Friday, May 22, 2009

Shopping for a Waffle Maker

By Wilson G Myer

A waffle is basically made with a batter, and then cooked with a waffle iron that has been expressly patterned in order to give the waffle a characteristic and distinctive shape. Variations are usually made either via the differences in batter or even by the shape of the iron used.

Waffle making came to America in 1620 when the pilgrims first landed on the North American continent. Waffles were quite popular European fare, and Thomas Jefferson used to hold waffle parties or "frolics" as they were called. Waffles have been around for centuries, and in the Middle Ages, waffles were crafted by using two metal plates affixed by a hinge, with a wooden handle. This was held to cook over a fire and flipped for even cooking. These early waffles were referred to as wafers.

There are many distinct types of waffles and waffle makers. For example, Brussels or Belgian waffles often have deeper indentations, and are typically larger that an American style waffle. These waffles were brought to America for the first time at the New York 1964 World's Fair. Belgium is also the home of the Lige waffle.

Hong Kong style waffles are round and feature four quarters so that they can be easily filled with peanut butter sometimes, then subsequently folded into halves. Stroopwafels are a Dutch delicacy, and like the Hong Kong variety they are folded in half and a rich and very sweet mixture of syrup, butter, brown sugar, with a bit of cinnamon is added.

Using a heart shaped waffle iron creates Swedish style waffles. Often they are filled with whipped cream or sour cream and have berries or jams inserted within. In Norway salted varieties are used and often topped with blue cheese or brown cheese.

Waffle makers are now electric, have non-stick cooking plates and have handy light signals that let you know when to put on the batter, and even lights that signal you when the waffles are ready. USA waffle makers come in a plethora of styles including cartoon characters, the famous outline of the Disney Mickey Mouse character, and various hearts and flowers. The advantage of these is that of course children love them.

In addition to deciding on what shape of waffle iron to buy, you may want to have a retractable cord handy if you are working with a small space. You can also find compact waffle makers that can be stored sideways. Waffle makers may come equipped with a number of extra features as well, like the ability to make sandwiches or even cook meat, or choose a waffle maker with an LED display and electronic controls. Many models will even beep to let you know when to pour the batter, and again when the waffle is done.

Depending on what you are going to use your waffle maker for and how often you are going to use it, you can purchase waffle makers online or in department stores. If you require one with all the modern gadgets or if you are going to use it very often, then a restaurant supply store is your best bet. Just remember that once you begin making them, chances are that your family will be asking for waffles often! They then can become a healthy part of a balanced breakfast.

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