Good to the Grain: Honey Amaranth Waffles

March 26, 2010
After you’ve been food blogging for a while, I think you start to realize what your thing is; the topic you like to cover in your posts most often, the one ingredient you like use in your cooking, or the cooking method you prefer. Sure, it may change over time, but there is a point where you realize what you truly enjoy learning about, talking (or typing) about or making.
My thing…is grains.
I’ve always enjoyed baking, but the more I learn about whole grain flours the more interested I become. They all have such unique histories, flavors and nutrient compositions.
Given this fact about my interests, it’s likely no surprise that when I came across the cookbook Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole-Grain Flours by Kim Boyce, I knew I had to get my hands on a copy!
I was out walking pug a few days ago and I noticed the UPS guy had left a package by the garage. I was pretty sure I knew what it was, and I literally opened the package right there in the yard. I’m sure if any of our neighbors were watching, they had to be wondering what gift had been bestowed upon me.
As I balanced a retractable leash in one hand and the envelope in the other, I flipped through the pages of the cookbook. The smile began to spread (and I might have even done a mini happy dance) as I saw amaranth, buckwheat, barley, Kamut, spelt and teff; each with its distinct section, utilized in some of the most delicious looking baked goods I’ve had the pleasure of viewing.

The author, Kim Boyce, was a pastry chef at the well known Spago and Campanile restaurants before she left to raise her kids, and then embark on creating whole grain baked goods for her family to enjoy. The book is filled to brim with 75 recipes of cookies, cakes, waffles, pancakes, breads and tarts made with 12 different whole grain flours.

The author shares information on the baking equipment and ingredients she considers essential. You will find yourself sharing her journey of balancing flour combinations and perfecting flavors, while you learn a great deal about whole grains and how to use them.
I will mention that since the author’s goal is to create the right structure for the grain products she does use all-purpose flour with the whole grain flours, as well as refined sugars. But as you will see in the recipe below, these things can be altered a bit if you choose to do so. In fact, she encourages you to try different combinations just as she did to develop the recipes.
While the Muscovado Sugar Cake and the Cornmeal Blueberry Cookies are on my list to make, for this review I made the Honey Amaranth Waffles. Taking the author’s suggestion to heart, I was modifying right out of the gate. Mainly because I was hoping amaranth flour could be found in the bulk bin of our Whole Foods, but no such luck. I ended up using spelt flour instead. In addition, I don’t use much all-purpose flour at all anymore, so I substituted white whole wheat for this, and then used the whole wheat the recipe calls for. I also used mascavo sugar in the dry mix.

The result? Seriously the best waffles I have yet to make. They were as light and fluffy as any standard white waffle with that deep rich flavor from the whole grains and a mild sweetness from the honey. I needed no toppings at all for these, but tried adding the Greek yogurt suggested in the recipe and a bit of blackberry jam I had made.

If you have any interest in baking with whole grains, this is one cookbook that needs to make it on your shelf. I have a feeling I will be baking from it on a very regular basis.

Honey Amaranth Waffles
From Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce, reprinted with permission

2 ounces (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted, for the waffle iron
Dry mix:
¼ cup amaranth flour
¼ cup flaxseed meal
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt

Wet mix:
2 cups buttermilk
¼ cup plus 2 tbsp honey
2 eggs
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

Greek yogurt, optional

Turn the waffle iron to its highest setting. Even if you don’t usually heat it this high, these waffles come out best when cooked at high heat. Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl, pouring back into the bowl any bits of grain or other ingredients that may remain in the sifter.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients until thoroughly combined. Using a spatula add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and gently combine. The batter will begin to bubble and swell as the baking soda begins to react with the buttermilk.

Brush the waffle iron generously with butter; this is the key to a crisp crust. Use a ladle or measuring cup to scoop ½ cup batter onto the spaces of the iron. Promptly close, and listen for the iron to sigh as the batter begins to cook. The smell wafting from the iron starts out like a freshly kneaded loaf of bread, then becomes toasty. Remove the waffle when the indicator light shows that it is done, or when a quick peek shows that it’s turned a dark golden-brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove the hot waffle with a fork, and repeat with the remaining batter.

