Heat up your waffle irons for International Waffle Day

Merry International Waffle Day - what started out as an occasion to mark the beginning of spring and the Feast of the Annunciation in Sweden, has become an international excuse to tuck into a stack of warm, buttery waffles.

The Feast of the Annunciation, which falls on March 25 every year, is a Christian celebration in which the archangel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary and announced she had been chosen to carry the Son of God.

To celebrate this breakfast dessert day, here are a few waffle recipes that don't come from the freezer aisle or use toasters to cook.

Crispy Waffles with Salted Caramel Coulis

Try this recipe from Parisian chef Yves Camdeborde with fleur de sel as opposed to kosher salt to get the full effect. The salty sweet caramel coulis - a fancy word for sauce - gives the buttery waffle a yin-yang balance and prevents the dessert from being too cloyingly sweet.

"I love this recipe! The waffles are crispy and delicious. This caramel sauce is legendary around here," writes Stellarmouse from Minneapolis.

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Crispy-Waffles-with-Salted-Caramel-Coulis-242122

Gingerbread Waffles

This recipe takes your basic waffle batter and spices it up with cinnamon, allspice, ginger and dried mustard to be a standalone waffle, accessories and accoutrements not required. The submission has so far garnered 53 mainly positive reviews and has been saved by 2,427 members, including one reader who wrote the review while eating the waffles. "They are crispy on the outside, soft on the inside and oh-so-yummy, especially if you love gingerbread!"

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Gingerbread-Waffles-2/Detail.aspx

Fried Chicken and Buttermilk Waffles

It may sound like an unlikely combination to some but fried chicken and waffles is considered a popular soul food for Americans in the south, particularly on Sunday mornings as a hearty brunch meal. After topping the waffles with deep fried chicken, the dish is slathered in butter and maple syrup. The following recipe, courtesy of Emeril Lagasse, kicks the fried chicken up a notch with Emeril's Creole seasoning, a spice mix of cayenne pepper, garlic and onion powder, paprika and thyme.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/fried-chicken-and-buttermilk-waffles-recipe/index.html

Whole Grain Waffles

If you want a healthier alternative for your waffle day, these five-star waffles, as reviewed by 397 people, are popular on Allrecipes.com. The recipe uses whole wheat pastry flour, flaxseed meal, wheat germ and applesauce to give it moistness without butter fat. The author suggests serving it with blueberry syrup. A recent review posted Wednesday said, "Excellent! I was surprised that the top rated waffle recipe here was a whole grain one. " Even better, the cook and prep time is 15 minutes.

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Whole-Grain-Waffles/Detail.aspx

Buttermilk Waffles with Prosciutto

The buttermilk in this recipe is credited for making the waffles come out light and airy and many of the 22 reviewers enjoyed the texture and consistency. "Great basic waffle recipe, prosciutto adds smokiness and an elegance that could warrant a Sunday brunch and some mimosas," says A Cook from Chatham, MA.

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Buttermilk-Waffles-with-Crisp-Prosciutto-100933

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