Corona Cooking: Cinnamon Spice Belgian Waffles

“You have to look….”

Six weeks ago, I was checking out Broadway shows for the trip I had planned almost a year ago for the family to celebrate my birthday in May. We were going to go to NYC before my my eldest moved to CA for a job, my middle child left for an internship, and my youngest busied himself with summer college classes. Six weeks later, our trip is cancelled, our oldest has no idea when she will be moving to CA, and our middle child is waiting to hear if her internship can occur virtually. Only my youngest remains undisturbed because his classes are still going to be online.

Add health issues for my husband, concern for relatives with the corona virus, and trying to adapt life and work in a virtual world, and the adage, “Count your blessings,” can become a bit difficult at times. I was recently reminded, though, by friends who live in other countries with limited access to water, shelter and food and who are struggling with disease and death in magnitude in addition to the pandemic that we must always be looking for blessings to count.

So, I listen to people talk about going for long nature walks and spending more time with their families and learning to bake bread and any number of other “didn’t have time for before” things people are now doing, and I am once again reminded that counting blessings is about looking for them in the first place. If we take the time to look for the positive, the silver lining, the pockets of sunshine, most often we will find them.

Recently our family was thankful that we have had more time for “special” breakfasts as a family. With no early morning rushes to get to school or work, breakfast has become a time for leisure together and for making pancakes or French toast or waffles.  The other day I made gluten, dairy free Belgian waffles which we topped with unsweetened dairy free vanilla yogurt and berries. It was a wonderful way to start the morning, so I share the recipe here for anyone with Belgian waffle makers. They can also be made as regular waffles in a normal waffle maker, too.

Cinnamon Spice Belgian Waffles

Ingredients:

2 cups whole grain gluten free flour blend, sifted (we used King Arthur whole grain blend)*

1/3 cup garbanzo bean gluten free flour, sifted (we used Bob’s Red Mill)*

1/3 cup ground flax seed

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

2 cups unsweetened dairy free milk (we used soy but oat or almond or flax will work, too; don’t use rice milk)

1/4 cup plant based oil (we used extra light olive oil but any plant based oil will work)

3 eggs (if you want to use a substitute, I would recommend whisking 3/4 cup chick pea liquid)

* Note: A reminder that if the word “sifted” is after, then you measure before you sift. If you see the word “sifted” before the flour, then you sift before measuring.

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Prep your Belgian waffle maker according to instructions.
  2. Measure out the gluten free and garbanzo bean flours and sift. If you don’t have a sifter, you can sift by pushing the flour through a wire mesh basket or taking a whisk and whisking the flour until it is no longer clumped and has some air incorporated into it.
  3. To the flours, add the ground flax seed, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt and baking powder. Mix until well blended.
  4. Mix together the milk, oil and eggs.
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and blend until completely smooth.
  6. Let the batter rest for 30 minutes.
  7. Use the batter to make waffles according to your waffle maker instructions.
  8. If you need to keep waffles warm, put in a single layer on a cookie sheet in the oven on your lowest heat.
  9. Serve with unsweetened yogurt and/or berries and/or maple syrup and/or jam, and enjoy!

Healthy Habits: Vegan Protein Waffles

“I did well… lasted two days….”

Happy New Year! We are two and a half weeks into 2019, and the question, of course, is how we are all doing with any resolutions we’ve made. As someone who does not make resolutions in January, I am fascinated by people who do. I understand how and why the beginning of a new year prompts us to “want to do better”. What I don’t understand is why folks want to start in the dead of winter when it’s dark and cold, and we are too depressed to sustain changes (for those of us who live in the northeast part of the United States, that is!).

I spoke with a friend recently who had decided she’d incorporate walking every morning as a new routine. The problem, of course, is that after the first two days, the weather became frigid, and the sidewalks were too icy, and she didn’t want to leave the comfort of her warm bed. As we chatted, I suggested that maybe she needed to make an attainable goal for herself instead, like occasional outdoor afternoon walks, weather permitting, which supplement indoor exercise, maybe a home video or taking a class at a gym once or twice a week.

Too often, the reason we cannot sustain New Year’s resolutions is simply that they’re too lofty. I counsel folks in my baking workshops to make little changes, one at a time, which over extended time become habits and lead to overall better healthy eating in the long run, as opposed to changing everything at once and finding it to be too overwhelming and unsustainable.

So, in that vein, the next few posts will simply be some healthy recipes which folks can incorporate as you choose into your diet, and today’s recipe is for a vegan protein waffle. Homemade waffles are great because you can control what goes into them. Since waffles can be full of carbs, though, I wanted to find a way to add some protein. Also, with so many folks going vegan these days or having food allergies, I wanted waffles which most anyone could eat. We had them as a family last weekend, and they were delicious!

Vegan Protein Waffles

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup whole grain gluten free flour blend (you can use a rice flour blend but it won’t have fiber and protein)

1 cup ground golden flaxseed

1/4 cup hemp protein powder (if you have a favorite protein powder, you can use that instead)

2 tbsp egg replacer (just put in the powder as is without mixing it with any liquid)

1 tbsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

2 cups high protein “milk” (I like to use a GF soy or oat milk)

2 tbsp lemon juice

1/2 cup plant based oil (oils like an extra light olive oil, safflower, avocado, etc…)

1 tbsp maple syrup

1/4 cup water

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Prepare and preheat your waffle maker as instructed.
  2. Mix together in a large bowl the GF flour, ground flaxseed, protein powder, egg replacer powder, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. Whisk the milk with the lemon juice, and set aside.
  4. Mix together the oil, maple syrup and water. Add to the milk mixture.
  5. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry and add the vinegar. Whisk well until all the dry ingredients are fully incorporated.
  6. Cook waffles in your waffle maker as instructed.
  7. Enjoy!

