So I’m a big believer in repurposing.
I have a craft room that’s full of all sorts of crap from daily life, or from previous projects, joyfully sorted and labeled. Because if I ever overspend on a pair of shoes, I will totally make it up to the universe by reusing the shoe box for something crafty.
In your face, Logic!
But if you’re considering working on Round 4 with its forty million waffles, and maybe even buying a waffle maker if you don’t already own a great one, let me show you the myriad of possibilities the World of Waffling will open to you. Repurposing done right – way better than purchased frozen waffles, and way WAY better than shoe boxes.
WAFFLE IDEAS WITH WHAT YOU ALREADY HAVE
As I’ve said before waffles are super versatile. And a waffle is one of those foods that automatically elevates a meal to “special” – no matter how mundane it really is. Take a sandwich, for example. Normally, I avoid them like the plague. But if you use a waffle in place of bread, you can pack way more protein into that little sandwich than anything out of the frozen section at the store can do (see my Pumpkin Spice Waffle recipe here for proof), and you can actually guarantee that it will get eaten.
Because, seriously, my kids will eat anything that came out of a waffle iron. They will eat each other in their desperate attempt to be the first one to make it to the thing that just made it out of the waffle iron. In my household, you sleep with one eye open.
Plus, if you have the right waffle maker, this is just another process that you can set going and forget about until the chime goes off, zero guesswork or extra checking. More on this in a minute!
So, in case the obvious syrup-in-a-Mini-Dipper waffle presentation is too bourgeois for your little one, here are a few of our easy and FUN ways to lunch on waffles:
- Peaches ‘n’ Cream-wiches: Sandwich a tablespoon of cream cheese and some slices of peach between two waffle wedges (or cut one waffle in half and proceed as above). You can even do this with canned peaches packed in their own juice
- Strawberry ShortWaffle: Spread cream cheese and layer strawberries over a waffle, or sandwich between two waffle wedges. No more work than any other sandwich would have been, and much more special.
- Nutella-Banana Waffle: If nut allergies are not a concern for you (kids eating at home today, for example), you can spread Nutella or peanut butter between your waffle wedges and layer slices of banana. Bam. Your kids have now eaten a serving of fruit, and I don’t hear any complaints.
- Apple Pie Fritter Waffles: Slice apples thinly, and set your waffle iron to achieve a lighter-than-normal toast on your waffles. After your waffle iron beeps, layer the apple slices over your waffles, and give them another press in the iron on a very light setting. You can sprinkle with cinnamon when done. Freaking awesome.
Or, if you’re feeling particularly generous, make a 15-minute apple compote to send with their waffles –
- 2 Tablespoons Butter
- 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
- 2 apples, Peeled And DicedOver medium heat, melt your butter and add brown sugar, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add cinnamon and apples, and let the mixture simmer for 15 minutes or until apples are soft (you’ll have to turn down to low heat after a few minutes for this). Remove from heat and allow to cool.Go you, Parent-Of-The-Freaking-Year!
- Blueberry Pie Waffles – omit the spices in the Pumpkin Spice Waffles, and add a cup of blueberries to the batter at the end. Because who doesn’t love a purple waffle?
And stay tuned – there’s a whole list of savory waffles I’ll be making in a few weeks (think Grilled Cheese meets Morning Hash Browns – also, BEST use of holiday feast leftovers ever, just you wait!).
** Cream cheese tip!
By the way, if you include cream cheese in a waffle sandwich, but the treat won’t be consumed for several hours, you have one of two options: You can send the frozen waffle as is, without heating, and spread the cream cheese on, packing with ice packs as discussed HERE. Otherwise, you can heat your waffles by toasting first, and packing separately from the cream cheese in a food jar or tin foil and a metal box (like PlanetBox, which is not designed specifically to keep foods warm, but will work in this specific situation where your waffles are not particularly prone to provoking food poisoning, and you’re just looking for warmth). Cream cheese should always be packed around an ice pack if not being consumed within the next 1-2 hrs.
MAKING THE PERFECT WAFFLE
So I’d promised you guys a few weeks ago I would tell you exactly why I fell in love with my waffle iron. Because, when you’re making as many dozens of waffles as I do all at once to batch freeze for lunches, your waffle iron can make or break your whole experience, believe me.
I had mucked around with different waffle irons for awhile. Sunbeam and ZZ most recently, Black and Decker before that. They were, at best, Meh, Okay. At worst, a headache. I expect a small degree of sticking while the iron is getting really hot, and for that matter, I’m okay with the iron taking a little while to heat up. I had grown accustomed to having the little lights that would change colors when the waffle was theoretically ready (though the lights on my most recent Sunbeam really had to be held in the dark in order to be seen), and I really just kind of felt my way through it based on the amount of steam coming out of the machine, and when it stopped, and how the waffles smelled. Timing was never precise, but I’m pretty comfortable in the kitchen, and really only batch-make waffes a couple of times a year, so I assumed a lot of the responsibility the machine probably should have been carrying, and moved on.
