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BRAVE NEW WORLD OF WAFFLES AWAITS DISCOVERY

THE WAFFLE COOKBOOK: Leslie Freiberger; HP Books of Price Stern Sloan; paperback; 120 pages; $8.95.

Take a criss-cross pattern, embellish it with endless variations of fruit or vegetable purees, seasonings and surprising toppings and you've reproduced a Leslie Freiberger waffle.Freiberger's waffles take a giant step from packaged mixes or even basic Betty Crocker in taste and originality. Using unusual combinations like blue corn meal and guacamole, yellow squash and ricotta cheese or granola and blackberry topping, the first-time cookbook author leads an exploration into an uncharted world of waffles.

In a tidy, compact paperback, the author suggests waffles for an extraordinary breakfast, as well as for appetizers, lunch, dinner and even dessert.

Imagine a chocolate fudge brownie waffle, a butterscotch waffle with gingered pear sauce or a concoction called Vanilla Gorilla waffles with vanilla and raspberry sauces.

Recipe selection is varied and imaginative while remaining practical; directions are concise and easy to follow. The text also includes detailed instructions on successful baking of waffles.

"The most important thing I've learned," says Freiberger, "is to season the waffle iron correctly according to manufacturer's instructions. Never scrub or scour the grids. Instead, lightly brush out any loose crumbs and wipe the outside with a damp sponge when you finish baking."

For a nonstick waffle, lightly brush the grids with vegetable shortening before each baking, the author advises.

With a wide selection of recipes, Freiberger encourages the immediate retirement of the traditional waffle image and an exploration of waffle possibilities for every meal of the day.

***********************RECIPES***************************

GREEN CLOUDS OVER A BLUE MOON

1 cup blue cornmeal

1 cup flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 eggs, separated

1 3/4 cups buttermilk

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/4 cup vegetable oil

Guacamole:

3 avocados

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tomato, diced

1 small onion, chopped

2 tablespoons sour cream

2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Spicy salsa to taste

For guacamole, mash avocados with a fork. Stir in remaining ingredients; cover and chill until ready to serve. Makes 2 cups.

For waffles, whisk together blue cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In second bowl, combine egg yolks, buttermilk, brown sugar and oil. Gradually stir in cornmeal mixture; beat until smooth. Whip egg whites until soft peaks are formed; fold into batter. Lightly brush hot grids with shortening. Cook until crisp; serve with guacamole. Makes 4 waffles.

YELLOW SQUASH WAFFLES

WITH RICOTTA CHEESE TOPPING

1 pound yellow squash, diced

1/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs

1 cup oat flour

1/2 cup flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper

2 eggs, separated

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup sour cream

1/3 cup butter, melted, cooled

2 tablespoon tarragon vinegar

1 tablespoon parsley, chopped

1 container (15 oz.) ricotta cheese

1/4 cup chives, minced

Preheat waffle iron. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Cook squash in boiling water until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain; set aside. Stir together bread crumbs, oat flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lemon pepper. In another bowl, combine egg yolks, buttermilk and sour cream. In processor or blender, combine cooked squash, butter, vinegar, parsley and buttermilk mixture. Process until smooth. Stir in flour mixture. Whip egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold into batter. Cook until crisp and golden brown. Keep finished waffles warm in oven until ready to serve.

Combine ricotta cheese and chives; set aside. Serve hot with cheese topping. Makes 3 waffles.

CHOCOLATE FUDGE BROWNIE WAFFLES

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate

1/3 cup butter

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

3 eggs, separated

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup walnuts, chopped

Powdered sugar

Preheat waffle iron. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Melt chocolate and butter.

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and cocoa powder.

In large bowl, beat together egg yolks, milk, sour cream and vanilla. Gradually stir in flour mixture and melted chocolate and butter. Beat until smooth. Stir in walnuts. Whip egg whites until soft peaks form; fold into batter. Cook until crisp; be careful not to overcook.

To serve, sprinkle with powdered sugar. Makes 3 waffles.

APPLE MINT WAFFLE WITH SAUTEED APPLES

1 cup red delicious apples, coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup oat flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

2 eggs, separated

1 1/2 cups milk

1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt

1 teaspoon mint extract

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup butter, melted

1/3 cup slivered almonds

Powdered sugar

Sauteed Apples:

4 red delicious apples

1/2 cup butter

2 tablespoons brown sugar

Preheat waffle iron. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Toss chopped apple with lemon juice; set aside.

Combine dry ingredients; beat egg yolks, milk, yogurt, mint extract, brown sugar and butter. Gradually stir into the flour mixture and beat until smooth. Stir in almonds and chopped apple. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form; fold into batter. Lightly brush hot grids with shortening; bake waffles until crisp and golden. Keep finished waffles warm in oven.

Cut apples into quarters; remove cores. Thinly slice and saute in a large skillet 2-3 minutes or each side. Sprinkle brown sugar over top. Keep warm until ready to serve.

For serving, drip sugar sauce over apples; dust with powdered sugar and garnish with fresh mint sprigs if desired. Makes 4 servings.

GRANOLA WAFFLES WITH BLACKBERRY SYRUP

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 eggs

3/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt

11/2 cups buttermilk

1/4 cup honey

1 teaspoon dark molasses

1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled

1 cup plain unsweetened granola

1 cup butter, melted

Blackberry Syrup:

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1/4 cup water

1 cups blackberry preserves

Preheat waffle iron. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Sift together dry ingredients. Combine eggs, yogurt, buttermilk, honey, molasses, brown sugar and 1/4 cup butter. Gradually stir in the flour mixture; beat until smooth. Lightly brush hot grids with shortening. Cook waffles until crisp and golden brown. Keep finished waffles warm in oven until ready to serve.

Serve with melted butter and hot Blackberry Syrup. Makes 4 waffles.

For syrup, combine cornstarch and water with preserves. Cook, over low heat, until bubbles appear around the edges; keep warm until serving. Makes about 11/2 cups.