Chocolate, chile, and raspberries—some flavor combinations simply rock. Get ready for intense bittersweet waffles, with the occasional chunk of soft chocolate to bite into. Perfect for a brunch table during the upcoming holiday weekend! Don’t be afraid that whole grain spelt flour will make them gritty. These will bake up beautifully, with crisp edges and soft centers, thanks to a nice glug of extra-virgin olive oil. I recommend using turbinado sugar, also called sugar in the raw, as its caramelly aroma offsets the natural bitterness of dark chocolate and enhances the subtle nuttiness of spelt.
The amount of chile depends on your liking and the freshness of the spice in your cupboard: 1/2 a teaspoon will give you an occasional spicy bite—my choice—but go ahead and use 1 teaspoon if you want more of a hot kick. Please don’t use any chile if making the waffles for children. Kids might also prefer a less dark chocolate.
Ingredients really matter here: use a good-quality chocolate with 70% cocoa content, and I suggest seeking out Dutch-process cocoa which creates a richly flavorful dark treat. Natural cocoa powder doesn’t come close—trust me! I start by slowly simmering the raspberries for a naturally thickened sauce, but in a hurry just simmer the berries for a few minutes until they are warmed through. Both, the sauce and the waffles are sweetened ever so slightly, saving room for maple syrup.
This is how I serve them: waffle at the bottom, topped with a nice dollop of Greek yogurt, and spooned over with raspberry sauce. Last, drizzle on enough maple syrup to your liking. Sigh.
Makes about 4 (7-inch) Belgian-Style waffles, to serve 6
For raspberry sauce
1 pound fresh or frozen raspberries (do not thaw if using frozen)
1 tablespoon turbinado or granulated sugar, more to taste
For chocolate waffles
1 1/2 cups whole grain spelt flour (6 1/2 ounces, please see * below)
1 1/2 ounces Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup turbinado or granulated sugar
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 to 1 teaspoon red chili flakes (optional)
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 cups low fat milk
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 ounces chopped dark chocolate with 70% cocoa content (about 3/4 cup)
Confectioners’ sugar, for sprinkling (optional)
Greek whole-milk or low-fat yogurt, for serving
Maple syrup, for drizzling
To make the raspberry sauce
1 Add the raspberries and turbinado sugar to a small heavy-bottomed pot. Bring to a boil and simmer over low heat for 25 to 30 minutes until fallen apart and thickened. Can be made up to 3 days ahead. Gently reheat until warm.
To make the waffles
1 Place a wire rack on a large baking sheet and transfer the sheet to the center shelf of the oven. The wire rack will keep the waffles from getting soggy. Preheat the oven to 200°F.
2 In a large bowl, whisk together the spelt flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, chili flakes, and salt. Make a well in the center. In a medium bowl, whisk the milk, eggs, and vanilla extract until blended. Whisk in the oil. Add the wet ingredients to the center of the dry ingredients and fold together with swift strokes. I always use a dough whiskhere, but a spatula works fine. Do not overmix; the batter should have a pebbled look, with many lumps. Fold in the chocolate. Allow the batter to sit for 5 minutes while preheating the waffle iron (or chill the batter for up to 1 hour).
3 Lightly grease the waffle iron with oil or coat it with cooking spray. When a drop of water sizzles and briskly evaporates on the surface, add 1 scant cup batter to the center and level with a spatula to distribute (or as specified in the manufacturer’s instructions). Close the lid and cook until the waffles are golden and can be removed easily using tongs, 31/2 to 4 minutes. Transfer the waffles to the baking sheet until ready to serve. Do not stack them, as they will become soggy. Continue until all the batter is used, lightly greasing the waffle iron in between as necessary.
* On measuring flour: when working with whole grain flours, I recommend using a digital scale for best results. I’ve explained the reasons in detail in my book, Ancient Grains for Modern Meals. Here is how you can come close:
1 Fluff or stir the flour with a fork to aerate slightly.
2 Spoon flour into your measuring cup until it is overflowing. Do not pat down, shake, or bang the cup on the counter, as this will compress the flour.
3 Using a thin-bladed knife or a slim metal spatula, sweep across the top to level the cup.