Buckwheat is one of the most delicious, nutritious and easy to work with gluten-free flours; it’s too bad whomever named it didn’t consider that it’s neither wheat nor grain. Made from the ground seeds of a dock plant (Fagopyrum esculentum), buckwheat is related to rhubarb and sorrel. I grew up eating buckwheat pancakes made from a boxed mix (thank you, Aunt Jemima) and I loved how they seemed to have so much more flavour than plain white flour pancakes. Despite being light in texture, these waffles are full of flavour and surprisingly substantial, with the characteristic crunch that buckwheat offers. While maple syrup and fresh fruit would be terrific toppings, the blueberry-maple sauce is really heavenly and not overly sweet; it can be made ahead and re-heated to speed things up in the morning. You can cook up this same batter in pancake form if that’s your preference.
For the blueberry sauce
- 2 cups (500 mL) fresh or frozen blueberries
- ¾ cup (185 mL) water
- 1/3 cup (90 mL) maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch, dissolved in 3 tablespoons water
- ½ teaspoon almond or vanilla flavouring
For the waffles
- 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) buckwheat flour
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) baking soda
- 2 teaspoons (10 mL) baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon (1.25 mL) cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
- 2 eggs, separated, plus 1 additional egg white
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) white or coconut sugar
- 1 cup (250 mL) plain yogurt
- 1 cup (250 mL) milk
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) water
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) melted butter
- Icing or powdered sugar, for dusting
- Preheat waffle maker while making batter.
- Make sauce by putting berries, water and maple syrup in a small saucepan.
- Bring to a boil then reduce heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until berries are soft (this will take a little longer with fresh berries than with frozen).
- Once berries are soft, add cornstarch mixture. Increase heat slightly and cook for about 3 minutes until thickened. If it’s too thick for your tastes, add a tablespoon or so of water.
- Remove from heat and add almond extract.
- Serve warm.
- While sauce is cooking, in a large bowl, whisk together the buckwheat flour, baking soda and powder, salt, and cinnamon.
- Separate eggs and place the egg whites in a medium bowl and beat with a stand or hand mixer, sprinkling with sugar as you beat them to soft peaks.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, yogurt, milk, water and melted butter.
- Pour the liquids into the buckwheat mixture and stir until just combined; don’t worry if there are a few lumps.
- Carefully fold half the beaten egg whites into the batter until completely incorporated.
- Gently fold the remaining beaten egg whites into the batter until just combined, and there are no streaks of egg whites.
- When your waffle maker is hot, lightly grease it with canola or coconut oil and scoop the batter onto the griddle, filling a bit more than you might usually do with a thinner batter. I used 1 1/4 cups (310 mL) with my Cuisinart Griddler.
- Cook according to waffle maker directions (usually waffles are done when the machine stops steaming). Note that because of the buckwheat they will look a little darker than white or even whole wheat waffles.
- Gently pull the waffles out with a fork and repeat with remaining batter.
- Serve waffles with blueberry-maple sauce and a dusting of icing sugar.