Easy gluten-free (or not) apple cinnamon waffles

These waffles. They could nudge me to eating fully gluten-free (although they are just as persuasive made with whole wheat flour). They are fluffy and light yet hearty, with that just-crisp on the outside texture craved in a waffle.  Unsweetened applesauce cuts out the need for any oil (unless you want to add some, they’ll be a tad bit denser); just be on the ready to give your iron a coat of cooking spray in between waffles if needed. A batch is quick to prepare and ample to share. Easy to devour but nicer to linger over.

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These waffles just so happen to combine a couple of my favorite new-ish (ingredient) friends. One, I had the privilege of working on a some recipes for Madhava Natural Sweeteners recently, and got to create with some exciting new flavored honeys. The brown sugar cinnamon…oh my. Breakfast heaven. Include a tablespoon in the batter if you want a little added sweetness, or drizzle on top instead of syrup. Or, simmer with apples for the easiest comforting warm apple topping ever.

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Another thing: is anyone else in love with tapioca flour? The subtle, barely there sweetness, the magical way it thickens and adds chew. Lately, I’ve been repeatedly floored by the way it works with rice flour to simplify gluten-free baking. No fear of losing track of the xanthan gum, potato starch, and other numerous ingredients called for in smallish, differing amounts. With these two accessible flours, you can bake in fairly fail-safe distracted upheaval.

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This is one recipe I’d be hard pressed to choose between gluten-free and whole wheat versions on taste alone. Until recently I’ve appreciated how avoiding gluten is an absolute necessity for friends who need to without feeling compelled to keep it at bay personally. There’s always appeal to experiment with gluten-free alternatives in cooking and baking; I enjoy having a growing reservoir of gluten-free baked goods to share. But as for myself, I haven’t felt as if gluten tolerance was an issue. Only lately, I’ve wondered more often about gluten, wheat, GMOs, soil, air pollution and pesticides… all of these.

It may happen to be trendy, but increasingly people seem to experience varying levels of gluten-intolerance. And increasingly, articles like this intrigue me with information and opinion connecting food sensitivities to our environment–glyphosate contamination, changes to soil and rainwater…and so many things. There’s so much worth questioning, and I can’t pretend to have answers. But I do feel compelled to quickly recount observations connected with these waffles.

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Little Sous Chef loves pancakes. Most days I make him the two-ingredient “pancakes” made with half a banana and an egg. Other days I use a little whole wheat flour, oats, applesauce, a flax egg, some almond milk, baking powder and baking soda. I’ll admit I can be a pushover for his smiles, especially when it comes to giving in on things I’m perfectly comfortable with. So, for a stretch we were eating the latter every day, which amounted to a lot more whole wheat flour than I was used to. It may be unrelated, but I started having some digestive issues that were not serious but notable. And then, I switched to One Degree Organics flours, which are non-GMO, veganic, sprouted, and a million other amazing things (*full disclosure, though I would love to be working on projects for One Degree Organics, I am not! :)). There are so many to explore, both with and without gluten, our pancakes got daily makeovers. I don’t know if there is a connection to reduced gluten, or the superior quality wheat, or a combination of many other things, but once I started using those flours exclusively, the issues went away. Maybe it’s all in my head, but I can’t seem to get the coincidence out of my head.

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Sorry for the massive digression. I guess I couldn’t help myself from “waffling” on. I would love to hear from anyone who has had similar questions or experiences. And happy waffling! 🙂

Apple cinnamon waffles with quick apple compote
Yield: 5 – 6 waffles

For the waffles:

  • 1 1/2 cups rice flour whisked with 1/2 cup tapioca flour OR 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour 
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 ½ cup milk or almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil *optional
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the compote:

  • 4 apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • ¼ cup honey (I used Madhava organic brown sugar cinnamon honey instead of adding cinnamon, below)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  1. Prepare the compote: Place apples, water, and honey in a saucepan over medium heat. Let simmer, stirring occasionally, approximately 10 minutes or until apples are soft. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm while preparing waffles.
  2. Preheat waffle maker on medium-high heat according to manufacturer’s directions. If desired, preheat the oven to 200 degrees F for warming waffles while preparing.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and spices.
  4. Place the applesauce, milk, oil, eggs, honey, and vanilla extract in a blender. Gradually add the flour mixture, blending until just combined. Scrape batter down the sides as needed when pausing to add more flour.
  5. Cook the batter until golden brown and crisp, approximately 3- 5 minutes or according to waffle maker’s instructions.Transfer to a wire rack set on a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while cooking remaining batter. Top with cinnamon apple topping.

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