NOTE: My niece told me that every time she tried to make vegan waffles they stuck to the waffle maker. I had no such issues with either of my waffle makers when we made these waffles. If you find that the waffles stick, it may simply be that your waffle maker has not been “seasoned” enough. Brushing the waffle maker with oil or spraying it with a non-propellant olive oil spray, as I do, tends to work.

Recipe Makeover: Waffles

website waffles

“But I was good all week; I went to school!”

My two daughters love school — my oldest because she’s academically inclined; my middle child because she’s socially inclined. My son, however, believes school was designed by adults who want to torture little boys. His current goal is to grow up to become President of the United States for the sole purpose of changing the laws which mandate that children need to attend school.

Still, I laughed this morning when he asked if I would make waffles for special breakfast, and his reason for why I should was because he had been good by going to school all week. What he thought he might have been able to do otherwise, I do not know….

To be honest, though, I hadn’t been inclined to make waffles because we had always used a lovely recipe from my mother-in-law which now I can’t use due to my new wheat sensitivity and dairy allergy. So, I had been making a lot of French toast and pancakes and frittatas instead for our special Saturday breakfasts. However, I bit the bullet this morning and decided to attempt a recipe makeover and see what happened.

What happened was that the waffles came out delightfully delicious and perfect with no inkling that they weren’t the same waffles from my mother-in-law’s recipe, so I’m going to share the makeover this morning in case anyone else has a son wanting waffles to eat.

Original Waffle Recipe:

1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour, 1 cup wheat germ, 2 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp baking powder, 1 tsp salt, 2 cup milk, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, and 2 eggs.

The Makeover:

1. Flour: I had loved this recipe because it called for 100% whole wheat flour which is more nutritionally dense than white flour. To make it gluten free, though, required making some choices. I could use a more nutritionally dense flour like garbanzo bean and gluten free oat flours which are usually my flours of choice, but waffles really require a lighter, finer flour if you want them to come out light and airy, so I chose instead to use a brown and sweet rice flour blend from Authentic Foods instead.

2. Wheat germ: Because wheat germ has added nutritional benefits I didn’t really want to simply replace this part of the recipe with more flour. So, instead, I opted to replace it with golden ground flax seed which is a great addition for those omega-3’s and has a similar texture and consistency to wheat germ.

3. Sugar: Since I rarely use refined white sugar, I decided to use 1 tbsp of Agave in place of the sugar.

4. Baking powder and salt: Since baking powder has sodium in it, I reduced the amount of salt to 1/4 tsp and added 1 tsp of cinnamon for some flavoring.

5. Milk: Because of my dairy allergy, I decided to experiment with both soy milk and flax milk, since we usually make a double batch so the kids can toast up waffles during the week before school. The soy milk has the advantage of adding protein to the waffles. The flax milk would provide another alternative since I’m always watching how much soy I use in case my body decides to add yet a fourth allergy or sensitivity onto my plate. Both versions came out perfectly, so I would imagine that folks could experiment with almond or coconut milk, too. Rice milk is always an option, as well, but remember that it’s much thinner than all the other milks so sometimes it needs the addition of a tbsp of flour or arrowroot to thicken it.

Because I was concerned about getting the right thickness for the waffle batter and about how well the gluten free version would rise, I also decided to borrow a technique I use for pancakes and make a “buttermilk”. So, I added 2 tbsp of lemon juice to the 2 cups of “milk” and let it sit for a couple of minutes after stirring. This added acid to the batter which created a “just right” batter texture and perfectly risen waffles.

6. Vegetable Oil: So, nowadays you can google oils and find all sorts of reports saying that even the ones which were touted as good like safflower are bad. It’s difficult to know what to believe anymore. The truth is moderation in all things is always the key. Since the one thing which hasn’t changed — ever — is that people continue to tout the benefits of olive oil, I decided I’d use a blend for the waffles. Using olive oil alone would considerably alter the taste of the waffles s I used a blend of olive, canola and grapeseed which I purchase at BJs and keep in the house.

7. Eggs: Since no one has an egg allergy (currently!), and neither my husband nor I have cholesterol issues, I opted to just keep the eggs as is, and this recipe is marvelous because you just whisk the eggs in with the batter without having to separate the yolks from the whites and whip the whites, which takes so much more time to do. If someone does have to watch cholesterol and opts for using four egg whites instead of the two eggs, I would encourage you to then whip the egg whites and fold them into the rest of the mixed up batter.

8. Additions: Since I was creating a new waffle recipe, I decided it would be nice to try to jazz them up a little bit, so after whisking the batter, I gently folded in one cup of frozen mini wild blueberries. Not only did this make the cooked waffles pretty but it added a very nice taste to them.

Gluten and Dairy Free Waffles

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup gluten free flour blend

1 cup golden ground flax seed

1 tbsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

2 cups “milk” (soy and flax work well)

2 tbsp lemon juice

1/2 cup plant-based oil blend

1 tbsp Agave

2 eggs

1 cup frozen mini wild blueberries

Cooking Instructions:

1. Preheat waffle maker.

2. Whisk together the flour, ground flax seed, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.

3. Whisk the lemon juice into the milk and let it sit for a couple of minutes.

4. Add the oil, agave and eggs to the milk, and whisk well.

5. Gently fold in the blueberries.

6. Put one cup of the batter into the waffle maker and cook according to the waffle maker’s design. (We have two; and for one, the light goes on when it’s done, but the other the light goes off. It always makes for an interesting morning!)

7. When the waffles are done, if you aren’t going to eat them immediately, put them onto a wire cooling rack so they can cool, and then put them into the fridge in a container. To reheat, simply toast them in the toaster on low.

Note: One recipe made 20 waffles for us with a waffle maker that makes four at a time.