If cooking is a game, give big points to whoever invented chaffle, a hot sensation in the internet and social media food world.

The basic recipe for the flourless creation popular with people on a keto or gluten-free diet is cheese and eggs, which are combined and cooked on a miniature waffle iron.

Mash up the words “cheese” and “waffle” and you have chaffle.

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Seasonings can be added for sweet chaffles like a typical breakfast waffle, or switch to savory profiles for reimagined chaffles like a sandwich bun or hamburger bun substitute.

People on gluten-free and keto diets are always interested in appealing bread alternatives. But high-protein, high-calorie chaffles are also appealing to others because they are filling.

Two flakes have about 450 calories combined when made with a cup of mozzarella and a medium egg. That’s more than double the 200 calories for two typical frozen waffles.

But, unlike high-carb waffles, chaffles don’t leave you looking for a post-breakfast nap.

I was living in a no frills world until recently when a friend shared a photo of her creation on social media. I made a few keto-friendly dishes and was intrigued, especially by the simplicity of the recipe.

Google jokes and hundreds of recipe variations appear, including versions with more than a handful of ingredients, including almond flour and other grain alternatives. I played around with the original base recipe, keeping it simple.

Think of the chaffle as a canvas on which to build a meal.

A BLT with guacamole using flourless sprinkles to replace bread.

As with any recipe with limited ingredients, the quality of those ingredients is important. Cheeses can vary, but mozzarella is recommended because the flavor is so mild it’s practically neutral. I’ve also had great success with Monterey Jack for the BLT chaffle sandwiches with guacamole.

I’ve tested recipes using shredded cheese packaged in one batch and block cheese that I shredded on a box grater on a second attempt. The former usually contain a natural anti-caking ingredient which affects meltability, making them less than ideal for quesos and cheese sauces.

The body of the two cheeses in a chaffle held up, but the wrapped shredded mozzarella had a bit more structure and created a browner color that was more appealing.

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A miniature waffle maker is used to make a chaffle, a flourless mixture of egg and cheese to replace bread.  The word chaffle is a mixture of cheese and waffle.

Chaffles work well for a sandwich. If you eat them like a traditional breakfast waffle, don’t expect to cut them easily with the tine side of the fork. Chaffles do not yield under this type of pressure like a crispy waffle. You will need a knife to cut.

I also tested how to reheat a chaffle. If you bother to break out the waffle maker, you might as well make an extra for later meals.

Whether the chaffles are stored in the refrigerator or the freezer, they become crisp again when reheated in the toaster. I would not recommend reheating the chaffles in the microwave.

I also tested the alternative of baking the batter in a skillet instead of a waffle iron. The mixture cooks, but it is thinner than a waffle and more flexible. The honeycomb structure seems to enhance the body of a chaffle, so a waffle maker is advised.

The following is a basic recipe, with options to make it sweet or savory. The batter may be a little more than is needed to make two chaffles, depending on the waffle maker. Be careful not to overfill the machine or the batter may seep out and onto the counter.

Sprinkles aren’t a perfect substitute for bread, but they’re fun and a way to break up a monotonous eating routine. Making them is like playing with your food, but you get some healthy benefits.

Share your favorite recipes or historic food-related memories by emailing Laura Gutschke at [email protected]

Basic chills

Ingredients

1 medium egg

1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated (or substitute Monterey Jack with salted flakes)

Optional: favorite seasoning mix if using chaffles for sandwiches or burgers

directions

1. Heat the 4-inch miniature waffle maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

2. In a small bowl, beat the egg for a few seconds. Add cheese and stir until well blended. (Optional: Add a pinch of seasoning mix, such as steak seasoning, Goya all-purpose adobo mix, or anything but bagel mix.)

3. Place about half of the batter on the heated waffle iron. Do not overfill. Cook 3-4 minutes, until golden brown. Remove to a cooling rack.

4. Chaffle will firm up as it cools, so let sit for a few minutes before using to make sandwiches or burgers. Makes 2 chaffles. The flakes can be stored in the refrigerator for a day or two, or in the freezer for longer. Reheat the chaffles in the toaster.

soft sequins

Ingredients

2 medium eggs

2 cups mozzarella cheese, grated

1 tablespoon monk fruit or other favorite sugar substitute

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

directions

1. Heat the 4-inch miniature waffle maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

2. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs. Add cheese, monk fruit, cinnamon and vanilla and stir until well blended.

3. Place about half of the batter on the heated waffle iron. Do not overfill. Cook 3-4 minutes, until golden brown. Remove to a cooling rack and let stand for about 2-3 minutes. Serve with your favorite syrup, fresh fruit and/or whipped cream. Makes 4 chaffles. The flakes can be stored in the refrigerator for a day or two, or in the freezer for longer. Reheat the chaffles in the toaster.

Laura Gutschke is a generalist journalist and food columnist and manages the online content of the Reporter-News. If you enjoy local news, you can support local reporters with a digital subscription to ReporterNews.com.