sauce and powdered sugar… next time, try a version with cheddar and broccoli instead!
Make Dad’s breakfast extra special by inviting your children into the kitchen to help. Little hands are just right for measuring cups of berries, whisking together dry ingredients, pouring buttermilk, and mixing in ham and cheese. They’re also sure to enjoy adding the ruby-hued sauce and powdered sugar (use a sifter to avoid snowy drifts). While the waffles cook, kiddos can draw pictures for Dad to give his place setting a truly sweet finish.
FATHER’S DAY MONTE CRISTO WAFFLES
* Recipe slightly adapted from The Kitchn.
Yields: 8 thick Belgian-style waffles or about 16 regular waffles
Total time: About 20 minutes
For the raspberry sauce:
● 2 cups fresh raspberries
● ¼ cup sugar, plus more to taste
● ¼ cup water
For the waffles:
● 2½ cups all-purpose flour
● 1 teaspoon salt
● 1½ teaspoons baking soda
● 2¼ cups buttermilk
● 2 large eggs
● ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
● 2 tablespoons sugar
● 6 ounces deli ham and/or turkey, diced small (about 1½ cups when diced)
● 1 cup shredded Swiss cheese (we suggest Gruyère or Emmental)
● Powdered sugar, to serve
- Combine the raspberries, sugar, and water in a small saucepan and set over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the raspberries break down (about 5 to 8 minutes). Taste and stir in more sugar if desired. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
- In another medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, melted butter, and sugar.
- Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir with a spatula to form a fairly thick batter. Stir in the ham and shredded cheese.
- Warm your waffle iron. When the iron is ready, scoop enough batter into the squares to almost cover them. Cook until dark golden, typically about 4 to 5 minutes depending on your waffle iron. Transfer the cooked waffles to a cooling rack or serve immediately.
- Continue cooking the remaining batter.
- Serve with a pitcher of raspberry sauce for drizzling or give everyone a small dish of it for dipping. Gently sift powdered sugar over the tops of the waffles. Enjoy!