Cocktail Hour Waffles
You know when you have cheese and fruit and bread and nuts with a glass of wine and you kind of want to say “screw the main course, this is all I need in the entire world”? Well this recipe is for you. It is a riff off of a really famous Brazilian dish called pão de queijo, which is a gloriously puffy, cheesy, ball of pastry that is sort of similar to gougères. And I turned it into a waffle. And it happens to be gluten-free. Win.
Savory, light-as-air, cheddar-rosemary waffle. Served warm. With a crisp, apple, walnut, and cilantro relish. A dash of pomegranate molasses (or honey) to offset the bitterness. Cheesypuffyherbysweetandsalty all in one bite.
This dish is multifunctional. I venture to say that it would be appropriate to eat at any meal, and to serve for any crowd (as long as the crowd isn’t dairy-sensitive/avoidant). You can make a gigantic batch of the waffles ahead of time and keep them warm in a very low oven, and the relish can be made up to three days in advance. Also, if you don’t have a waffle iron, you can cook the batter in a pan as pancakes.
- 2 large Granny Smith apples
- 1¼ cup walnuts
- ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 lemon
- ¼ cup pomegranate molasses (or honey)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup whole milk
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- ¼ cup butter, melted
- 2 cups tapioca flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 4 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
- 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- Make relish: Chop up the apples, skin and all, into small pieces. Squeeze the lemon over the apples to prevent them from turning brown. Throw the walnuts into a dry pan and toast them until they are warm to the touch and you can smell them. Chop walnuts and cilantro up and throw them into the bowl with the apples. Drizzle over the pomegranate molasses, add a few big pinches of salt and pepper, and taste it. Adjust the seasoning as needed, but it should taste clean, crisp and not-too-sweet.
- Make waffle/pancake batter: Break the eggs into a large bowl and beat them thoroughly. Throw in all of the other ingredients except for the cheese and mix until it is smooth. It might take a minute to get the tapioca flour incorporated, but it will get there. This is a pretty thin batter. Don’t be weirded out.
- Cook waffles/pancakes: Heat up your waffle iron and grease it up with a little melted butter or some non-stick spray. Ladle in a little less than a cup of the batter at a time and evenly sprinkle a big handful of cheese over the top. This is important: Be sure 1) NOT to overfill the iron because this will puff up and 2) to make sure each well of the iron gets the same amount of batter. Also, expect the puffiness to deflate once you remove the waffles from the iron. No biggie. They still taste awesome. (If you don’t have a waffle iron, pour out the batter onto a preheated pan and make pancakes.)
- Top the waffles with the relish, and enjoy!