My family loves waffles. When I ask my 4.5-year-old daughter what she wants for breakfast, 99% of the time she will say, "chocolate waffles," and it has been that way since she could talk (only three years ago, it was "shaw-kwit faffles"). She means waffles with Nutella on them. Yep. I do that. Every morning. And I'm not sorry. Very lately, she has changed her preference to vegan butter (okay, she doesn't know I put that on them), and maple syrup. Next I hope to interest her in a little fruit to go with them. Baby steps.
My two-year-old chooses waffles about 80% of the time, sometimes branching out to yogurt, and always pinching about three out of five of the berries that I'm eating on MY waffle. Oh yeah - and I eat them three or four days a week, with vegan butter, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries, maple syrup, and veggie sausage. Breakfast is my biggest meal, and I love it. Three or four days, every week. (I eat my fruit on cereal on my work days, because I'm always in a hurry.)
Because these waffles make up about 50% of my daughters' diet for the day, I have always tried to make sure that they have the maximum amount of nutrition jammed into them. Previously, this meant buying the "fancy" waffles with protein and fiber. Then I did the math on that. For the family, this means I have been spending between $450 to $625 a year on boxed waffles. Wow. And you know, I'm not the tops when it comes to ecological worries, but how many boxes is that? I'm spending a lot of money, downing a lot of trees, and I thought the waffles could taste better, too.
I announced to my husband, "I am making all our waffles from now on." He shrugged. He's a lovely man who follows my lead on things like this. I think he was just happy to hear that there would be no more, "No, these are MY waffles, and these are the KIDS' waffles!" Now there would just be waffles.
I looked through the reviews on Amazon (from whence all things come), and I chose the Waring Pro WWM1200SA Double Belgian-Waffle Maker based on the good reviews. It's a double, so I figured I could go factory-style, and crank those mothers out. And while I swear I have not been paid a dime (though I'm happy to change that status, if anyone is paying attention), I am so happy with my choice. I have monkeyed so much with the manufacturer's waffle recipe, and I had to stray pretty far from it not to still get a perfect waffle, every time. It fills the house with cinnamon and vanilla scent, and I still enjoy making them.
The included recipe involves eggs, melted butter, and flour dough that has been risen with yeast. I swapped out some things so that the recipe is vegan, and I'm very happy with the result. I've added chickpea flour for protein, though I once used a bit too much, and it made a thinner batter that stuck to the waffle maker. Adding more all-purpose flour fixed this. Phew. (The chemistry of chickpea flour is a bit different, so it doesn't work quite the same way).
I also included whole wheat flour, applesauce, and wheat bran for fiber. (The whole wheat flour also contains more protein). My recipe includes Splenda, which also contains fiber. I know it isn't the most natural product out there - but I only use a half cup for all these waffles, and it adds a lot of sweetness without a lot of sugar. I also have brown sugar in the recipe, because both the yeast and I find it to be yummy.
My plan all along was to make a giant batch of these, and freeze them, so that we could use them throughout the week. Yes, I know that fresh waffles taste the best - so if you have time to make fresh Belgian waffles every morning, then I'm happy for you. I don't. And these still taste better out of the freezer than the boxed kind do - about eight times better. That's science talking.
I have to mention that I use the Oster TSSTTRWF4S 4-Slice Toaster, because it just might be important to the successful re-heating. This toaster has a "frozen" setting, which is so handy. I toast the waffles once on this setting, then again lightly without it. This way, the outside gets toasted and the inside doesn't stay frozen. If you don't have one of those, you could try nuking them for a few seconds in the microwave, then toasting them. Trust me, it is worth it.
So here's the recipe for the giant batch. It makes about 20-22 thick Belgian waffles that are doughy inside, and crispy outside. If you want to make fewer, just do the math and subdivide. You should keep those fraction skills sharp, anyway.
Giant Batch O' Waffles (makes 20-22 waffles)
1 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup garbanzo (chickpea) flour
1 3/4 cups wheat bran
1/2 cup Splenda
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
5 flax eggs (5 Tblesp. milled flax, mixed with just under a cup of water - combine separately)
4 1/2 cups warm tap water
3 packets of instant yeast
3 sticks vegan butter, melted and cooled
4 1/2 cups soy milk
1 cup apple sauce
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond extract
2 tsp. butter extract (skip if you don't have)
2 Tblesp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
Whisk the flax powder (milled flax) with the water indicated, and stick in the fridge for 5 minutes. Remove, re-whisk, and put back in the fridge for another 10 minutes. This is your "eggs."
Meanwhile, measure HALF the warm water (2 1/4 cups), mix with all the yeast in a BIG bowl, and a pinch of your brown sugar. Whisk, and allow to sit until the yeast forms a thick foam on the top.
Add the sugar, Splenda, and your set flax "eggs" to the yeast mix and combine. Next, add all the liquid ingredients (melted butter through the extracts, and the rest of the water). Mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl with a whisk, then add to the wet mix while whisking. Then allow the whole batch to stand for one hour. You need some space in the bowl, because it rises quite a bit. What I do is pour a lot of it back into the bowl I whisked the dry ingredients in, and allow both bowls to rise under a towel.
Follow the manufacturer's instructions on your waffle maker, and crank those babies out. I freeze mine with a square of parchment paper between them, in stacks of four inside a gallon freezer bag. This way, they pull apart easily as you need them.
These come out reminding me a bit of French Toast, which I like. I have also made a ginger pumpkin version, which came with my waffle maker also, and which recipe I adapted in the same way. They were great, but now I'm pretty much sticking with the standard that everyone likes.