Gluten-Free Cinnamon Pecan Waffles

Yes, I dangled a big old preposition at the end of that awkward post title, but “Breakfasts for which it is worth getting out of bed” seemed even more stilted, so I’m leaving it alone.

At this point in the year — dark, dreary, cold, mid-school-year January — it’s just harder than ever to get out of bed in the morning.  Bed is WARM.  And COZY.  And here in New England, it’s still DARK when we have to get up.  Nobody wants to get out of the warm flannel sheets to greet the day.  I suspect our family is not the only one afflicted by this deep winter fit of spontaneous morning narcolepsy.  I also suspect that having to come up with a decent, fresh, exciting breakfast idea to get the family dressed and to the table before everyone scatters for the day is not a challenge with which many of you are totally unfamiliar.

Luckily, I happen to have tested two new recipes over the weekend that may help with these winter breakfast blues.  It all started when a friend asked me if I’d be able to come up with a homemade, somewhat healthified version of the fruit-and-cereal bars his toddler loves.  I was sure I could — meeting his specifications of lower-sugar, more whole-grain, and nut-free so they could be sent to daycare — but at the same time, J. and I had just decided to pull back on our family’s wheat consumption again (that story at another time).  I didn’t feel right recipe-testing something wheaty and yummy if I wouldn’t want to let the kids test it out for me, so I decided to make TWO versions: a traditional bar, and a gluten-free one.  Both versions of the resulting apple-cinnamon filled cereal bars were a big hit in our house, and while they do take a little time to make, they’re not difficult.  A batch or two made in advance and popped in the freezer would be worth the effort, not just for breakfasts, but for quick school snacks as well.

As long as I was making gluten-free breakfast recipes, I reasoned, it might be worth my while to see if I could figure out a replacement for wheat-flour waffles — one that didn’t require me to buy up a bunch of flour alternatives, add any “gums” or thickeners, and preferably not require any more effort to make than our standard waffle recipe.  I wanted to make gluten-free waffles that were delicious and full of protein, using only items that I would usually have in my pantry on a typical morning.  I wanted what I thought was impossible.  I was sure I’d fail.

Surprisingly enough…I did not fail.  A short list of ingredients, a simple mixing process, and a very mundane waffle-iron session was all it took to make a PERFECT gluten-free waffle.  The smell was heavenly; the taste was better.  P. and L. kept coming into the kitchen to ask for just ONE MORE piece.  I would make these waffles for anyone, not just gluten-free friends — I’d even venture to say that they’d make a gorgeous Sunday brunch item for guests, with some fresh fruit and warm syrup on top.  In fact, I dare you to say the words “Cinnamon-Pecan Waffle” without drooling.  I’m pretty sure it’s next to impossible.

With these two recipes in hand, hopefully you can conquer your mid-winter drearies.  I’m working on banishing mine, but I may need a few more waffles to get me there.