A classic waffle recipe never needs much fussing over. But in this one, making the switch from white sugar to brown sugar is absolutely worth it. The brown sugar gives the waffles a slightly deeper, more caramelized flavor, that allows them to stand up to the other flavorful dishes on the table. But the brown sugar isn’t so overwhelming that waffles can’t be the vehicle for butter, syrup, and, in this case, tart cranberry sauce that they were meant to be. 

And you're going to want to show off this cranberry sauce. At its plainest, cranberry sauce is a bright, tart, jewel-hued godsend at the otherwise heavy Thanksgiving table. But with a few more flourishes, cranberry sauce becomes it’s own kind of centerpiece—both in terms of flavor and eye candy. This garnet red compote gets gussied up with fresh-squeezed orange juice and zest for brightness. Maple syrup replaces sugar so it doesn’t come anywhere close to cloying. A hearty dash of ginger provides a kick that warms you up from tongue to toes. Feel free to make this one ahead—it can keep in your fridge for a week. 

Brown Sugar Waffles

  • Yields: About 10 waffles, depending on your waffle iron
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Hands-On Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour



  1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat or in the microwave. Remove from heat.

  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. 

  3. In another bowl, whisk milk, buttermilk, and eggs until combined.

  4. Add cooled butter to the milk mixture. 

  5. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir till combined.

  6. Heat your waffle iron and lightly coat with butter. 

  7. Make waffles, about ½ - ¾ cup at a time, adding more butter to the iron as needed.  

Note: As you make them, you can keep them warm in a 200*F oven before serving them. Pass them around in a towering pile to impress your guests.

Orange-Ginger Cranberry Compote

  • Yields: About 2.5 cups
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Hands-On Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes



  1. Peel orange, avoiding pith if you can, then juice it. 

  2. Combine orange peel and juice in medium size sauce pan with cranberries, syrup, ginger, and water.

  3. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until most cranberries have popped and you have the consistency of jam. 

  4. Remove from heat and let cool slightly before transferring to bowl. Make sure to remove orange peels before serving. 

Note: Feel free to use fresh ginger in this, too. Peel about a two inch knob of ginger and cut it into chunks. Remove chunks before serving.