In the first two posts in this series, we examined how to replace flour in a baked good recipe with a vegetable. This time we’ll learn how to replace a liquid with a puree while still soaking the flours in order to make the baked good traditional foods.
In the same vein as the books that promote purees, many baked goods can have some mashed banana, applesauce, sweet potato, pumpkin, butternut squash or the like added to the recipe in place of the water or milk. The problem with many of these recipes is that the vegetable or fruit takes the place of the milk or water, and it’s then difficult to convert that recipe to being soaked. To overcome that problem, I carefully choose recipes that call for enough liquid to work with. I then soak the flour with the minimum amount of liquid needed to get it wet and add the rest that the recipe calls for in fruit or vegetables. This is made much easier if you are baking gluten-free goodies, since most of the recipes call for at least a small amount of starch. Since starches do not need to be soaked, this frees up extra liquid in the recipe to convert to a vegetable or fruit and still have the finished product turn out with the correct texture. Since starch makes waffles crispy, this is the perfect recipe for conversion.
I use this strategy most often when there’s just a little applesauce left in the bottom of the jar, or there’s one lone banana that needs to be used.
I tip my hat to Sue Gregg, whose cookbook is the first place I heard about grinding grain in the blender with liquid so you don’t have to have a grain mill to have the benefits of freshly-ground flour. I used her method to make pancakes for a long time until I could afford a grain mill.
They say necessity is the mother of invention, and this recipe proves it quite right. I had cooked rice and some plain butternut squash in my fridge that needed using, so I decided to add it to a batch of blender batter waffles to see how it would turn out. The first batch was a mess, but by the end of the week, I had it down pat and was baking squash just so I could make this recipe!
It is both soaked and has hidden veggies and I’m awful proud of this accomplishment. It took a lot of work and fiddling with the recipe to get it to turn out just right. One of the keys to this recipe is to not add sweetener to the batter. The sugar makes the waffle stick to the waffle iron, and the fruit or veggie already has some in it. Serve it with a little maple syrup or a topping that is a little sweet and avoid having problems with the sticking. Use stevia if you need it sweet to keep your kids from rejecting it or you want to serve it plain.
You don’t need a fancy blender to do this recipe. I use a basic mega-mart blender and it works just fine. The key is to keep a vortex going.
¾ cup acidic liquid*
½ cup whole grain, a mixture of your choice**
2 tsp chia seed, optional
½ cup cooked squash, carrot puree, applesauce, banana, or other cooked and pureed veggie or fruit
½ cup or more almond milk, rice milk, dairy milk, water or other liquid
1 cup cooked rice
¼ cup melted coconut oil, butter, shortening or other fat
2 tsp vanilla
¼ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
dash xanthan gum, optional
smidgen stevia, optional (I used Nu Naturals extract from iherb, and measured with a smidgen spoon)
½ cup tapioca flour or cornstarch
The night before, combine the acidic liquid and the whole grain and chia in a blender. Turn on lowest speed until it gets going, then turn to high speed. Blend for 3 minutes, stopping to scrape down as needed, making sure a vortex keeps going in the middle. The vortex means it is wet enough and it will keep the blender motor from burning out. Cover and leave overnight.
The next morning, preheat your waffle iron. Add the squash, rapadura, milk, cooked rice, melted oil, and vanilla to the blender. Turn the blender back on and run until smooth, about 2-3 minutes. If the vortex doesn’t keep going, add additional liquid as needed to keep a vortex in the center. Drop in the eggs and blend briefly.
In a small bowl, combine the baking soda, salt, baking powder, xanthan, stevia and tapioca flour. Turn the blender on and drop the mixture in the middle of the vortex. If you’re having trouble with the vortex, you’ll want to sift the dry ingredients together before adding them so they won’t clump. Blend only long enough to combine the dry ingredients with the wet.
Immediately cook the waffles as directed by your type of waffle maker. We prefer our waffles well-browned so they will be crispy on the outside and just moist in the middle.
*acidic liquid- you can use buttermilk or 1 cup of water combined with 1 Tbs yogurt, lemon juice, whey, vinegar or other acidic ingredient. Measure out ¾ cups and discard the excess. Use non-acidic liquid, such as plain water or milk, for the additional liquid added the next morning.
** whole grain- you can use any grains you like in any mix you like. I normally use a wide variety. If you are gluten-free, use rice, oat groats, quinoa (no more than 1 Tbs or the flavor will be strong), amaranth, millet, sorghum, buckwheat, etc… If you can consume gluten, you can also use wheat and omit the xanthan gum. I recommend you not use all oat groats, as it will make a gummy waffle. I do not recommend them, but if you use rolled oats, you will need to add extra to make the batter work right. If you don’t have any whole grains, you can use ¾ cup of any mix of flours you would like.
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