Saturday, January 17, 2015

Whole Wheat Waffles

I feel like I've been chasing waffles all my life. Well, not ALL my life, but certainly an unhealthy portion of my adult one. For no other reason, really, than that they have been so stupidly elusive. I loved waffles when I was a kid and my mom would make them. Every once in a while, we would have waffles for dinner. She would make a great big batch and the table would be covered with toppings--warmed-up frozen berries and strawberries, Cool Whip, and peanut butter, alongside the usual butter and syrup. As an adult, though, in spite of having gone through no fewer than... 3? 4? waffle irons, I never found one that did the trick. Some would work fairly well initially, only to prove harder and harder to clean. The waffles would release from the iron only if I was careful to apply oil between batches, and the accumulating oil gunked up the waffle maker until not only did I not want to make waffles but I didn't even want to touch the thing.

Then, just about one month ago, C's mom asked for a specific waffle maker for her birthday, so we got it for her. We gave it to her while we were visiting just after Christmas and made the first batch of waffles on it a few days later. My in-laws were very sweet about suffering the vegan waffles, and I took a huge risk by trying a new recipe. I mean, to be fair, pretty much all the recipes are new recipes (because of the legacy of failure just described). I made this recipe. To my delight, the waffles were a hit. Crisp on the outside and moist on the inside, dense and wholesome, if more than a little heavy. Even C and I could only power through one a piece, and we can routinely eat our omni friends under the table. We had such a good experience, though, that we purchased our very own of the same iron after returning home. I repeated the experience with the same recipe and the waffles were again delicious and released easily from the pan, so no flukes so far.

Of course, I continued to click on vegan waffle recipes, though, and I found a new recipe I wanted to try. So on a Saturday afternoon, following a quick trip downtown for a haircut (for C) and a library visit (for me), I whipped up a batch for lunch. We were delighted with the results. These waffles are much lighter than the first recipe, even fluffy! The recipe creator warns against using all whole wheat if you are unaccustomed to that sort of thing, but either that was not a problem at all or my palate has shifted so much that I am not to be trusted. I made a few adjustments to the original, so I'll give you the link and detail the recipe as I made it. If you are on the hunt for a healthy vegan waffle recipe, you can stop looking. Unless you are obsessed with waffles, like I am, in which case you will never stop looking.

Healthy Vegan Whole Wheat Waffles

(Slightly adapted and modified from the brilliant Vegan Family Recipes blog.)

2 1/2 C whole wheat pastry flour
2 T baking powder
2 T unrefined cane sugar
1/2 - 1 t salt
1 1/2 C unsweetened almond milk
1 C water (warm!)
1/3 C melted unrefined coconut oil
2 T ground flax seed
2 T chia seeds
6 T cold water

In a small bowl, combine flax and chia with 6 T of cold or room-temperature water. Stir a few times to combine well and then let sit for a few minutes while you measure everything else.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. By this time, your flax and chia mixture should be pretty gelled. Add the melted coconut oil. In a separate bowl, combine milk and warm water, then add the milk mixture to the coconut oil and chia/flax. The point of all these shenanigans with the different bowls is to avoid dumping cold milk into melted coconut oil. Coconut oil wants to be solid, so keeping your wet ingredients on the warm side should prevent any unpleasantness with chunks of solid coconut oil floating in your otherwise lovely batter.

Mix the wet into the dry just until combined and set the batter aside to rest for 10 minutes. Toward the end of that 10 minutes, plug in your waffle iron. Make waffles! I don't have to tell you how to do that part, right? The above measurements made 5 crisp and fluffy waffles for me.