How To Buy A Waffle Maker - Tips&Tricks
After many years of cooking fabulous meals for my family, I decided to treat them to homemade waffles. I have no idea why it took me so long to take the step to buy a waffle iron, but for some reason, I was intimidated by the thought. I remember watching my grandmother make the most delicious, light, fluffy waffles, and I guess I just didn’t think mine would be up to her standards. Then one day I realized if I could bake cakes, breads and pies with the same excellent results as she, why not waffles? No doubt, my husband and two sons would be beyond themselves with glee if I surprised them with fresh homemade waffles one morning.
Different waffle makers types
But not just any old waffle maker would do. The first thing I did was take a long hard look at the different types of waffle makers. There are so many choices to be made.
The size and shape of waffle iron
Waffles come in all sorts of sizes and so do waffle irons… from the kinds that make the large thin waffles that my son Donald likes to the ones that make thick Belgian waffles with the deep craters that look like they can hold tons of fruit, butter and syrup in miniature bowls, which make my other son, James drool over. Then, there are all of those others in between the two extremes. I can’t recall ever having had such a hard time making a decision about purchasing a kitchen appliance.
How are the waffle makers made?
Of course, from watching my grandmother and her old waffle iron, I knew going in that all waffle makers are made up of two hinged metal plates, which are molded to create a checkerboard or honeycomb pattern. Making the perfect waffle is a true art. I guess that’s why I put off making them for my family for so long. On the surface, making waffles looks very simple; yet it is really a complex process of heating the iron to the right temperature, then pouring in just the right amount of batter, and closing the two plates to bake the waffle. Not letting it get hot enough or opening the waffle iron too soon means creating a mess that must be cleaned immediately and starting over and allowing your waffles to bake too long results in burned, inedible waffles and again… starting all over.
Choosing my waffle maker
The first decision I had to make was on the type of waffle I wanted to serve – think, thick, or something in between. Then I had to decide on the size – small squares four inches on each side – medium sized or gigantic waffles that take up all the space on a plate. I found myself leaning toward serving my family medium size Belgian style waffles, but really needed to talk with someone who knew waffles and waffle irons better than I.
I could have easily taken some time to research waffle irons on the internet, but rather than sit at the computer and pour over the dozens of different waffle makers on the market, I chose to make it a fun adventure and go see them for myself. Sometimes, there’s nothing at all like actually putting your hands on the merchandise, and talking with a real person who knows the answers to most if not all of your questions, so off I went.
My visit to the kitchen specialty store
When I arrived at the kitchen specialty store nearest my home, I asked the saleslady to point me in the direction of their waffle irons. She was more than happy to direct me to a section of the store where they had not one, but one entire aisle dedicated to waffle irons and told me that someone would be along to help me in a few moments.
As I waited, I browsed the offerings. The choices were so numerous, I was almost completely overwhelmed. By the time the waffle expert – not their title for the young man who scurried to my aid, but mine – I had eliminated only one waffle maker – the one that made makes ice cream cones. As it turned out, his name was Jeffrey. Jeffrey was far more helpful than his youthful face indicated, and I will be forever grateful to him for all of his help. He started by explaining the very basics, which I already knew – the different kinds of waffles, sizes, thickness, etc. – but I didn’t interrupt his presentation for fear that he might share some information I wasn’t aware of.
Waffle irons and non-stick surfaces
To my delight, I learned that most waffle irons come with non-stick surfaces, making clean up a much easier job for me than are the chore my grandmother had on her hands after treating us to her delicious waffles.
Internal thermostat and light signal
Many are also equipped with internal thermostats, making it nearly impossible to pour in the batter before the iron is hot enough. Some models come with a light that signals when the iron is at the ideal temperature and ready to accept batter without creating a disaster and many even signal when the waffle is done.
All of a sudden, the skill once needed to produce the perfect waffle doesn’t seem to be all that essential. If you can follow one of the many recipes for making waffle batter; and if you can read and follow the instructions that come with today’s waffle makers, there is absolutely no reason for not making perfect waffles in the twenty-first century.
Different waffle makers models
Jeffrey showed me many different models. Professional style waffle irons are attached to stands and would enable me to rotate or flip waffles half way through the cooking process and others require nothing more than watching the gauges and lights.
Do pro-style waffle makers that flip work?
