Alright, lets talk about sourdough. Or better put, “naturally leavened” baked goods, made using a sourdough starter rather than commercialized yeast. And what’s with the starter? It’s this amazing thing that is actually living which you take care of daily/weekly depending on your baking schedule. A little flour, a little water, and some chill time on the counter. It sounds easy, but many failed attempts have left me feeling pretty dumbfounded over the years. That was until a little packet in the mail arrived from my friend Emilie over at The Clever Carrot. Inside was about a tablespoon or so of dried up sourdough starter. Yes! She had smoothed out her starter at home in New York on a baking tray, dried it out, crumpled it up, and shipped it off to live here with me in California. I never knew you could do such a thing! And thus began my sourdough baking.
Actually, it began the next day when her newest cookbook arrived, Artisan Sourdough Made Simple. In here Emilie covers all the nitty gritty details of growing your own starter, maintaining it, drying it to share with others, and of course baking with it – oh these recipes, folks. From traditional loaves, to ones with folded in spices, fruits, nuts, and even chocolate (!). Then there is basically an entire section on focaccia, recipes for rolls, enriched sweet breads, and then one of my favorite sections at the end covering ways to use up your leftover sourdough starter. The thing is, whenever you feed your starter you have to toss half of it in order to keep from lugging around a gallon size starter bin in your kitchen (it can grow real big, real fast). But instead of tossing out some of your once-bubbly-but-now-deflated starter you can use it in things like these waffles.
I would almost (definitely) maintain a sourdough starter just to make these waffles. Aside from some of the best flavor I’ve ever experienced in a waffle, they have this incredible texture. When you tear the waffles they stretch with this beautiful elasticity, and are incredibly fluffy on the inside with an amazing chew. I looked at Emilie’s beautiful recipe containing eggs and butter and thought what would I substitute eggs with normally? Lately it’s been applesauce in my baked goods, so I decided on that substitute. Then there was the butter, which is something usually replaced by oil, but that I would again replace by applesauce. So I got crazy and replaced them both with applesauce. And guess what? It totally worked. And the waffles don’t taste a hint like apple sauce. The milk in the original recipe was easily swapped with a plant variety, and I used honey in place of sugar. We really loved the subtle honey flavor, but feel free to use cane sugar or maple too.
If you have a vibrant sourdough starter, have failed many attempts, or are itching to get your first one going – I highly recommend getting Emilie’s cookbook. It has something in there for every level and is sure to inspire you! Her recipes are so delicious, and in true Emilie style, are beautifully photographed with stunning styling in every shot. She even has a section at the end with some of her favorite recipes to “go” with bread. Her ribollita soup is happening next in my kitchen for sure. It’s soup season, not matter what California says.
Now where did the nutella come from? A couple who I follow on Instagram were in France a few weeks ago and shared a video of them eating a waffles smothered in nutella, and I decided right then and there that my life would be sub-par until I was able to recreate the same. I took my peanut butter cup frosting from this brownie post and subbed in hazelnut butter with coconut nectar (the maple was too maple-y) and just like that – the best vegan nutella I had ever tasted. I hope you give it a try with these waffles, they really are a special pair. Definitely one of my favorite things I’ve eaten, quite possibly ever? I’ll go there. And although Emilie’s are rolled in a cinnamon sugar coating in her cookbook (which sounds insanely amazing) I think she would approve of the nutella-slathering done here still ;).
We are off to visit our friends who just moved to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho this weekend and I couldn’t be more excited (!). Fall. Jackets. Leaves. Cool crisp air and some hang time on it’s gorgeous lake are in our future these next three days. Get ready for some fall color overload in my stories on Instagram. You can follow along there for a dose if you’d like too. I hope for so much peace, love, and joy for you all this weekend. And lots of nutella smothered waffles (with coffee, so good). -xx
NUTELLA SMOTHERED SOURDOUGH WAFFLES
Makes 4 to 6 waffles, depending on your iron size.
1/2 cup leftover sourdough starter
1 cup plain plant milk
2 teaspoons honey
6 tablespoons unsweetened apple sauce
1 cup whole grain flour (I used hard white wheat)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
Make the nutella: place all of the ingredients in an upright blender and puree on low until smooth. Increase the speed up to high and stop when it will no longer blend. It should be smooth and silky, if not, stir with a spoon and do it again until it reaches the right consistency. Transfer to an airtight container and keep in the fridge. Should keep for one to two weeks.
Make the waffles: Combine the plant milk and honey in a small sauce pot and warm on the stove for one minute, whisking to dissolve the honey. It shouldn’t feel hot or cold when you place your finger in the milk. Pour into a medium mixing bowl, add the apple sauce and sourdough starter, and whisk well. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine until there are no more clumps of flour – and being careful not to over mix.
Preheat your waffle maker and brush with a little coconut oil if necessary. Add the amount of batter needed for your size waffle maker and cook until golden brown. Keep waffles warm on a cookie sheet in a 200F oven while you cook the rest of the batter. Serve slathered in plenty of the homemade nutella above. Extra waffles can be frozen and reheated in a warm oven when desired.
NOTE: For the Belgium-style waffles I posted on Instagram here I used this waffle maker. For the thinner waffles above I used this maker. Both are lined with the toxic non-stick coating from my nightmares, and I am currently on the hunt for a good ceramic iron. Right now it looks like Oster makes a few, but the reviews haven’t sold me yet.
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