This is probably the most special recipe I have posted on the blog so far, and may well just be the most special one I ever post. This is a recipe that is such a big part of my family that I literally had to ask permission from my dad and sister, and got input from a few close friends, before posting. The recipe for these waffles is special, which is exactly why I am excited to share it…
In an ever changing world (sometimes for the better and sometimes not) there have been two constants in my life…. my cabin in the San Juan Islands and eating Mickey Mouse waffles at said cabin.
My dad purchased the property for our cabin when he was in his early 20s, so when I say I’ve been going to our cabin longer than I remember, I really mean it. He is a handy guy, so my dad (with the help of friends and family) built our cabin from scratch, and has been working hard throughout the years to continue to make improvements. When my husband and I decided to get married on the island a few years ago, my dad did some major updates like the giant deck and custom BBQ which we made use of for our rehearsal dinner (pig roast for 60 people!).
The fact that my dad built our cabin is part of the reason it is so special… but the other half is because my parents worked hard to make sure it felt like a special place, by creating wonderful memories for us up there. For one, there was deliberately no TV at the cabin, which “forced” us to get outside or find ways to be creative indoors. We’d often go up with my cousins and we’d spend hours running around outside while pretending to be runaways who had to survive in the woods… or imagining the forest was filled with magical creatures… or plotting mischievous things in the little clubhouse my dad built us. We had made-up names for places on the island, like Pirates Cove for the beach we’d often hike down to… and sheepishly I must admit it wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized these places had different names in the “real world” :). Many days were spent walking to the lake to go swimming, hanging out at the beach to watch the sunset, or playing board games when rain would come by. When we got older, we would head up to the cabin with friends (my parents were pretty brave to take 5+ teenage girls when I asked if I could have a girls’ weekend up there) and so it has become a special place for many people in our lives.
When I was in college I requested to do my student teaching in a nearby town on the mainland, so I was fortunate to spend some of my time living on the island. I loved getting to become part of the community up there… I volunteered at the local school (which had only 3 teachers for grades K-6) and made friends with a few permanent residents on the island. Days off were spent reading or walking… large windows look out over the water from the living space in the cabin, and it made life feel so peaceful… despite the stress of student teaching, I don’t know if I’ve ever felt so relaxed.
The island has become even more special as I have gotten older, not just because I am more reflective of the childhood memories there, but because new memories have been created. As I mentioned before, my husband and I were fortunate enough to get married on the island… we had a beautiful, sunny ceremony on the beach, and a fun party in the shade of the trees in the evening.
My mom is also buried on the island, along with my aunt and grandpa. With this place meaning so much to our family, it seems like a perfect resting place. When I was up visiting last week, I felt such a wave of happiness come over me when I closed my eyes by my mom’s grave and could hear birds chirping, the sun on my skin, and waves crashing rhythmically in the distance… this really isn’t an exaggeration… I even tried to record it on my phone to hold on to the moment when I return to Sweden. It really is the most beautiful and peaceful place in the world, in my mind.
And part of the tradition of going up to the cabin is that we ALWAYS have Mickey Mouse waffles for breakfast. I don’t know when or how this tradition was started, but it has been going on for as long as I can remember. Often my dad would wake up really early and get started on a large batch of waffles… then when we were a bit older, the cousins started to take over the job… at one point I think my cousin and I even talked about opening a waffle restaurant when we grew up :). We always had fun making the waffles, and sometimes we’d get creative and try to make beards for the Mickey or give it a bow to make a Minnie.
No matter what shape and size, the Mickey Mouse waffle is always delicious! There are two secrets to this recipe… one is the cardamom, which if you have been following this blog for a while you might realize is one of my favorite flavors. It is present in a lot of Swedish baking and desserts, and it fits perfectly with the waffle batter.
The second secret has to do with the texture of the waffle… folding in whipped egg whites. By whipping the egg whites until they form stiff peaks, you get super fluffy waffles. It’s. The. Best.
You can top your waffles with any toppings you have on hand, but some cabin classics are jam, whipped cream, syrup, and/or fresh strawberries and raspberries. As kids we’d have fun filling the ears with syrup, then making a jam pattern on the body, and maybe filling the smile with some berries… this meal is meant to be fun and creative!
Every time I eat these waffles, it brings a smile to my face and I can’t help but think about all the wonderful memories at our cabin. I hope that these waffles inspire you to create your own food traditions and beautiful memories for you and your family.
Mickey Mouse Waffles
- 5 tablespoons butter / smör
- 1½ cup milk / 3.5 dl mjölk
- 3 eggs / ägg
- 1 tablespoon sugar / socker
- 1¾ cup flour / 4 dl vetemjöl
- ¼ teaspoon salt / salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder / bakpulver
- 1 teaspoon cardamom / kardemumma
- Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl.
- Add the milk and the yellows of the eggs in with the dry ingredients and stir until mixed well.
- In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
- Fold the eggs whites into the waffle batter carefully with a spatula.
- Melt the butter and carefully mix into the batter.
- Add a little butter to the waffle iron for the first round, then add waffle batter and make according to your device.