Recipe Box: Whole Wheat Belgian Waffles (for your toaster, even!)
Do you own or have access to a waffle iron? If you do, that's perfect! This post is pretty much only relevant to you. If you don't, perhaps you should take a long hard look at your life and consider the addition of another kitchen appliance. The joy they bring makes up for the fact that they are bulky and only occasionally used (i.e. neglected). And don't say you can enjoy waffles without a waffle iron. I am not referring to the limp, pale yellow boxed varieties from your grocer's freezer. I'm talking about Belgian waffles, with their crisp, browned exterior and warm, steamy, soft middle. The texture, the crunch, the little reservoirs of syrup filling every pocket! THE BEST!
And ok. It's no shocker that America has turned this European dessert into a sugar-soaked breakfast food, often smothered in some corn syrup abomination disguised as maple. But I promise, there is a way to make waffles healthier, using a batter of whole grain deliciousness, studded with oats and nuts. Just a hint of sweetness is all that's needed to elevate the flavor into perfection: a drop or two of pure vanilla extract, a dash of cinnamon, perhaps a mashed banana whipped into the egg yolks or a tablespoon of honey- if you insist. Once the waffles are pulled off the iron, they can be topped with all sorts of things. In the morning, I've often skipped the refined sugar all together and opted for a a dollop of plain Greek yogurt and fresh strawberries. Or consider a drizzle of honey, maple syrup, peanut butter... a little goes a long way. The flavor of these waffles is so rich and satisfying, they're fine by themselves, especially paired with a good cup of coffee.
Whole Wheat Belgian Waffles
Makes 8 servings
Note: The Belgian method of making waffles incorporates yeast, which produces a lovely crisp crust and soft, moist inside. Although it only takes the batter an hour to rise in a warm, draft-free kitchen, I like to let my batter rest overnight in the fridge to develop a really rich depth of flavor. Fermented, yeasty goodness! Since these waffles are very sturdy and crisp on the outside, they freeze beautifully. I make extra waffles, let them cool, then slide them into freezer bags and store them as homemade toaster waffles. (Take that, Eggo!) When heated up in the toaster, their crispness and flavor is totally revived, and they are a real treat when I need a quick breakfast before rushing off to work.
1.5 tsp active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2.5 cups whole wheat flour
1 tbsp ground flaxseed
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup pecans, chopped (optional)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup cup whole milk
1/4 cup mashed banana
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs, separated
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Optional Toppings: greek yogurt, chopped nuts, fresh fruit, maple syrup, honey, jam, peanut butter, etc.
1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, until the yeast begins to foam. Add milk, banana, butter, egg yolks and vanilla and stir until smooth.
2. In a large bowl, combine flours, flaxseed, oats, cinnamon, and salt. Gently stir the dry ingredients into the yeast mixture.
3. In another bowl (I know what you're thinking. So many bowls!), beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gently fold into the batter. Fold in nuts, if using.
4. Cover the bowl of batter with a clean towel and let rise in a draft-free place for about an hour.
5. Grease and heat your waffle iron. Pour about 1 1/4 cups of waffle batter (amount varies depending on the size of your iron) into the waffle iron. The batter will be very thick, so use the back of a spoon to spread the batter so that it evenly fills the waffle iron. Close the iron and cook for about 6 or 7 minutes until the waffles are golden brown. Usually, when you stop seeing steam escaping from the iron, the waffles are ready.
6. Serve with the toppings of your choice.