A few years ago, I got an unusual assignment, write authoritatively about waffles for the second edition of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America. How could I write about a humble food for such a lofty, well-respected publication? Field work of course. Nothing was off the table, literally. I ate my way through the history of waffles: Belgian waffle recipes, an historic Fannie Farmer yeast waffle recipe, Bisquick mix, frozen Belgian's (waffles that is), Eggo's and this century's waffle trend, Van's Power Grain waffles with 10g of protein. With each syrup filled pocket, I was only modestly impressed.
I felt like Goldilocks, few were "just right." The recipes were lovely, lofty and light, but took too long to make. The frozen waffles were easy to make but they were flat in taste and texture. The healthiest of the lot were healthy, but freezer and grit were the overriding flavors.
The Oxford assignment did give me a great opportunity to learn about the history of waffles. For instance, did you know waffles are considered the oldest dessert in food history? Even so, I felt defeated. I couldn't find a waffle that was both healthy and tasted good. I wanted the waffle holy grail.
So today (March 25, 2014) on National waffle day, I gave it another try. This time the waffle came from an unlikely source, a doctor. Dr. Elizabeth Klodas, a practicing cardiologist, recently launched a new company called TruhealthMD and a brand of heart healthy foods called Step One. Dr. Klodas is the kind of doctor we should all have, one that gets to the heart of health -- our diet. Whether snack bars, smoothies, oatmeal, whole grain sprinkles or pancake mix, every product is brimming with fiber, antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids and phytosterols. Dr. Klodas says she wanted to design an easy solution to heart health. Only two servings per day of any Truhealth product are designed to keep one's heart healthy.
So what does this have to do with waffles? To be honest, I wanted to eat at Bruxies Gourmet Waffles. They opened a new Denver location today, but my schedule was too packed and health is not on their menu. So, I opened a packet of TruhealthMD wholegrain pancake mix, added dollop of plain yogurt to thicken the batter and one whipped egg white to give the waffle some loft.
I was waiting for another Goldilocks moment. Would I have to give up taste for health? After a few minutes in the waffle iron, I was stunned. The waffle was lightly crisp, beautifully soft, tender and so good. Had I found the healthy waffle holy grail? Absolutely. The texture was Belgian-light and slightly crisp and the healthy halo was downright saintly. The numbers don't lie and you'll have to take my word on the taste.
- 160 calories
- 10g fiber*
- 7 g protein*
- Omega-3 1544 mg*
- Antioxidants 791 umol*
- Phytosterols 416 mg*
- Real ingredients: oat bran, flaxseed, pea fiber, wheat germ, almonds, walnuts, cranberries and raisins.
Holy Grail Healthy Waffle Recipe
1 packet Truhealth MD pancake mix
1/3 cup water
1 Tablespoon whole grain flour
1 Tablespoon plain yogurt
1 egg white, whipped until dry peaks form
Canola oil for the waffle iron
1. Heat waffle iron
2. Empty pancake in a medium bowl, stir in 1/3 cup water.
3. Add flour and yogurt, stir well.
4. Gently fold in egg whites until no streaks remain.
5. Spoon batter into hot waffle iron, cook until browned. Serve right away with desired topping.
* Fiber: 10g of fiber per day is associated 17% lower risk of dying from heart disease. Omega-3s lower blood pressure and triglycerides, reduce inflammation and improve blood vessel function. Antioxidants are linked to lower rick of heart disease. Consuming 740 mg of phytosterols per day is associated with a reduction in LDL cholesterol by 15%. Source: TruhealthMD
Waffles on the Mayflower
Without the Mayflower, America wouldn't have the waffle. Dutch Pilgrims packed waffle recipes and waffle irons on the Mayflower in 1620. Dutch immigrants in New York (New Netherland) ate waffles in the afternoon with chocolate and tea. Photo of TruhealthMD wholegrain waffle from recipe.
Thomas Jefferson waffle parties
In 1789, Thomas Jefferson brought back a souvenir waffle iron from Europe and made waffles parties popular among affluent colonists. Photo Wild Eggs, Crispy Hippy Waffle, Denver.
At the 1964 New York World’s Fair in Flushing Queens, Maurice Vermersch sold strawberry and whipped cream topped “Brussels” waffles. Vermersch changed the name to Belgian waffles when he realized Americans didn’t know where Brussels was located.
Waffle baking mix and irons
In 1889, Pearl Milling Co. launched the first baking mix for waffles and pancakes, called Aunt Jemima. By 1931, most Americans owned a waffle iron. Photo Bruxies Gourmet fried chicken and cole slaw.