Thursday, September 26, 2013

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Raisin Waffles

By now, I should think you know that waffles are one of my all-time favorite breakfast foods.  The same way some people are obsessed with pancakes, I am obsessed with a big, fluffy Belgian style waffle.  Or any kind of waffle, to be perfectly honest.  Frozen supermarket waffles, while definitely nowhere near as good as homemade waffles, are a simple food that I find completely comforting and delicious.  I have many delicious memories revolving around frozen waffle breakfasts from when I was little.  Frozen Eggo waffles and Aunt Jemima syrup were the norm, and my go-to option.  I loved my waffles in every way, shape, and form, whether they were covered in fruit jam or syrup.  As long as every square had topping in it, I was good to go. My idea of the perfect waffle may have changed drastically from when I was in middle school, but nevertheless, I will admit that I get a craving for a frozen waffle with fake syrup every now and then, a craving that a homemade waffle just can't satisfy, regardless of how good it is.  Sometimes, it's that bit of nostalgia that is the answer to our cravings, or at least that's how I feel.  During my senior year of college, I bought a box of frozen waffles for the first time in several years.  I heated them up, drizzled some syrup over the tops, and was instantly satisfied.  It was such a perfect breakfast! 

Once my frozen waffle craving had been satisfied, I was back on the homemade waffle game.  The frozen waffles were good, but they reminded me of how much I really enjoy their homemade counterparts.  Since then, I've shared with you recipes for Spiced Brown Butter Waffles and Chocolate Waffles, and I've thought that both of those recipes produced some mighty good waffles.  There's so many different waffle variations that I would like to try, and since I'm sure that I would love each and every one, I know that I have my work cut out for me.  It's a tough job, but someone's gotta do it, right? Might as well be me.  

I've been in the mood for a really delicious waffle breakfast for several weeks now.  I think about three weekends ago, I embarked on a journey to produce a wonderful honey, sour cream, and blueberry waffle recipe to share with all of you.  It sounded promising- honey and blueberries are some of my favorite flavors, and things made with sour cream are just so darn tasty.  The waffles were delicious, and if you're wondering why I haven't shared a recipe for something that sounds so yummy, it's because the waffle recipe kinda sucked.  By "sucked," I mean that the waffles didn't come out crisp, and only became slightly crispy after sitting in a warm oven for what felt like forever, and the blueberries that were mixed into the waffle batter proceeded to get stuck on the waffle iron and explode all over it.  This unfortunate berry explosion left me to have to scrub my waffle iron clean with a toothbrush, a task that was so annoying, that I wouldn't dream of sharing the recipe with you, in order to save you from that kind of trouble.  I took to the waffle iron clean up in shifts, coming back into my kitchen, toothbrush in hand, to scrub all the bits of gooey blueberry juice that had managed to get stuck in every single crevice of the iron until I felt frustrated enough that I needed to take a break.  Despite the blueberry disaster, the waffles that eventually crisped up actually tasted pretty good.  They just weren't worth the trouble of all this additional clean up, so it was back to the drawing board.  I would have to settle my waffle craving another weekend.

I bought a bag of whole wheat flour some time ago, without having anything in mind for what to use it for.  It was one of those purchases where you see something in the grocery store and throw it in your shopping cart, just because you can.  I brought the bag of flour home with me, and I ended up completely forgetting about it, until I just happened to come across it when going through my kitchen cabinets to see what kind of waffles I could make with what I had on hand (as per the usual).  As much as I love any kind of hearty bread made with whole wheat flour, I don't often use it whole wheat flour in baking, because it can end up feeling a little heavy at times.  When used correctly, though, whole wheat is wonderful, and I love it.  These waffles are an example of that.  Once I stumbled upon the whole wheat flour, I knew I just had to use in my waffles, and that what I was really craving, was something hearty and filling, with a touch of sweetness to balance everything out. Some quick Googling led me to Alton Brown's recipe for oat flour waffles, and I knew right there and then that that was the recipe I needed to adapt.  I wanted whole wheat and oat waffles, and what's the perfect complement to oatmeal?  Raisins.  Lots and lots of raisins.  Whole wheat and oatmeal raisin waffles sounded like the perfect hearty breakfast for a slightly chilly fall morning. 

These ended up being fantastic waffles.  I improvised some of the recipe on the spot, and I'm glad I was writing everything down as I made them, otherwise I would have completely forgotten all of my changes.  I swapped the sugar for honey, for a little bit of extra flavor, although I think that next time, using brown sugar would be a great alternative.  The brown sugar would add a deep molasses flavor, and give these waffles more of an oatmeal raisin cookie kind of character, but I was happy with how they turned out with the honey. I added classic spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, and threw in just a pinch of ground cloves.  I loved these waffles with raisins, but any dried fruit would work well, as would chocolate chips! The possibilities are endless. I served these waffles with pure maple syrup (no fake syrup today!), and they were simply amazing. Thick and hearty, crisp yet fluffy.  My mom loved these waffles as well, and she actually kept hovering over me as I was attempting to photograph them, until I gave in and gave her a piece of waffle from the back of the pile.  I've never seen my mom hover over something I've made the way she did for these waffles, meaning that these waffles really were THAT good!   

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Raisin Waffles
recipe adapted from Alton Brown


5 1/2 ounces old fashioned rolled oats
4 ounces whole wheat flour (I used white whole wheat)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves
3 tablespoons honey
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ounces (half a stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
1 cup raisins


Heat a 10-inch saute pan over medium heat.  Add the oats and toast, stirring occasionally, for abut 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow the oats to cool slightly in the pan.  Grind the oats in a food processor until they reach a flour-like consistency.

In a bowl, whisk together the toasted oat flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. In a separate bowl, whisk together the honey, eggs, vanilla extract, melted butter, and buttermilk.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and stir until combined.  Mix in the raisins.  Allow the batter to rest for about ten minutes.

While the batter is resting, preheat your waffle iron according to the manufacturer's instructions.  After ten minutes, ladle the recommended amount of batter into the hot iron (my waffle iron needs 2/3 cup of batter to make a nice round waffle, but this amount will vary among waffle irons).  Close the waffle iron, and cook until the waffle is golden brown on both sides, as per your waffle iron's instructions. Repeat with the remaining batter.  

Waffles should be served immediately, or can be kept in a preheated 200 degree oven until ready to serve.  Top with maple syrup and raisins, and enjoy!

Yield will vary depending on your waffle iron; my waffle iron made 6 even waffles using a 2/3 cup measure. 


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