The smell of these on Thanksgiving morning just gets you in the holiday mood! My family is originally from the South and we like our sweet potatoes; so substituting sweet potatoes for the pumpkin is a definite variation.
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, nutmeg, and ginger; set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the milk, pumpkin, egg yolks, butter, and, if desired, orange zest. Add pumpkin mixture all at once to flour mixture; stir just until combined (batter should be lumpy).
In a small bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Gently fold beaten egg whites into the pumpkin mixture, leaving a few puffs of egg white.
Heat a lightly greased waffle maker. Pour some of the batter onto the waffle grids. Close the lid quickly; do not open until done. Bake according to manufacturer's directions. When done, use a fork to lift the waffle off the grids. Repeat with remaining batter.
Serve waffles immediately or keep warm in a loosely covered ovenproof dish in a 300 degree F. oven. If desired, serve with the Cider-Honey Syrup.
CIDER-HONEY SYRUP: In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup apple cider or apple juice and 1 cup honey. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes or until slightly thickened. Serve warm. Cover and store any remaining syrup in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Makes 1 cup.