Whole Wheat Almond Waffles with Blackberry Vanilla Syrup

Spring is here. It feels so wonderful to finally utter those words. After a winter that surpassed even Laura Ingalls Wilder's The Long Winter, I felt certain it would never arrive. Now that is has, it feels fantastic. The sun is rising higher in the sky, flooding me with warmth when it touches my skin. The trees may not yet have leaves, but the grass is starting to turn green and I feel like I can finally release a sigh of relief. Even though the nights have a sharp chill, the days are warm and for now that is all I need.

After a Midwest winter lasting six months, this weather feels like a gift.

When spring arrives, I am drawn to fresh fruits and berries. Even though the season for most of these fruits has not arrived, I cannot help but fill my red basket at the supermarket with them. After a long winter of apples and clementines, a burst of fresh flavor from a berry, however tart, is welcome to take up space on my counter top. After my last trip to the market, I found myself with a few cartons of blackberries. After playing around with a few desserts (and reminiscing over an old favorite), I settled on making a syrup.

Though I did not yet know what it would smother, the scent of blackberries bubbling and boiling on the stove was too much to resist.

I eventually settled on a plate of waffles. Waffles, just as pancakes, have the unique quality to fill a person up until dinner time rolls around. The heartiness of a good waffle, accompanied with a warm spring afternoon, make for a perfect combination. With these waffles, I added a few crushed almonds. While I found that they added a pleasant flavor and texture, you could certainly eliminate them if allergies are a concern.

Drenched in blackberry vanilla syrup, these waffles were taken to new heights and made for a lovely Sunday brunch shared with the ones I love.

These Whole Wheat Almond Waffles with Blackberry Vanilla Syrup are sweet and grounded. Crushed almonds are folded into a whole wheat waffle batter. The resulting waffles are fluffy and chewy. Drenched with a blackberry vanilla syrup, the waffles become fruity and bright. These are lovely for a weekend morning when you find a little time for yourself. Bonus: while cooking, the house fills with the scent of toasted almonds.

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Whole Wheat Almond Waffles with Blackberry Vanilla Syrup

Yields 3-4 servings

Whole Wheat Almond Waffles
1 cup (120 grams) whole wheat flour
1/2 cup (60 grams) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups (350 ml) milk
3 tablespoons (40 grams) butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup (30 grams) sliced almonds, crushed into small pieces

Preheat waffle iron.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, melted butter, and vanilla extract. Stir in the crushed almonds. Slowly whisk the wet ingredients into the dry until just incorporated. The batter may be lumpy and that is okay.

Cook the waffles in the waffle iron according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Serve warm, topped with a healthy dose of blackberry vanilla syrup and fresh berries.

Blackberry Vanilla Syrup
6 ounces (170 grams) fresh (or frozen) blackberries
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan, sprinkle the sugar over the blackberries and cook over medium heat. As the berries cook, stir with a spatula, pressing on them to break them up into small pieces. If the berries are not sweet, feel free to add more sugar. Continue heating until the berries have released all juices. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Strain through a fine sieve, if desired.

Serve warm over waffles, pancakes, or ice cream.