Saturday, January 21, 2006

Belgian Waffles

L. shot me a look as surprised as if I had said I wanted to buy a Soap Genie Automatic Soap and Lotion Dispenser with no-drip technology and a musical chime. But I had made up my mind. I was going to get one. A shiny new Belgian waffle maker.

Maybe L. associated waffles with 24 hour restaurants and formica tables sticky with blueberry syrup and pale wafers featuring an ice cream sized scoop of melting butter (margarine?). The kind of places you go to when you are thinking how good a waffle might be and then always end up ordering a spinach omelette instead. Or maybe it was the memory of fellow 4th of July celebrants struggling to get their mouths around fat sugary waffles topped with a few unripe strawberries and a mound of whipped cream from a can.

But I was thinking light and crispy. And wholesome. And how wonderful it would be to eat a hot and crispy waffle right out of the iron. I made my first batch as soon as I got my waffle iron home. It was good, but I was mildly dismayed to discover that waffles are not really a health food - as full of butter and eggs and sugar and white flour as any self-respecting cake.

And so it was that waffles helped me down the liberal path in the kitchen. I was the type of person as unlikely to alter a recipe as a conservative the constitution. But the waffles were so easy and fast to make that I made them often and and saw my way to take the first timid steps to messing with a recipe. A whole wheat flour here, a little less sugar there. And then I was substituting and evaluating like America's Test Kitchen.

So people, we have some good ingredients going here. Whole wheat flour. Buckwheat which tastes great and is good for your heart. Rice milk which makes the waffles beautifully crisp - you can use regular milk or skim milk or anything in between - the thinner the milk, the more crisp your waffles will be. And then I use safflower oil rather than butter. (You can use canola oil, but I just don't like anything really named rapeseed.) This is our favorite waffle.

Really Light and Airy and Crispy and Wholesome Belgian Waffles
2 eggs, separated
1 3/4 cups rice milk ( or other milk)
3/4 cup whole wheat flour ( I prefer the coarse milled flour)
1 cup whole buckwheat flour
1 Tblsp unrefined sugar
1/4 cup safflower oil (or canola)
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 rounded teaspoon Kosher salt

Beat the egg yolks, stir in the milk and oil. Add flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir just until large lumps disappear. Using the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gently fold into the batter. Pour into your waffle iron and bake.

I like to top them with blueberries and maple syrup. L. loves them with pears or bananas. Let me know how you like them.


Anonymous Tania said...

I found your yummy waffle photo on DMBGLIT and had to follow it to your blog. I like the way you played with your original recipe to create something healthy, wholesome, and delicious. Problem is, now I want a Belgian waffle maker, too!!

11:20 AM  
Blogger Heidi said...

Hi Tania - I thought about it a long time before I got one, but now I use it frequently. It's difficult to make waffles without one, that's for sure!

12:46 AM  
Blogger ns said...

The waffles were just as delectable as your writing. I enjoyed every word. After taking a bite (of the waffle), I could barely believe there wasn't a drop of butter (I have been butterphobic for 16 years now). They tasted scrumptious, even if I used whole wheat flour and 1% milk. The delicate crisp set it high and above all other waffles I've made. You have yourself a stupendous discovery.

9:04 AM  

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