Today is the day my friends. The day I’m finally sharing my recipe for the fluffiest, most delicious grain-free, dairy-free, sweetener-free, gluten-free, paleo-friendly waffles you’ll ever eat. Seriously, like EVER.
Yes.But I’ve done extensive taste testing research and I’m confident with my claim. It’s not easy to eat dozens of “failed” waffles, but I’m always willing to do whatever it takes to bring you guys the very best in healthy and allergen-friendly recipes. OK. Maybe it’s wasn’t that hard to eat the waffles that failed to meet my expectations because even less-than-perfect waffles still taste prettttttty good.
BRING ON THE SKEPTICS
So, I developed this waffle recipe more than a year ago and since then, I’ve asked some serious waffle connoisseurs to weigh in on the flavor, consistency, and waffleness (it’s a word).
Probably one of the most skeptical people I asked was my dad. Without throwing him under the bus, I’ll just say that his diet doesn’t always make his dietitian daughter proud. It’s not a horrible diet but he has his indiscretions like most people.
To wit: Last year when I was visiting my parents in South Carolina, he purposely stopped at a Wendy’s for lunch and posed for a photo with me, wherein he is proudly holding up his bag with a burger and fries. I mean obviously the photo op was my idea (#diditfortheinstagram) but the fast food was all him.
He also refers to Ezekiel bread (and any and all sprouted grain products) as “dirt bread,” despite never having tried it himself because he refuses to aka because #stubborn.
Soooooo when I tell you that this man LOVED the waffles, that’s saying something.
But honestly, you don’t have to take his word for it, or even mine for that matter. I am willing to bet that you can see it in these photos that these waffles are the real deal.
THERE’S ALWAYS A SILVER LINING
I created these waffles during a time when I had given up all sources of sugar—refined and natural, including all fruits—grains, breads, and legumes in an effort to heal my gut after taking a few rounds of antibiotics. I also had a serious sugar addiction, which was likely exacerbating my health issues (leaky gut, fatigue, hypoglycemia after meals, irritability, nutrient deficiencies). For anyone who has tried (or is currently trying) to quit sugar or heal their digestion and metabolism, you know it’s not easy.
Still, I was determined to break up with sugar for food and stick to my gut reset diet so I had to find a way to make the best of it. And by make the best of it, I mean find a way to live without toast—formerly my breakfast of choice. After lots of research and many failed kitchen experiments, these waffles are what saved me from going crazy.
And in my experimenting, I discovered the secret to making the perfect grain-free waffle.
THE SECRET TO SUPER FLUFFY WAFFLES: JUST BEAT IT
While it adds another step to the process, taking the time to separate and beat the egg whites to stiff peaks is essential for getting fluffy, voluminous waffles, especially when you’re using almond flour. Whenever you use almond flour in a baked recipe, you can expect it to be a bit heavier in texture, but when you incorporate egg whites beaten to stiff peaks, you add back in a bunch of lightness.
And light and fluffy is what perfect waffles are all about.
The first time I ever experimented with how beating egg whites to different stiffness levels could impact a baking recipe was in my nutrition food science class at Berkeley. It was a course that I didn’t do exceptionally well in (I may or may not have set a stovetop on fire while attempting to make marshmallows from scratch for a final project) BUT I did learn about maximizing the potential of the humble egg white — hashtag still winning.
HOLD THE SUGAR
The other part about this recipe that will really blow your mind is that it’s 100-percent sugar free—even sweetener free.
There isn’t one drop of honey, maple syrup, or stevia in ‘em.
And you’ll still find them slightly sweet thanks to ingredients like almond flour and cashew butter, which are naturally kind of sweet. Of course, if you want to add sweetener to the recipe itself, I won’t stop you. Technically I can’t stop you so there’s that, too.
That said, I’d encourage you to try it sans sweetener first because you might be surprised by their delicious simplicity and subtlety. PLUS, now that you know there’s no added sugar in the actual recipe, it opens up a world of opportunity for toppings…
A few topping suggestions:
Coconut whipped cream
Seasonal fruit—sautéed cinnamon apples (as shown), pom seeds, persimmon, pear,
Organic grass-fed ghee
Stevia-sweetened chocolate chips or vegan carob chips
Whole fat yogurt (if you tolerate dairy)
But let’s not forget that you can also take these waffles quarter and use them to create the perfect breakfast sandwich.
The subtle sweetness makes them great in both sweet and savory meals. And savory is probably my favorite way to eat them—specifically with a few scrambled eggs, slices of turkey bacon, and chives.
// RECIPE //
THE BEST GRAIN-FREE, CASHEW BUTTER WAFFLES EVER (paleo + dairy free + sugar free + gluten free)
This deliciously simple, classic waffle recipe uses blanched almond flour instead of refined grains and beaten egg whites to produce a fluffy and light waffle with no added sweetener. It is appropriate for anyone following and AIP diet or trying to reduce the amount of simple, refined carbohydrates and sugar in their diet. It will not disappoint!
