You had me at Waffles & Ice Cream, Birch Benders!

birch benders - every day is a waffle dayI don’t know if my Mum realized it at the time, but there was a period during my childhood when my breakfast of choice was waffles with vanilla ice cream. No fruit, not even maple syrup, just a waffle and ice cream sandwich. Mad tasty, though as a parent now I cringe at the nutritional value of this meal. Still, you don’t have to be Eleven in Stranger Things to love waffles and the great news is that there are better choice son the market now than Eggos (sorry, Eleven).

There is some continuity here, however: We have a waffle iron and the kids enjoy making both pancakes waffles for breakfast or any other meal. Our mix of choice is from a Colorado-based food startup called Birch Benders. When the marketing team at Sprouts Farmers Market asked if I wanted to meet up with the Birch Benders team and enjoy a waffle and ice cream bar, well, it was a no brainer that I would make time in my schedule for something that important!

Birch Benders has quite a lineup of pancake mixes, actually, including a super popular line of Paleo options. Our favorite, after having tried quite a few flavors, is the Classic Recipe. What’s nice about them is that you don’t have to add anything other than water to whip up a delicious batter ready for the griddle or frying pan. Frozen waffles are new and it turns out that in their quest for the perfect waffle, the Birch Benders team ended up going to Belgium to find a Wafflemeister! It shows too, they’re tasty and don’t have the soggy texture I associate with frozen waffles.

They also have four flavors: Homestyle, Protein, Buttermilk and Paleo:

birch benders frozen waffles

Of course, the company had a nice little spread for us bloggers and influencers (which consisted of about 15 women and me, the token dad and token guy at the event) because people do not live on waffles alone. My favorite was the mini pancake kabobs, something I might well try at my next party:

pancake kabobs from birch benders

Don’t they look good? They certainly vanished like props in a magic show so I wasn’t the only person who found them delicious. Then again, Birch Benders is a pancake mix company so it’s no surprise at all that the little silver-dollar size pancakes were quite delicious, even without maple syrup. Unlike the big competitors, Birch Benders also has a modest and reassuring ingredient list. For example, the Classic pancake mix has organic wheat flour, organic cane sugar, leavening (sodium bicarbonate, monocalcium phosphate, non-GMO corn starch), salt, organic potato starch and organic cassava starch. That’s it.

The company name comes from co-founder Matt LaCasse’s childhood in Maine. Apparently he and his mates liked to climb birch trees, which had a tendency to bend as you went further out on the branches until at a certain point the tree would fling you up into the air. Seems dangerous to me, but Matt must have loved it! The name “birch bender” refers to this childhood stunt. FYI.

We ate, we talked, we shared stories about the extreme heat we’ve been enduring in Colorado for the last few weeks, and finally what we were all waiting for happened: they opened up the dessert waffle bar. At least a dozen different flavors of ice cream, chocolate sauce, peanut butter sauce, chopped nuts and lots of other toppings, all intended to make our waffles not only taste fantastic but look delicious too. Here’s what I created:

waffles and ice cream - birch benders

You can’t tell me that doesn’t look amazing! It tasted mighty good too, and I tried one Homestyle and one Buttermilk waffle. I can report that both were delicious and it was only with great self restraint that I avoided heading back for seconds. 🙂

Breakfast can be one of the more difficult meals of the day, so I am very appreciative that Birch Benders has so many great – and healthy – pancake and now waffle options. The pancake mix was already popular in my house so I’m confident the waffles will be a winner too and certainly quicker and more convenient than cooking up our own. Thanks to both Sprouts Farmers Market and the Birch Benders team for inviting me to this quite tasty evening affair.

Disclosure: Birch Benders covered my dinner and the delish waffles & ice cream dessert in return for this writeup. Sprouts also gave us each a bag of breakfast-related food goodies for attending too.

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