When I asked if there were an advantage to purchasing a waffle iron that required flipping or turning the iron over one that remained stationary, Jeffrey told me that there really isn’t any proof that pro-style waffle irons work better than the non-flip type, but added that many users like because they are fun to use. That really didn’t impress me because the less work I have to do, the better. Then Jeffrey showed me some waffle irons that had adjustable temperature settings, which would allow me to keep waffles warm, to reheat or to adjust cooking time if necessary. My impression of those was so-so, and we continued to look.
Waffle maker prices?
The only real choices remained the type of waffles I wanted to serve my family and my spending limit. I was astonished to find the broad range of prices. Jeffrey showed me waffle irons that ranged in price from less than thirty dollars to super deluxe models like the Kitchen Aid Pro-Line waffle baker that cost more than $200.
After recovering from sticker shock, I still couldn’t decide whether to purchase a Belgian or traditional waffle maker. My son Donald and my husband prefer a somewhat thinner, more traditional waffle, and my son James and I go for the Belgian waffle. After Jeffrey’s brief overview of my choices and tour of the waffle iron lane, I was still leaning toward a Belgian waffle maker, but had not yet been totally convinced that purchasing one would be the best thing to fit all of our needs.
The task at hand was to find the waffle maker that would be best for all of us and fit within our budget. There was no need for me to even consider the waffle maker at the high end of the pricing scale, but I didn’t want a bargain if it wasn’t going to last more than a few months or a year. Jeffrey explained that most waffle irons are durable and stand up under normal wear and tear, that the decision would boil down to whether or not I wanted the convenience of a thermostat, signal lights or other bells and whistles. He suggested that since there are four of us, I might want to consider baking more than one waffle at once and suggested I take another look at the rather pricey Kitchen Aid Pro Line Belgian Waffle maker. It made two waffles at once, just like Jeffrey said, but it was extremely heavy and lacked features that I considered to be essential, like a temperature control gauge, which I had observed on the far less costly Villa Ware Uno Classic Round Waffler that also signals when the waffle is ready. Besides, during these tight economic times, with our investments not producing the income we had expected, an extravagant high end purchase was simply out of the question.
Jeffrey was a real trooper. He knew I was leaning toward the Belgian waffle makers and went out of his way to try to help me find the perfect one for my family and me; but I simply didn’t see one that appealed to me. Then, he asked, “How important is it that you have Belgian waffles?” I told him that I liked Belgian waffles, but that if I could get a good deal on a traditional waffle iron, I would be happy with that. Then, he showed me the Black and Decker G48TD Grill and Waffle Baker. It does not make Belgian waffles, but it does so much more than I had imagined any waffle iron capable of doing.
My purchase :)?
The Black and Decker GR8TD Grill and Waffle Baker not only makes one large waffle that can be split into four waffles that are four by five inches at once, but the waffle plates are also removable, exposing a smooth grill surface, capable of cooking eggs, pancakes, bacon, or sausage. I was ecstatic! Just imagine – one appliance that would enable me to prepare an entire meal. Not only would this make preparing a fabulously delicious breakfast a snap, it would also make clean-up a breeze. And best of all, it only cost $51.99. I asked Jeffrey to ring it up at once.
I took my purchase home and stowed it away, waiting for a day when nobody had to rush out for school, work or an extra curricular activity. After about ten days, we awoke to a lazy Saturday morning. I hadn’t even told my husband, Robert, about the waffle iron. I went into the kitchen as usual, and put on a pot of coffee while the fellows bathed and dressed. As they came to the kitchen one by one, they discovered that I was busy making breakfast, cooking sausage and on a new electric grill. Once the sausage was done, I set it in the oven to remain warm and inserted the waffle plates. James was the first to notice the maneuver and shouted. “Mom, what is that thing? Are you making us waffles?” Donald was in the next room watching cartoons on television and Robert was heading into the kitchen. My guys were so happy with the fact that they were able to enjoy perfect, fluffy, delicious homemade waffles without going out to a restaurant that once breakfast was done, they gave me a special treat. My fellows told me to sit back and relax with a book while they cleaned the kitchen. If I had known that I’d be treated so royally, I would have purchased the Black and Decker G48TD Grill and Waffle Baker a very long time ago. SO, now you know what buying a waffle maker looks like, maybe you can pick up some tips and decide which waffle maker
do you want to buy.
Thanks Mary for this report!
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