The waffles are best eaten right off the griddle, with a bit of butter, a drizzle of honey, or a hearty spoonful of Greek yogurt, as desired.

P.S. The book says it makes 9 waffles, but I got 8.

Disclosure: The review copy of this cookbook was sent to me free of charge. I was not under any obligation to write about it on my website and I did not receive any compensation for doing so.

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  • Joy March 26, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    What big fat waffles you do have!
    And what a lovely book! One thing I love about Madhur Jaffreys World Vegetarian is her section on cereals (and another big one on pulses which I just might love even more!).
    Thanks for sharing ! I hope our library might get this book in!

  • Debinhawaii March 27, 2010 at 12:35 am

    Those are some gorgeous waffles! it looks like a great book to have. I look forward to seeing what else you cook from it. 😉

  • Maria March 27, 2010 at 7:38 am

    I want that book! these look amazing! Great weekend breakfast treat!

  • Andrea (Off Her Cork) March 27, 2010 at 7:49 am

    Totally buying this book! I love spelt so much and cook with whole grains as much as possible. I’m looking for a way to expand my knowledge both in experimentation and learning about the different flours. Fabbo!

  • fulltimefoodie March 27, 2010 at 8:17 am

    It’s delicious, healthy waffles like these that make me wish I had a waffle maker.

  • Sippity Sup March 27, 2010 at 10:51 am

    I do love grains, but don’t cook with them that often Maybe this book will help… GREG

  • Tangled Noodle March 27, 2010 at 10:28 pm

    Pancakes, waffles, aebleskivers – love ’em all. But when they’re made as healthy as these, what a bonus! I would say that I love grains, too, but judging from those you’ve briefly mentioned here, I don’t think I’ve had all that many. Honey Amaranth waffles are a great start!

  • Lori March 28, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    Joy – That sounds like an interesting book. I’ll have to look it up.

    Deb – Thanks! I’m looking forward to trying some new things.

    Maria – It is fantastic, definitely give it a look.

    Andrea – You won’t be disappointed! It is wonderful.

    fulltimefoodie – I just got mine over Christmas. I wasn’t sure if I would use it a lot, but I love it and use it often.

    Greg – It has been a gradual thing for me, but I love experimenting with them now.

    TN – I’m with you. There are so many I have yet to try.

  • Cinnamon-Girl March 28, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    Those are some delicious looking waffles! The book sounds really great – I especially like that she encourages you to play around with the recipes.

  • Anna March 28, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    I was just thinking about that book I heard its awesome, the waffles looks great.

  • kat March 29, 2010 at 7:19 am

    So you used spelt in these? I love spelt, I have to try it

  • Sagan March 29, 2010 at 8:04 am

    I’m a grain-lover too 😀

    These waffles look amazing. I’ve never tried using amaranth before; must search!

    Let us know how the other recipes from the book turn out.

  • Lo March 29, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    I often credit the Gluten-free world with giving us a true understanding of all the different options that are really out there in the world… life is certainly enriched when we move past wheat flour and start trying new things.

    These waffles look stellar! Amaranth rocks.

  • Zibi March 29, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book. I was wondering about where to find recipes that use alternative flours and grains… great timing. My hubby likes making us waffles for breakfast on the weekends and those waffles look great!

    I can’t wait to open packages that arrive in the mail either, I loved that part of your post 🙂

  • Lori March 30, 2010 at 4:42 am

    Reeni – I know, I thought so too. She has a nice attitude about recipe experimentation.

    Anna – It really is an excellent book.

    kat – Yes, and it was my first time using it. I really like it and the waffles turned out great.

    Sagan – I will. I plan to make a lot of desserts from it this summer.

    Lo – For the general public, I think that is true. For me, it was more about the cultural history. I really didn’t know much at all about gluten free when I started researching them. But I definitely see what you mean, many probably discover them for this reason.

    Zibi – Deliveries are the best! 🙂 The book really is great. I wasn’t disappointed in it at all.

  • Marianne (frenchfriestoflaxseeds) March 30, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    That sounds like a cookbook that should find it’s way into my collection. Baking is my thing, and I would love to do more of it with whole grains 😀

  • BakingWithoutaBox August 12, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    Mmm, those waffles look amazing! Amanda