Genies Note: In honor of National Waffle Day I decided to dust off an old post from my food blogger days. It’s a little longer than I write now, but I think you’ll like it. Enjoy!
Waffles: Not Just for Breakfast Anymore
Please take a moment to consider the waffle, that lowly dimpled bread often relegated to the breakfast table smothered in syrup. Does the waffle perhaps have a higher calling? Could the waffle be on its way to becoming the new flat bread?
I have to admit I never have been a big fan of bread with the one exception of my mom’s homemade rolls at the holidays. I put away more than my share of those over the years. Pancakes and waffles never were one of my favorites so I didn’t work very hard at finding a replacement when we began the gluten-free life. Every once in a while I would get out the waffle iron and make waffles for Bob. The traditional syrups and other sweet waffle toppings throw off my blood sugar and get my whole day off to a bad start and I hadn’t thought of other things that could be done with a waffle.
But then one day I got a hankerin’ for Sloppy Joes. My mom’s barbecue hamburger recipe makes the best Sloppy Joes and I hadn’t had one in the first four years of being gluten-free. I even made sloppy Joes when we were vegetarians using soy protein, but I really don’t care for the big mouthful of bread that comes along with a bun. While I was trying to figure out what to do Bob suggested waffles. Okay, when he first said it I thought it was the craziest think I had ever heard. I was thinking more along the lines of putting the meat in a casserole dish and going for a biscuit or cornbread topping of some sort.
After I stopped laughing I realized he might just have something there. So I made the Sloppy Joe meat and I also made a batch of waffles. And it worked. They were delicious. We could even pick them up and eat them like open face sandwiches. I have a Belgian waffle maker and the large deep indentations are perfect for holding loose meat, sauce or gravy types of toppings.
Then I got to thinking about some of the other ways waffles could be used as a flat bread. Waffles and gravy (instead of biscuits), pizza, tacos (perhaps on a cornmeal waffle?), peanut butter and jelly, ice cream sundaes (instead of a waffle cone you have a waffle raft), chicken salad or tuna salad, even a green salad or a thick beef stew (think edible plate) can all be served on a waffle. I’m sure if you put your mind to it you could come up with a really great idea of your own.
Of course you can buy gluten-free toaster waffles, but I prefer to just make a few extra and keep them in the freezer. That way you have a waffle square waiting for you if you want a peanut butter sandwich or an individual pizza for a quick snack. I don’t have a toaster, but they warm up nicely from frozen in a skillet sprayed with pan spray over a low heat or in a warm oven.
Don’t forget you can also do all kinds of nifty things with the waffle itself. You can add cheese, herbs or spices, nuts, fruit, finely chopped meat, chocolate, even pumpkin to the batter.
Whenever I make desserts or bread I like to make sure I am using a flour or blend with good nutritional values including flours like buckwheat, sorghum, teff, quinoa or amaranth. You can use your favorite flour, four blend or even gluten-free pancake and waffle mix.
I use my regular old waffle recipe I used in my before gluten-free days with a few changes to make them gluten-free. Waffles are very forgiving and easy to make substitutions in ingredients but you might not need as much liquid as your regular recipe calls for. I like to add the liquid last, a little at a time. The batter needs to be fairly thick so it doesn’t just run out of the waffle maker. After you make enough waffles you will learn to judge when the batter is just right. I let my batter sit for a minute and if it gets too stiff then I might add a bit more liquid before I start adding it to the waffle iron.
So how do you take the waffle beyond breakfast? Please share your ideas.