Sunday, August 26, 2012

Vegan Waffles: Easier said than done

After a year of debating and deciding and hesitating and changing our minds, Husband and I have finally decided that we are going to do our first home improvement on our vintage, as-is 1969 home.  It came to a head when I noticed that one of the sinks wasn't working properly so I took a wrench to it and discovered some rusty bits of crud blocking the filter which allows the water to come through.  We have known that it needed to be done, but those of you who have ever taken on home improvement know this - once you start, you cannot stop.  Beginning this process is like opening of floodgate of things we are going to have to fix.  New pipes.  New kitchen.  New bathrooms.  New carpeting.  Removing popcorn from ceiling.  Repainting interior and exterior. New windows.  New. New. New.  Replace. Replace.  Fix. Fix. Fix.  We were both reluctant to start the process, but start it we have, because of our urgency to get new pipes.  (The water pressure in this house is so poor, you would not believe.)

This evening I began the process of looking for the RIGHT plumber to do the job.  Unfortunately, due to the internet, a simple "find a plumber in the yellow pages" has turned into "Scour every single name on yelp and on Angie's list until you go blind."  After 2 hours of trying to find someone, I gave up.  I can't do it.  The process overwhelms me and gives me the willies.  Too many choices, too many reviews, too many things to consider.  I've been asking friends for recommendations and now, I'm through.  I'm not sure I have it in me to attack any level or any bit of this home renovation/fix-up/repair process because I can't stand the thought of choosing the wrong person or getting a bad deal (this second part is really Husband.)

Easier said than done.  I've been waiting for the green light from Husband for a year, and now that I have it, I can't execute.  I can't act.  I can't take charge.  My head hurts from scrolling down all these different reviews, and I still don't have a SINGLE name I'm interested in seeing for an estimate.  Easier said than done.

About 2 years ago, once Son became more cognizant about what our food was compared to what HIS food was, I put away the waffle iron.  I tried a couple of times to create a waffle that he would be able to eat, but failed a miserable several times.  Therefore, I tucked my favorite waffle iron way back in the pantry.  And left it there.  It was in Son's search for a missing lego piece last week (in our pantry - don't ask) that he discovered the iron and asked, "What is this mom?"

"It's a waffle iron honey."

"Waffles?  What's that?"

"Kind of like a pancake.  You get to dip it in syrup."

"I want a waffle.  Can you make me a waffle mom?"

I looked at him and thought, yeah right.  Easier said than done.  After all, I had TRIED it already several times and they didn't come out right.  But he looked so excited about the waffle, I thought to myself, I could TRY again.  After all, my vegan pancakes are really good, so how much harder could creating a better waffle be?

I made them both on Saturday and Sunday.  I experimented with using some whole wheat flour mixed in with the white flour (wasn't thrilled with the whole wheat) and came up with this version. Children have asked for them for breakfast AGAIN tomorrow, so they'll be making an appearance for the THIRD day. This ended up being easier DONE than said. (Try saying "Vegan Waffle" 10 times really fast.  Wegan Vaffle comes out at some point.)

Just so you know - if you make the other waffles on my blog (here), these are different.  Eggs add a bit of tender chewiness that is missing in the vegan version.  I tried to combat it unsuccessfully with bananas the last time I tried, and this time, I went with the vegan pancake method of simply leaving out any sort of egg substitute.  This is also a method I've used with vegan cupcakes, so it seemed as if it would make sense.  These have a crispier, almost cracker like quality, with a bit of moist fluffiness in the middle.  I've also shredded ham and sprinkled it on top of the waffle right before pressing down the top (which eliminates the vegan factor I know) and it was a bit of salty tender chewiness on top of crispy crunchy waffle dipped in gooey sweet maple syrup.  If you're curious about that one, I'll try to post more details (with photos) later.
Vegan Waffles
Makes 4 to 6 waffles, depending on your iron

Ingredients
3 cups all purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt

2 ½ cups coconut milk (Trader Joe’s brand or So Delicious Brand in the carton) (almond or soy is also fine)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Method
Preheat waffle iron. Allow it to get super hot.

Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. To the dry mix, add coconut milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract. Using a wooden spoon or spatula (not a whisk) carefully mix together, trying NOT to create too many bubbles. Go gently and slowly until mixture is nice and smooth and uniform in texture.

If desired, grease waffle iron with cooking oil spray. (This is optional, but it does help speed up a golden crust.) Carefully scoop enough mixture (only you know your waffle maker) into your preheated iron and allow to cook until golden brown. My waffle iron beeps a minute too early for my choice of golden waffles. I just watch for a reduction in the steam coming out from the sides of the iron. Lots of steam means it still needs more time.

Serve warm with fresh fruit and lots of wonderful maple syrup.

Printable recipe

My beloved Villaware Waffle Maker isn't being sold anymore, but this one got fantastic reviews and I love the flip action (for more even cooking and spreading.)

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