for making waffles - a breakfast or dessert fare, which is similar to pancakes, yet lighter and sweeter. Making waffles takes few ingredients and very little time, given the nature of the waffle maker. The machine shapes the waffle including the series of grids which become lovely small recesses for later filling with syrup.
Though not necessarily a kitchen essential, you will find a waffle maker in many kitchens. A waffle maker brings home the restaurant breakfast experience. Waffles look elegant and add flare to an otherwise boring or plain breakfast meal.
Waffle makers are sold mostly as stand alone appliances, but one can also be a component of a counter grill or griddle set that has interchangeable plates. For the person that lacks counter or storage space, buying a combination appliance that can multitask with a waffle function, can be the ideal solution. On the other hand a stand alone waffle maker does not take much room to store - some can even be stored on their sides, though they do vary in size by design.
There are basically two types of waffle makers. Those that make two or four small square 4" waffles and waffle makers that make oversized (6") round deep-pocket Belgian style waffles. Models that make other waffle shapes can also be fun to use. It's really a matter of preference, though you should also consider the amount of people you'll be serving. Deep-pocket waffles are a hit with many and most of these large waffles can easily be separated once done, into sections for sharing. Since waffles are made quickly - about 3 - 5 minutes, you can easily serve a family in short order.
For some families, a waffle maker is a must-have quick breakfast appliance. They will make several waffles at a time and freeze them individually, once they have cooled. This can be extremely convenient for a fast breakfast fare another day. Small square waffles can usually be reheated in a wide-slot toaster, but Belgian deep-pocket waffles cannot. These larger waffles can be heated in a toaster oven, range oven or microwave. Many also like the taste of waffles in their cold state.
Most square type waffle makers operate in a similar press-the-lid-down fashion. Belgian waffle makers however, might be either flip-style or regular and I find the flip-style to be very efficient when it comes to even baking. The flip of the machine allows the batter to freely flow into every part of the waffle mold and this can bake a much nicer waffle, than the regular non-flip style.
Waffle makers are unique and designed solely for making and baking waffles. You cannot really use this counter appliance for anything else, though you can vary the taste of the waffles by using different recipes or mixes, or adding spices such as cinnamon or nutmeg. I have also varied recipe ingredients to produce dairy-free, as well as egg-free waffles.
As for price, waffle makers are extremely affordable. You can find well-known brands of double square waffle machines for around $40 and popular Belgian waffle makers anywhere from around $50-60 and higher. All have a nonstick coating that should be oil-brushed occasionally to ease removal of baked waffles and keep the coating truly nonstick.
The waffle maker shown in the illustration is a Chef's Choice Pro Classic Belgian Waffle Maker Model 840. Chef's Choice has several brands of waffle makers including those for making traditional square waffles or deep-pocket Belgian waffles with either a flip-style or regular maker. Other popular brands include Cuisinart and Presto.
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