As a little girl weekend breakfasts were a special treat. Nearly every weekend we would make either pancakes or waffles. My sister and I took turns picking. She always picked pancakes and I always wanted waffles. I’m not sure if we were purposefully being difficult, or these were just our taste preferences.
Our waffle iron was this funky old machine with a fabric-wrapped cord. I never saw other appliances quite like it. It had been a wedding gift to my grandparents, over fifty years before. They must not have used it much, as they passed it on to my parents in near-new condition. There was this little decorative window on the top that showed the heat dial. When it was the right temperature, the arm moved into the center. The plates were cast iron and the waffles were rectangular. The holes were not too deep but just deep enough to catch a schmear of butter or a small pool of syrup. They were not the overly sweet and fluffy sky-high belgian waffles that most people experience at a restaurant. They were flatter, crisper, and just the way I liked a waffle.
When it came time to purchase my own waffle iron I had a bit of a problem. All the stores sold belgian-styled waffle makers. They were round. With a non-stick coating. I was aghast! I searched and searched and eventually realized that I couldn’t buy a new waffle iron. eBay to the rescue! I spent about six months looking at eBay several times a week. Eventually I found what I was looking for. Apparently these are not popular items, as I was the only bidder. For the low price of $10 I found myself the owner of a perfect waffle iron. It was just what I wanted – rectangular, cast iron, and ancient. Now I can make waffles nearly every weekend, if I choose.
The waffle making was going along quite well, until a recent dairy-free change in my diet. My first attempt at dairy free waffles was nothing to write home about. The waffles were edible, but not particularly good, and no comparison to our usual recipe. I knew there had to be a better solution. Just because I’m not eating dairy, I shouldn’t have to give up special weekend breakfast, right?
My second attempt at dairy free waffles turned out much better, better even than I expected. In fact, I might like them more than our original waffle recipe. They certainly must be healthier, as they have oats. Whole grains are good for you, so I could almost argue that these waffles are a healthy breakfast and could be eaten every day, right? They’re also extremely filling, hence the suggestion to call them cowboy waffles. Because cowboys need a hearty breakfast, and well, doesn’t a cowboy waffle sound more appealing than a dairy-free oat waffle? Exactly.
Cowboy Oat Waffles
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 c. flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1 3/4 c. dairy-free milk. I used unsweetened So Delicious coconut milk. It is low fat and has a mild flavor.
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. molasses
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. cinnamon (optional)
1/2 tsp. vanilla (optional)
1. Turn on waffle iron so it gets hot.
2. Crush oats in blender or food processor. They should still be fairly coarse.
3. Add oats, flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon to a medium mixing bowl. Stir together.
4. Add egg, milk, oil and molasses to bowl. Mix well. If you measure the oil before the molasses and use the same measuring spoon, the molasses will slide right out.
5. Mix everything together. If it seems too thick, add a splash more milk. It will be lumpy. Let sit for a few minutes to soften the oats.
Enjoy with syrup, jam, fresh fruit, or whatever else you like with your breakfast. A personalized mug is a must!