People who eat a ketogenic diet love chaffles, and so do gluten-free eaters. What started as a trend for those who follow restrictive diets, however, has spread now to Facebook groups with hundreds of thousands of members and Pinterest and Instagram boards by the hundreds.
What is a “chaffle”? The arguably unattractive name comes from the combination of cheese plus waffle, and signifies a waffle made from an egg-cheese batter, rather than a flour-based one.
Or at least that’s what it meant in the beginning.
Now you’ll find cheese-free chaffles as well, including one that chaffle fans swear tastes “just like Wonder Bread!” That may not sound like an admirable goal to some of us, but for many people whose diets limit or prohibit bread, the Wonder Bread chaffle suddenly makes sandwiches part of their lives again.
Naturally, as with many such trendy foods, there’s a specialty appliance involved. In this case, it’s the Dash mini waffle maker, which makes personal-sized waffles about 4 1/2 inches in diameter, one by one. There are several other brands, and all are inexpensive and small enough to tuck into a drawer for storage. But any chaffle recipe may be made in bigger waffle irons as well; as the recipes here note, just double the amounts to make chaffles in a larger iron.
Once baked, chaffles can be incredibly versatile. There are recipes online for chocolate-chocolate chip chaffles; for pizza chaffles; for pumpkin-spice chaffles; for chaffle French toast; for little chaffle layer cakes with cream cheese frosting — the permutations are nearly endless.
Because they are high in protein — and sometimes high in fat — chaffles are filling and they keep your tummy happy for a long time.
Around my house, a basic chaffle spread with cream cheese and a sprinkle of everything bagel seasoning has become a breakfast standard. Because they’re so quick and easy to prepare, little chaffle “pizzas” make a lazy dinner satisfying.
Will this trend last, or is it a mere flash in the waffle maker? It’s hard to say. I think, however, that when a trend satisfies a need, it’s probably here for the long run.
Basic Chaffle Recipe
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Makes: 2 chaffles
Sprinkling a little cheese on the waffle iron before adding the batter adds additional crispness, but it’s optional. The waffles will be soft when first removed from the iron but will crisp as they cool. This recipe is designed for a personal-sized waffle maker. Double this recipe if you’d like to prepare it in a larger waffle iron. Refrigerate any extras for up to 3 days or freeze for longer storage.
1 large egg
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella, plus additional for sprinkling on the iron
1 tablespoon almond flour OR 1 teaspoon coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1. Heat the waffle maker. In a small bowl, beat the egg with a fork until it is well blended (as for scrambled eggs). Stir in cheese, almond or coconut flour, and baking powder until well blended.
2. For extra crispness, scatter a little mozzarella over the waffle iron’s bottom surface. Let it melt for a moment, then spread approximately half the batter onto the bottom surface. Top with a few sprinkles of extra mozzarella, if you like.
3. Close the waffle iron and allow the chaffle to bake until it stops steaming. Lift the lid — if it offers any resistance, cook a few moments longer — and transfer the finished chaffle to a paper-towel lined plate to cool.
4. Repeat with remaining batter, using mozzarella sprinkles before and after adding the batter, if you like.
Nutrition information per chaffle: 137 calories, 9 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 111 mg cholesterol, 3 g carbohydrates, 1 g sugar, 10 g protein, 346 mg sodium, 0 g fiber
White Bread Chaffles
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Makes: 2 chaffles
Many people prefer these to basic chaffles if they have a sandwich in mind. You won’t taste the mayonnaise, but it contributes a little sweetness and makes the chaffles tender. The almond or coconut flour in these chaffles lends structure, so don’t omit it. It also helps absorb any extra egg. This recipe is designed for a personal-sized waffle maker. Double this recipe if you’d like to prepare it in a larger waffle iron.
3 tablespoons almond flour OR 1 tablespoon coconut flour
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 teaspoon water
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1. Heat the waffle iron. In a small bowl, beat the egg with a fork until it is well blended (as for scrambled eggs). Add the almond or coconut flour, mayonnaise, water and baking powder; stir until the mixture is well blended.
2. Close the waffle iron and allow the chaffle to bake until it stops steaming. Lift the lid — if it offers any resistance, bake a few moments longer — and transfer to a paper-towel lined plate to cool. Repeat with remaining batter.
Nutrition information per chaffle: 143 calories, 13 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 96 mg cholesterol, 3 g carbohydrates, 1 g sugar, 5 g protein, 144 mg sodium, 1 g fiber.