Fluffy inside, crispy outside! These whole wheat banana bread waffles are my new weekend morning go-to. Read on, or jump straight to the recipe HERE.
Well hello, interworld. These past few weeks have been a roller coaster ride. And while I normally like roller coasters, I am seriously ready to get off this one. If you follow me on social media, you might already know what I’m talking about: my dad passed away a few weeks ago.
To anyone who’s lost a parent, I’m sending you a great big hug right now. (And if you’re just here for the waffles, no judgement. You can jump to the recipe HERE.)
My dad and I didn’t exactly have one of those picture perfect father-daughter relationships you see in movies. To be totally frank, he was a hard guy to get along with. He looked at the world through whatever-the-opposite-of-rose-colored-glasses-are… he was depressed, cynical, and chronically pushed people away who tried to help. And in a way, part of me was relieved when I heard the news, because I hoped that whatever weight he carried around during life would be lifted from his shoulders now.
As much as we didn’t always get along, though, he was still my dad. He loved me, and cared about the world, and tried to do what was right. I can look back and see so many ways he helped shape who I am today, and I’m grateful for the lessons he’s taught me. In fact, my love of cooking all began with him beside me in the kitchen, or sitting on the couch watching shows like Good Eats and America’s Test Kitchen.
On the brighter side of this (because I am trying to find a brighter side), I’ve been able to spend a lot more time with my brother, who lives out of state. When I visited him at his apartment in Boston, he made us waffles from a boxed mix that he was desperately trying to doctor up to make something, well… better than a boxed mix. Waffles were one of my dad’s favorite breakfast foods, too, but making them at home always posed a major issue: how to get a light and tender inside and nice, crispy outside, without a really high-end waffle iron.
Challenge accepted. Putting my mind to work on something was exactly what I needed. Eating loads of tasty waffles? Well, that’s just a bonus.
I’ve made plenty of good yeasted waffles in the past, but unless you plan ahead and make the batter a day in advance, the yeast makes leisurely breakfasts a pretty unlikely scenario. So rule number one for these waffles: no yeast. Rule number two, no separating eggs, because who wants to whip egg whites first thing in the morning? (I love you waffles, but not worth it.) Rule number three of waffle club, do not talk about waffle club. (Seriously though, don’t tell anyone there’s a club, cause then everyone will want to be in it.)
The trick I’ve found to making perfectly crispy waffles without a yeasted batter / whipped eggwhites / so much baking powder they taste nasty? Corn starch.
Adding a scoop of cornstarch to the batter might seem weird, but it gives these waffles a delicate, wafer-thin crunch you just don’t get without it. Oh, also, don’t listen to your waffle iron. With most home waffle irons, I find it necessary to wait an extra minute or two from when the light goes out indicating the waffle is “ready.” You’ll have to play around with your particular iron to get this just right, but it can really help give that crispy exterior without a super fancy waffle iron.
And because I know you’re going to ask: the waffle iron I use is an old VillaWare that sadly, isn’t in production anymore. When this one eventually goes, I’ve got my eye on this fancy beast. If you’re looking for a cheaper option, this one is the best seller on Amazon right now.
Lastly, before we get to this recipe… you can totally make these as regular waffles, sans the bananas. All you have to do is leave out the banana, and increase the oil to 1/4 cup. I’ve included a few variations in the recipe notes, so check those out if you ever get tired of this banana bread version.
Oh, and you can totally make a mix from the dry ingredients, too, which makes whipping these up for breakfast a snap. You can bet I’ll be sending some to my brother so he can ditch his old boxed mix for good!
- ½ cup whole wheat flour
- ¼ cup all purpose flour
- ¼ cup corn starch
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- ¼ tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1-2 tsp. sugar, to taste
- 1 cup whole milk + 1 tsp. white vinegar or lemon juice (or just use 1 cup buttermilk)
- 1 large egg
- 1 small overripe banana, mashed (you want ½ cup mashed banana -- if your banana is really big, you might not need all of it)
- 1 TBSP melted coconut oil or vegetable oil
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- Slices of banana, chopped pecans / walnuts / hazelnuts, chocolate chips, nutella, whatever your heart desires.... and of course maple syrup!
- In a bowl or large glass measuring cup, whisk together all the dry ingredients.
- In a separate bowl, mash the banana and mix in all the wet ingredients.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and mix well to combine. Let the batter sit, without stirring, for 30 minutes. Take a shower, make some tea, and get the waffle iron hot -- just don't skip letting the batter rest! The batter might seem too thin at first, but it will thicken up as it sits.
- Make waffles according to your waffle iron's instructions. Note: I find with most home waffle irons, it helps to go an extra minute or two after the waffle iron says it's "ready" before removing the waffle if you want a nice, crispy exterior. This will vary depending on your particular machine, so play around with the amount of time it takes to get your waffles to the desired level of crispiness.)
- Serve immediately with sliced bananas, chopped nuts, and maple syrup. These waffles are best eaten the moment they come off the iron, but if you're set on everyone sitting down to eat at the same time, you can help preserve the crispiness a little by putting cooked waffles directly on the rack in a 150 degree F oven until you're ready to serve.
For regular waffles: just omit the banana, and increase the oil to ¼ cup. (I like to use 1 tsp. sugar if I'm using a banana, and 2 tsp. sugar if not -- but that's totally personal preference.)
To banana bread waffles or regular waffles, try adding a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg, or other spices like chinese five spice or ginger.
Swap the banana for pumpkin puree and a dash of pumpkin pie spices.
Make regular waffles, but stir in a spoonful of cocoa powder to the dry ingredients, and top with chocolate chips. (For add-ins like nuts and chocolate, I prefer to use them as a topping rather than adding them directly to the batter, so I don't have to worry about them burning to the waffle iron.)
For quick and easy waffles, I like to make a mix out of the dry ingredients. Just whisk together 5 or 6 times the dry ingredients in a bowl, store in an airtight container, and when you want to make waffles, scoop 1 cup of mix and follow the recipe as written. You can also make smaller or larger batches of waffles easily, just be sure to adjust the wet ingredients accordingly (i.e., for half a cup of mix, halve the wet ingredients).
Recipe adapted from these waffles on foodnetwork.com
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