March 2, 2014

Gluten-free Belgian Waffles

I love waffles... I mean really LOVE waffles.  That crispy crusty exterior... That light, fluffy, slightly chewy interior... Buttermilk, blueberry, butter pecan... With butter, plain and dry, drenched in syrup.  Doesn't matter, I love them all, particularly deep-welled Belgian Waffles.  I used to delight in going to hotels with a breakfast bar and the magical flippy waffle iron - I'd make myself one of those bad boys every morning and savor the chew and crisp of this breakfast staple.

Two years ago, I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, and my days of relishing in Belgian waffles came to a screeching halt.  I was forced to eat frozen waffles.  I don't mind frozen waffles... but I certainly don't love them, either.  I was more than a little annoyed.  But I persevered, I ate my frozen gluten-free waffles,  I used them for creative cooking methods  (check out my dressing recipe), I dutifully toasted them and tried to enjoy them.  But I was missing my Belgian waffles.

I received some Amazon gift cards for Christmas this past year, and I couldn't think of anything I really desperately wanted to spend them for... I thought I might save them up for a big purchase, then I thought that I might just use them for some GF essentials from the Amazon grocery market (a great place to shop, by the way!)

Then I remembered my love of deep-welled waffles, and I decided to treat myself to a waffle iron.  I used to have one that was a clamshell-style, and I never liked it because the batter wouldn't spread correctly.  I wanted one of those flippy hotel-style wafflers, but I certainly didn't want to spend a ton of cash for one.  I managed to find this Oster brand Belgian waffle maker for under $30, and it does the job just great!  It heats quickly and evenly,  it browns the waffles really well, it is non-stick (although I give it a light spray of canola oil before each waffle, just to be safe).

I tinkered with a waffle recipe that I found in an old cookbook, and here's the final result - a perfectly fluffy, chewy, crispy waffle, and enough to feed your family on a cold winter morning, or (in my case) to make ahead and freeze for ease of prep later.  This makes 5-6 large round Belgian waffles.

What you'll need: 

4 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour (I use Better Batter brand AP flour - my favorite for GF cooking!)
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

4 egg yolks
1.5 cups buttermilk (or soured whole milk - add 2 tablespoons vinegar to 1.5 cups milk and let sit 3 minutes)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup turbinado or raw cane sugar - the larger the granule, the better!


Preheat your waffle iron per the manufacturer's instructions.

Whip the egg whites and cream of tartar to soft peaks;  add the sugar and continue to whip until you reach stiff peaks.  Set aside. 

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. set aside.

Beat the egg yolks, buttermilk, and vanilla together and dump into the flour mixture.  stir just until combined  - a few lumps are OK!   Add about 1/4 of the whipped egg whites, beat into the batter to lighten a bit.  add the remaining egg whites in two batches - fold in to the batter to combine without losing too much volume.  Once the batter is completed, stir in the turbinado sugar.  This is an optional ingredient, but it really helps the waffles get a crispy browned crust, so I definitely recommend it! 

Prepare your pre-heated waffle iron by lightly spritzing with some canola oil.  add about 3/4-1 cup of batter (this will be trial and error - depends on the volume of your waffler) and close the lid;  cook to a golden-browned finish.  If you're saving the waffles for later, I recommend removing them directly to a cooling rack to avoid any moisture build-up.  Once cooled, wrap each waffle in waxed paper or plastic wrap and place in a zip-top freezer bag.  Freeze for up to 6 weeks.  

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