Chocolate Waffles with Strawberries
Who said waffles have to be breakfast?
I’ve seen savory waffles – waffles with chicken and gravy is a classic. They can be used instead of patty shells. Waffle sandwiches are lots of fun! And many of my older cookbooks have waffles served as dessert. These chocolate waffles, with fruit and whipped cream, are a lovely dessert, or – full circle – a fun brunch. My family has a tradition of strawberries for Easter, and I enjoy finding different ways to serve them – and chocolate sets them off so beautifully!
Now these are chocolate waffles for the lover of very dark bitter chocolate… I don’t add sugar, just fruit, so you have to like the real deep chocolate flavor, and you probably don’t want to eat them alone… but with sweet fruit and rich cream, the flavors balance beautifully. If you, or others at your table, want a sweeter flavor, I would suggest keeping the waffles as they are but sweetening part of the fruit or cream – I learned long ago that this was a good way to make a dessert I could eat and my guests liked. Rich, who does eat sugar, likes these, but he always did prefer the 85% cocoa chocolate… He commented, when I was making them, that they smelled like brownies, and they did, but they do not taste like brownies – not rich enough.
One of the tricky parts of working with gluten free flour is that even when you don’t need the structure gluten provides in bread and such, you may need the batter to hold together, and some gluten free flours just don’t. First time I ever made gluten free biscuits, with a recipe a friend had recommended, the texture was terrible – crumbly and sandy. I learned… this is one of the reasons many recipes use a high percentage of refined starch, but I prefer to avoid it – partly for reasons of health and nutrition, but also because it gives us the mushy blah texture people often complain about in gluten free baking. (Mind you, some people like soft squishy bread and pastry – and that’s fine – but I never did.)
I have learned, though, that some flour does have a viscosity that solves the problem. Masa harina is cornmeal specifically treated in a traditional way to provide that, and so I use it in many recipes… it has a mild flavor and is both readily available and inexpensive here, so it works well for me. But I need other options. Teff works, and actually I want to try that with chocolate, I hear it’s a fabulous combination, but I didn’t happen to have any on hand. (For me, at least, one trick to varying my flours is to rotate them – I do not have every possible kind in my pantry all the time. I don’t bake that much…)
Buckwheat has this texture also. When I think of buckwheat, the assertive toasted grain always comes to mind first, but raw buckwheat is mild… and I’d been surprised a while ago to open a bag from a new (to me) supplier and find the mild creamy looking flour. If you can’t get that, you can get whole raw groats sold as cereal and grind them yourself in a coffee grinder – I’ve seen several gluten free bakers suggest that. It’s worth it – it did just what I needed, in terms of texture, with a nice light flavor.
Weigh the flour, as that really does work best with the variety of flours. I chose to mix buckwheat flour with my standard millet flour. It is a whole grain, but its ratio of starch/fiber/protein – and its taste – aren’t far off that of white AP flour, and I find it a good base flour for baking.
Mix the two flours with unsweetened cocoa powder, and stir in baking powder and salt. I like to use a whisk to stir them all together – I find that simply turning it helps bring flour up from the bottom of the bowl, and mixes dry ingredients well. Then put that aside.
Even liking the bitter chocolate, you may want a little sweetness to balance it in the waffle itself – so take a ripe banana and mash it. Then beat it well with eggs, milk, a little neutral flavored oil, and vanilla. Beat them thoroughly, then add the dry ingredients a little at a time, and beat until completely combined. Then set aside to rest for half an hour. This lets the flour hydrate, and greatly improves the texture of the finished product. And if it makes more sense for you, as it well may, make the batter, cover and refrigerate it until you are ready… Sitting in the fridge for a few hours won’t hurt it. You can also, of course, make the waffles ahead, then heat them in oven or toaster to serve.
While the batter rests, wash, trim, and cut up your strawberries. Other than Easter, I usually wait until I can get local strawberries, because they are fully ripe – unfortunately what we could find in the local stores this week, for an early Easter, were definitely not… I will repeat this recipe in June, with luscious ripe berries! And if you do want to add sugar anyplace in the recipe, this is the place. Just a teaspoonful will draw juice out of the fruit, making them juicier as well as sweeter. (I sometimes do that for guests, after reserving my own.) Also, whip cream. I add a little vanilla, and a little almond extract. You don’t specifically taste the almond, but there is a slightly more complex and sophisticated flavor.
Then make waffles, following the directions on your waffle iron. Unfortunately they vary so much that I can’t really be more specific. This recipe made me a dozen waffles.
Serve the waffles with a spoonful of berries, and a dollop of whipped cream – and enjoy!
Chocolate Waffles with Strawberries
- 140 g raw buckwheat flour
- 140 g millet flour
- 70 g unsweetened cocoa powder
- 4 t baking powder
- 1/2 t salt
- 1 ripe banana
- 3 eggs
- 1 1/2 c milk
- 2 T neutral oil
- 1 1/2 t vanilla divided
- 1 quart strawberries
- 1 pint heavy cream
- 1/2 t almond extract
- Combine millet and buckwheat flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Mix well and set aside.
- Mash banana thoroughly. Beat in eggs, milk, oil, and 1 t vanilla
- Beat dry ingredients into wet ingredient mixture until well blended. Set aside to rest half an hour.
- Wash, hull, trim, and cut up berries, and set aside in refrigerator.
- Blend remaining 1/2 t vanilla and almond extract into cream, whip. Refrigerate.
- Use batter to make waffles according to instructions for your waffle iron.
- When ready to serve, arrange berries on waffles, and add a dollop of cream - or pass bowls of each for people to serve themselves.