Gluten-Free Pumpkin Waffles

Gluten-free pumpkin waffles with maple syrup.

I haven't been baking much in our dorm-sized sublet. The Barbie scaled toy that pretends it's an oven (my lasagna pan- never mind my cookie sheets- won't fit) is totally, weirdly cattywampus. Pie plates slide to the rear and flip backwards like pancakes. And trying to fetch potatoes that have rolled off the back of the rack is often a futile act proving hazardous to your fingertips. I'm a slow learner. I burned myself twice. But I'm still smiling. For two reasons.

1. We found an apartment we love. I can walk to the beach. And the Santa Monica Farmers Market. And the Third Street theaters and shops and bookstore and cafes. Walk! As in, no car necessary. There isn't room to set up a painting studio (space is but a luxury so close to the beach) but. There is a brand new kitchen. With a shiny spankin' new stove. Virgin territory. Untouched by heinous proteins. This will be my first gluten-free kitchen, ever. We move in November first.
2. Then there is Tuesday. The premiere of The Canyon at Grauman's Chinese Theater. The first time we will see Steve's script on the silver screen. Larger than life. Edited to the director's vision. Am I excited? Of course. Am I nervous? Affirmative. Will it be the movie we dreamed of? Maybe it will and maybe it won't. The one thing I know for sure about movies is that film making is a magical, unpredictable process.

I read my husband's scripts with intricate emotions threaded with awe. It takes guts to start over- at any age. Following your dream (especially at mid-life) isn’t some gauzy pie in the sky back-lit experience. Magical thinking has no place in it. Or faith. It’s more about toughness and tenacity. And even that sounds too romantic.

The thing about big dreams is you have to get real. You have to face down your fear. You have to shed outworn habits and assumptions. You have to decide what is worth doing. And do it. And work at it. And work some more. This entails risk. On all kinds of levels.

A successful painter who made his living as an artist for two decades, Steve started reading screenplays and flirted with the idea of writing a script. But the thing is, it's rare to make a living as a painter- ninety-nine percent of painters never earn more than the cost of materials. And here he was, paying the mortgage with his art. The pressure he felt was to keep at it, keep painting, keep the momentum. Because everybody knows, once you got it you don't screw with momentum.

But then he had a dream.

In his dream a little boy (wearing the same striped shirt he wore as a child) handed Steve a silver key. The key opened a treasure box containing words on paper. It doesn't get any more Jungian than that. I knew then painting wasn’t enough for him. I knew then he had to write. What the soul needs is a mysterious thing. And so it goes. I bought him script software as a gift. That was twelve years ago.

He writes now daily. I line edit late drafts. I help with research. I examine female characters and dialogue with a woman’s perspective. We talk about structure, subtext and reveals over bowls of butternut soup. An odd synchronicity is afoot. I used to live in Hollywood- many, many moons ago. I did a little production work and continuity on independent film projects. I tried on the role of script girl. I loved it. But I didn’t possess the drive to stick with it. I didn’t have a true sense of self in my twenties, you see. I couldn’t hear my own voice. I didn't feel authentic. And so I left. I moved back to the east coast of my childhood. And lived another life.

Decades later, here I sit. In a Santa Monica apartment. Sipping yerba mate and reading over script changes on Steve's newest project, Killer Smile. I am hearing an Irish lilt in my head, picturing scenes that will soon spark to life thanks to producers, a director and cinematographer, casting director, actors, costume designer, wardrobe supervisor, art director, set decorator, location scout, sound engineers, camera assistants, focus pullers, boom operators, stunt men and women, grips, gaffer, a special effects team, composer, music supervisor, film editor, production managers and caterers. It all starts with words on paper.

And a willingness to screw with momentum.

Pumpkin waffles for breakfast. Yes, please.

Karina's Gluten-Free Pumpkin Waffles

Originally published October 2008.

For the pumpkin season- a waffle. I'm experimenting with grains higher in protein than your average gluten-free flour mix, but if you'd rather use your favorite gluten-free blend or wheat-free waffle and pancake slash baking mix, please feel free. You'll need 2 to 2 and 2/3 cups flour or baking and pancake mix.

Whisk together your dry ingredients in a mixing bowl:

1 cup sorghum flour or certified gluten-free oat flour
1 cup organic buckwheat flour
1/3 cup millet flour
1/3 cup tapioca starch (this adds a bit of crispness to the waffle)
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt, to taste
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Add in your wet ingredients:

3/4 cup pumpkin puree
4 tablespoons light olive oil
4 to 6 tablespoons raw agave nectar
2 teaspoons bourbon vanilla extract
2 organic free-range eggs or Ener-G Egg Replacer
1 1/2 to 2 cups hemp, almond, rice or dairy milk, as needed- start with less


Beat the wet into the dry ingredients to combine. Add enough liquid to make a batter that is a tad thicker than pancake batter.

Heat and prepare your waffle iron according to manufacturer's instructions. Note: even though my waffle iron is non-stick I oiled it lightly before using.

Serve with real maple syrup or agave nectar.

Try these waffles with my Maple Apple Breakfast Sausages for a real treat.

Makes 8 to 10 large waffles.

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Karina's Notes:

When I poured my first two waffles I had not yet added the tapioca starch; I was trying to create a whole grain waffle and was snubbing starches in my formula. The result was, Meh. They were soft and fell apart. When I added the tapioca starch the waffles turned out perfectly.

I made mine vegan and egg-free, so the addition of tapioca may have helped replace the eggs, even with my Ener-G Egg Replacer. I'm noting this to myself- with egg-free baking, tapioca seems to be a starch that helps keep the vegan baked good intact, and adds texture.

Those of you who use eggs- if you try this recipe with eggs and choose not to include the tapioca starch, please leave a note in Comments and share with fellow readers: what worked, didn't work.

Gluten-free waffles are finicky and affected by humidity and flour choices. Adjust batter as you go- adding more liquid if it thickens too much; more flour if it becomes too runny.

Check out my recipe for Savory Waffles (for sandwiches, panini and bread crumbs).
For substitutions, please see my guide to baking with substitutions here.