In my previous post, I wrote about my family's (temporary) grain-free and dairy-free diet. Since then, we had our follow up visit with the naturopath and received an 'okay' to consume rice, oats and quinoa in small amounts. I won't pretend to understand naturopathy at all. I don't. As a fairly science-based household (my husband is an intellectual property lawyer with a specialty in biotechnology and medical devices, while I worked nearly a decade at a global pharmaceutical company in a Finance capacity), this venture into alternative medicine is a giant leap of faith. A leap we had no choice but to take since traditional medicine failed to help my daughter beyond full-body topical steroid cream applications to treat her eczema and absolutely nada to diagnose or treat her mild but persistent, daily stomach aches.
Despite our skepticism, Aubrie has not complained of a single tummy ache since the start of the diet (versus near-daily complaints) and her eczema flare-ups have waned with little-to-no steroid cream. So, I am allowing myself to be cautiously encouraged. Husband remains stubbornly skeptical! Either way, we continue to trod in the same trajectory, to see it through.
With this diet, the most difficult meal is breakfast. Little children are not fond of eating leftover dinner as breakfast. Little children will rather starve than eat roast chicken or salad for breakfast. Little children like cream cheese + jam toasts, yogurt + granola, fluffy pancakes, muffins and french toast with maple syrup. Smoothies are fantastic as long as it's not every single morning. Eggs are a favorite too, once or twice a week. As you can imagine, we've been having A LOT of smoothies and eggs lately. I made two types of paleo muffins which my daughter liked, thankfully. But still, I was getting desperate.
Enter this grain-free waffle. It was a true savior for us! It is utterly delicious. And I don't mean considering it is grain-free and dairy-free. I mean it is utterly delicious. Period. I use a European style heart-shaped waffle maker which makes fairly thin waffles. It comes out fragrant and crunchy. We've had it simply with pure maple syrup + fruit, we've had it as the 'toast' for avocado toast and for egg on toast as well. I'm grateful to the friend who introduced me to this recipe from the paleo cookbook Against All Grains. Such a great discovery!
As-is, the waffles totally blew me away. But as I do, I tinkered with the recipe a bit and made two changes that I am very happy with.
One, I soaked the cashews overnight. I've mentioned here the benefits of soaking nuts before. In short, soaking nuts in water (plus a pinch of salt) 'activates' them so they are easier to digest which in turn, means the body can better absorb all the nutrients and vitamins they have to offer. You can geek out a bit more on the subject here. I also like the practicality of soaking nuts which softens them to make them easier to blend into silky smoothness for the batter, especially if you don't own a high-speed blender.
Two, I prefer to use ghee(butter fat rendered and separated from the milk solids) instead of coconut oil in the recipe. Since there is already coconut milk and coconut flour in the batter, I much prefer the taste of clarified butter to add an additional dimension, rather than furthering the coconut flavor. Both clarified butter and coconut oil are paleo, however some people with high sensitivity to dairy may not tolerate even clarified butter (which may still have small traces of milk solids remaining, especially if made at home). For those folks, only coconut oil will do. For everyone else not on paleo diet or don't have dairy issues, using straight forward melted butter would be phenomenal too.
By the way, I always make a double batch of these waffles to keep in the freezer. Just sayin' that you may want to too.
- These waffles can most definitely be made ahead in the waffle maker. cooled then frozen in ziptop bags. To reheat for a quickie breakfast, I simply toast it in my toaster oven for 3-4 minutes. It comes out crunchy and fresh.
- For quick fresh waffles in the morning, I sometimes make the batter at night and keep it refrigerated until ready to use in the morning. The cold will make the batter thick. If you want to pour it directly into the waffle maker, you can gently warm it in the microwave for a minute or so. To skip that step, you can also scoop it in with a ladle. I haven't noticed any difference in length of time required to cook in my waffle iron even though the batter is cold.
Recipe serves 4. Adapted from Blueberry Waffles recipe from Against All Grains cookbook.
1 C raw cashews, soaked 2-4 hours or overnight if more convenient (soaking is optional but recommended)
1/2 C coconut milk (or other non-dairy milk -- note you may need to adjust liquid depending on thickness)
3 tbsp melted ghee or coconut oil (or melted butter if dairy intolerance is not an issue)
2 tbsp pure maple syrup of honey
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 tbsp coconut flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1. Soak the cashews. [Note: this recipe will still work perfectly without soaking but I do recommend it for reasons stated in the headnotes]. Do this either the night before, or 2-4 hours in advance depending on which is more convenient, place the cashews in a container and add about double the volume of water (filtered water if you have it, otherwise tap water will do) plus about 1/4 tsp of salt. Cover loosely and leave to soak at room temperature. Before using, drain cashews in a colander and rinse with fresh tap water. You'll notice the cashews absorbed some of the water and swell to around 1.5x the original amount.
2. Preheat your waffle maker in accordance to manufacturer's instructions. For mine, max heat works best for these waffles.
3. Place all the ingredients in a blender in the order they are listed. Blend until very smooth and no lumps remain. You may need to add additional liquid at this point. Not all coconut milk are the same thickness, nor are all almond milks or other milks for that matter. And there is even more variability in homemade versus commercial store-bought milks. Use your judgement. For me, I add about 5 tablespoons of additional coconut milk to achieve a still-thick but pour-able consistency.
4. Pour enough of the batter into the waffle maker to fully fill the cavity once closed (your waffle maker instructions should advise how much that is - for my thin waffles it takes about 3/4 cup). Before closing the lid, you may want to spread the batter towards the edges using a spatula or back of a spoon. Close lid and cook until golden (for mine, this takes ~ 4 minutes). Enjoy with some pure maple syrup, yogurt or kefir (pictured) and fresh fruit. You can even use them as grain-free 'toast' as we do at my house! SO good.
Some images updated Feb 2017.