Yield: 5-6 waffles | Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 20 minutes | Special Equipment: waffle iron; stand or handheld mixer (or a whisk and a lot of determination!)
1 1/2 cups blanched almond flour* (tightly packed)
1/4 cup cashew butter (I like this one)
1 tsp baking soda
3 eggs, yolks and white separated
3/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
1/2 cup almond milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
Dash sea salt
- Combine almond flour, baking soda, and sea salt in a mixing bowl and set aside. If your almond flour is especially clumpy, you can sift it to make it extra fine, although I rarely do this and usually try to break it up as best I can with the whisk. #lazy
- In another bowl, combine egg yolks, coconut milk, and vanilla extract. Whisk to incorporate yolks with coconut milk and add to bowl with dry ingredients.
- Use the whisk to mix wet and dry ingredients together. The batter will be crazy thick, but it’s A-OK!
- Next, add the cashew butter and about half of the almond milk. Whisk to incorporate.
- Using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form (i.e. until they are super fluffy and firm).*
- Gently fold egg whites into the batter. They will inevitably deflate quite a bit as you fold them in, but try to retain as much volume as you can during this process.
- At this point, you’ll want to assess the batter for proper consistency and adjust as needed (See extensive notes below!).***
- Once you’ve got the consistency figured out, it’s time to start waffling! Heat waffle iron to medium high and brush top and bottom panels with coconut oil or spray with a non-stick coconut oil.
- Scoop 1/3–1/2 cup of batter per waffle, distributing it with the back of the measuring cup to help it spread evenly. Cook until the indicator light turns green and carefully remove waffle using a wooden spoon.
- Allow waffles to cool on a wire rack so they don’t get soggy.
- Repeat process until all the batter is gone.
- Waffles can be enjoyed room temperature or reheat them in toaster. Store waffles in the fridge or freezer using a food safe container with a sheet of wax paper between each waffle.
For the Apple Cinnamon Topping
3 small organic green apples, diced (about 2 cups) … Could also use whatever seasonal apple you prefer!
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp cinnamon
Dash sea salt
- Add all ingredients to a pan and sauté apples on medium heat until soft, about 10 minutes. About halfway through the cooking process add a few tablespoons of water to help coat the pan.
*As I’ve mentioned in my other grain-free baked good recipes, I only use Honeyville Blanched Almond Flour. It truly is superior when it comes to baking with almond flour. I have tried making these waffles with almond meal (both Bob’s Redmill brand and Trader Joe’s brand) and they both turned out very, well, mealy! To get a super smooth and palatable waffle, you gotta invest in the good stuff! I typically buy the 5-pound bag for the best value and store it in my freezer. I promise it’s worth the price and it lasts quite a while. Just do it and then you can also make this cake!
**Need help knowing what “stiff peaks” look like? Let me introduce you to my favorite resource, YouTube!
***You want the batter to be relatively thick but still spreadable (i.e. thicker than pancake batter but not as thick as muffin batter). See the photo above for an example of the thickness. Ultimately, the best way to know is to try making a waffle and seeing how it turns out.
You’re looking for a consistency that spreads to the edges of the waffle iron without oozing out the sides too much (or at all actually) when cooking. I’ve used batter that was way too thin on multiple occasions and it creates a huge mess on the counter not too mention waffles that are flimsy and airy. Did I still eat them? Yes. Yes I did. But let’s stay focused on best practices here.
Ideally, the batter will rise in the iron (gently pushing the top up as it cooks) and remain contained within it until it has finished cooking. You’ll know you got it right when you have a nice, dense, thick waffle.
If the batter is too thick, it won’t reach all the way to the edges to fill out the waffle iron and you’ll end up with 3/4 of a waffle. Sad but not totally tragic.
Moral of the story is, waffles are waffles are waffles. You win every time.
One more thing!
A special shout out and thank you to my friend Jillian Schimmel of Lafayette Avenue Ceramics for the GORGEOUS handmade mixing bowls you see in this post. When Jillian contacted me over the summer, I was instantly smitten by both her craftsmanship and philosophy, which embodies many of the same principles we here at Honestly Nourished try to live by.
For example, Jillian finds inspiration in connecting with loved ones around a meal; consuming wholesome food that nourishes body and soul (all the heart eyes); and using sustainable practices. Each piece is handmade in her Phoenix-based studio. Read more about Jillian’s work here. And definitely don’t forget to check out the gorgeous 2015 holiday collection featuring stunning votives that would be the perfect addition to any fall tablescape (nudge, nudge).
Speaking of tablescapes, I have an exciting Honestly Inspired interview coming your way soon—you’re going to love it and find it really helpful for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.
Thanks for stopping by and see you back here on Friday!
What’s your favorite way to eat waffles? Sweet? Savory? Are you a whipped cream or syrup kind of person?