Pathetic, I know. And totally unlike me, since you know by now I adore appliances that actually make my life easier, and not give me more to do.
Enter my new Cuisinart waffle iron.
Now, for the record, while I received the iron for free to test it out, the thing is entirely comparable in price to the other crap I had, and I would have gladly paid double that if I’d realized how amazingly easy it would make the entire waffle-making experience!
Why, you ask? What could a waffle maker possibly do that would make me love it so, particularly when I only use it a handful of times per year?
Well, for starters, I’m going to go ahead and cancel out that last statement. With how easy it was to use, and how precisely it did exactly what I hoped it would, I’m going to be using this baby a whole lot more than a “handful of times per year” from now on. But I digress.
It’s a 4-waffle iron, so starting there, it’s efficient. It’s still quite small, though, so I didn’t have to make a home for it on a counter. It’s non-stick, but unlike my other non-stick waffle irons, the “non-stick” description actually applied. Both sides are evenly toasted when you’re done, so there’s no need to flip the stupid thing, and there’s absolutely no upside to having one of those vertical waffle things that you can’t move around.
- Control/Complete elimination of guess work:
Guys!!! You know what a big deal this is for me! The thing’s got six settings for degree of toasting, which ACTUALLY WORK PERFECTLY! So, for a regular waffle, to be served immediately, I would probably choose a setting 4 for golden color and crisp texture. However, my oat-flour-based waffles are slightly softer than my usual recipes, which was an ENORMOUS headache with the other stupid waffle irons (they would tear, or I would have to open the thing several times to test their consistency – EVERY WAFFLE). But with this iron, I simply cranked the setting to a 5, and the things were perfect. Now, if you want to be the awesome parent who makes the Apple Pie Fritter Waffle I described above, you can just toast your waffles to a level 3, then place the apple slices over it, then toast for another level 3, and you’ll be done. For the record, each level increases your cook time by about one minute (so about three minutes for level 3, for example), so it’s super easy to estimate the time you’ll be spending in the kitchen.
- It has a BEEP!:
But here’s the thing! There’s no need to estimate anything, really. That stupid little light that turns red or green depending on whether you’re done, and that I always manage to ignore because it’s so dim and I’m so busy multitasking my lunches? On this thing, it’s accompanied by a BEEP! A FREAKING BEEP! Guys, it’s the little things in life, but really, I could entirely forget about checking on the waffles at all and go about doing whatever else I needed to do. I mean, seriously, I entirely forgot about them, until the thing beeped. And if my hands were full and I couldn’t go right away, the thing would wait briefly, and then BEEP AGAIN. Which, I know, will have some of you shaking your heads at me, but you don’t understand – I have four hundred voices in my head all talking to me at once, and if I don’t have a constant reminder that there is something to be watched for in the kitchen, I can very easily forget it. And knowing that once the thing beeped, I didn’t have to leave it in any longer, and there would be no second-guessing the machine to double check that the waffle really was ready, it was incredibly convenient to do.
I’m definitely in love. I’ve made my kids waffles for breakfast twice since I made them for lunch (and once, I was post-call, so you KNOW it’s idiot-proof!).
So go! Be merry! Waffle like it’s 1999 – but with much better equipment.
Must. Have. New. Waffle. Recipes!
I have been obsessed with waffles ever since my first pregnancy, 3 years ago. Just upgraded to an Oster double sided waffle iron. LOVE. Looking forward to trying out the pumpkin spice recipe next weekend I’m off call. But really really looking forward to grilled cheese waffles. Yay!
Quick question. How do you clean the dang thing? My last iron I would awkwardly hold over the sink at an angle and wash. Not even an option with my new set up. Any tips are much appreciated.
PS-found you on PMG.
Yay, waffles! I’ve been working on the dinner rounds, but will post another lunch round (with more waffles!) in a few months. SUCH a cool (and tasty!) way to give kids a portable meal!
Great question about the washing. If your iron plates aren’t removable, wipe down first with a paper towel (obviously, once it’s cooled – no cartoon burn scars here!). Then, put dish soap directly on a damp paper towel or a soft sponge (emphasis on “soft”) and use that to wash off any bits you didn’t get with the first pass. Wipe down with a damp paper towel afterward. I would definitely not hold over the sink for fear of killing the machine (or myself!) …
Hope that helps!
And YAY, PMG! 🙂