After we discovered my oldest son couldn’t have dairy (you can read about our journey with that HERE), that meant I had to do a lot of researching and label reading. If you’ve ever dealt with food allergy or intolerance, you are all too familiar with how time consuming this can be. Vigilance must be kept at all times because one little ingredient can be the difference between a happy belly and a crying child. The one thing we quickly discovered is that dairy is hidden in all kinds of things you would never expect to find it. I was shocked at how many foods that I would have thought were okay actually had hidden dairy (like salt and vinegar potato chips!).
After a while you get the hang of what to look for, but the task of searching for those hidden ingredients yourself is only the beginning. We also had to work with all of our family members who would be keeping him. I’ll never forget the first time he went to church camp after we eliminated it from his diet. I had to discuss with the camp staff ahead of time to know exactly what was on the menu for the three days he would be there so I could plan ahead. It was exhausting at times, but it was a task that carried with it such an enormous benefit for my child that there was no wavering. And when we added my own non-celiac gluten sensitivity, the list of ingredients to watch for grew.
It was in some ways like leveling up in a game. I had a few years of mastering catching hidden dairy, now looking for sneaky gluten was the next level.
It’s a good thing that I: 1) like to cook, and 2) like to tackle challenges and solve problems.
One of the first things I decided to work to perfect was breakfast, since it was the hardest meal for us to find suitable replacements. Pretty much anything that is prepackaged and labeled as breakfast food has both dairy and gluten. And when you look at traditional American breakfast staple recipes, they too contain both. Pancakes? Yep. Waffles? Yep. Donuts? Yep. Breakfast casserole? Yep.
Gluten free flours present their own challenges when making anything that will be baked or is intended to be bread-like. Because they don’t contain gluten, they often suck up moisture leaving whatever is being made with it dry. They contain a mixture of ingredients that often includes multiple starches, gums, and flours. They can be extremely unpredictable. And they are not created equal.
I started looking for recipes where I would normally start: Pinterest. Any seasoned Pinterest user knows that there are a LOT of recipes that are just not good. Sometimes I’ve been left with a meal wondering if the person who shared the recipe to their website/blog had actually made it or if they just thought it sounded like it should work so they went with it.
There’s nothing worse that having your kids waiting excitedly for waffles only to be given something that sort of looks like a waffle but tastes like nothing at all and is soggy as can be.
And often times the recipes I would find would have an ingredient list a mile long and need obscure ingredients that I don’t think anyone keeps on hand.
So my strategy quickly changed. Instead of looking for gluten and dairy free recipes, I look for recipes and then make them gluten and dairy free. After many failed attempts, I have found which flours I like to use in which recipes and which dairy substitutes work best where.
These waffles are one of my kids’ favorites. We call them brownie waffles because they taste like you’re eating dessert for breakfast. We usually round them out with scrambled eggs and fresh fruit (they pair wonderfully with bananas or strawberries). They’re filling, and the best part, no one feels left out because we all eat the same thing.
We don’t eat items like this for breakfast everyday, so when we do, I want them to be GOOD. That means needing a good flour to use. I have recently been using Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 Baking Flour in most of my baked good items, and all of my breakfast treats, with consistently successful results. There have only been a couple times that I can think of when it was not able to be used in place of a wheat flour based recipe successfully.
The next thing that makes these amazing is that they have chocolate chips in them. Chocolate chips usually contain milk (ahem…hence the name milk chocolate 😉), but there are dairy free options out there. They’re usually not cheap, but for use in an occasional recipe, they’re more than worth it. We like Enjoy Life’s mini chocolate chips. The mini chips tend to go further, and Enjoy Life works hard to ensure that their chips are without the top seven food allergens, and did I mention they taste amazing? Total win!
I like to use either almond milk or full-fat coconut milk when it comes to replacing milk, and butter is typically replaced with applesauce or pumpkin. I am still a newbie when it comes to experimenting with vegan dairy substitutes, but these have worked well and have given consistent results. The original recipe for these called for buttermilk. I’ve been baking long enough to know a hack for when you don’t have buttermilk on hand (because I’ve never known anyone other than my great grandma who actually would), and it works perfectly with dairy free milk, too. The hack? For every one cup of milk, add a tablespoon of lemon juice to it and let it sit for a few minutes.
It’s important to mix the dry ingredients separately from the wet for this recipe. I’ll admit that I don’t usually do this with other recipes that say to, but with this one it is a must as it’s part of how the eggs get beat well enough to give these the light airy texture waffles need.
My waffle iron is old, and the latch is broken, so these take a little longer than I would like, but I can promise that the wait is totally worth it!
If you give this recipe a try, I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you liked them!
Delicious, chocolatey waffles made without any gluten or dairy.
- 1 1/3 cup gluten free flour *I like Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 Baking Flour
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 1/3 cup organic cane sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 cups non-dairy milk *I used almond milk
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 6 tbsp applesauce *can use vegetable oil instead
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips
- powdered sugar
Preheat waffle iron.
In a glass measuring cup, add non-dairy milk and lemon juice. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk all dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt) together.
In a smaller bowl, add eggs. Beat until a pale yellow color (can do this with a whisk or a hand mixer). Add remaining wet ingredients (non-dairy milk/lemon juice mixture and applesauce and mix lightly.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, the pour in wet ingredient mixture.
Gently mix together until well combined. There may be some lumps, which is fine; don't over mix.
Pour 1/2 cup of batter into each waffle space. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Close waffle iron and cook until slightly crispy on top.
If waffles will not be eaten immediately after coming out of the waffle iron, place in a single layer on a baking sheet and place in a 175 degree oven until ready to serve.
Serve sprinkled with powdered sugar or topped with fresh fruit.
Makes 12-13 4"x4" waffles. Serving size = 2 waffles
These freeze well and can be heated in a toaster oven for eating at a later time.