After narrowing the list of finalists to six waffle makers, we ordered them and put them through a series of tests in our office, all of which were designed to measure the differences between each of our finalists. We took the data we gained from our testing and factored it in alongside the features that each waffle maker offers (indictor lights, ability to flip, etc.).
Moving into the 17th century, unsweetened or honey-sweetened waffles and oublies – often made of non-wheat grains – were the type generally accessible to the average citizen. The wheat-based and particularly the sugar-sweetened varieties, while present throughout Europe, were prohibitively expensive for all but the monarchy and bourgeoisie. Even for the Dutch, who controlled much of the mid-century sugar trade, a kilogram of sugar was worth ½ an ounce of silver (the equivalent of ~$7 for a 5 lb. bag, 01/2016 spot silver prices), while, elsewhere in Europe, it fetched twice the price of opium. The wealthier families' waffles, known often as mestiers, were, "...smaller, thinner and above all more delicate, being composed of egg yolks, sugar, and the finest of the finest flour, mixed in white wine. One serves them at the table like dessert pastry."
There are countless styles of waffles, including the light and crisp Italian gofri, the sugar-speckled Belgian liège, and the charming, heart-shaped Scandinavian vafler. For our testing we decided to limit ourselves to the two most common waffle styles in the United States, broadly divided into the "American" and "Belgian" categories. Although there are dozens of varieties of "Belgian" waffles alone, for marketing purposes, thicker waffles with deeper wells are considered Belgian, while shallow, thinner ones are categorized as American or "regular." Both American and Belgian waffles can be made in either a circle or a square shape, so it’s up to you to decide which form is more waffle-y to you.
By the 16th century, paintings by Joachim de Beuckelaer, Pieter Aertsen and Pieter Bruegel clearly depict the modern waffle form. Bruegel's work, in particular, not only shows waffles being cooked, but fine detail of individual waffles. In those instances, the waffle pattern can be counted as a large 12x7 grid, with cleanly squared sides, suggesting the use of a fairly thin batter, akin to our contemporary Brussels waffles (Brusselse wafels).
Here are two ads that show the Manning Bowman Smokeless Table Broiler in direct competition with the Farberware Broiler Robot. These ads came from facing pages in the September 18, 1941 issue of LIFE magazine, and are a very rare example of head-to-head competition. The Farber item was priced $2 less than the M-B appliance. They were still both expensive! $7.95 and $9.95 in 1941 would be approximately equal to $168 and $210 in terms of 2005 purchasing power. We note that the Manning-Bowman folks were practically "giving away" a very nice serving platter (for an extra $2) if you bought their broiler.
Germany became a leader in the development and publication of waffle recipes during the 18th century, introducing coffee waffles, the specific use of Hefeweizen beer yeast, cardamom, nutmeg, and a number of zuickerwaffeln (sugar waffles). At the same time, the French introduced whipped egg whites to waffles, along with lemon zests, Spanish wine, and cloves. Joseph Gillier even published the first chocolate waffle recipe, featuring three ounces of chocolate grated and mixed into the batter, before cooking.
One of my readers sent in the following photo of a Farber Broiler Robot in action. This is reader Frank cooking a steak in the Robot while generating power from a Kohler 1A2 portable power plant. This is the kind of gasoline generator that would have been used on farms prior to the Rural Electrification Administration. Frank brings his generator to various shows -- he has quite a nifty rig there!
The professional-style rotating design bakes extra-thick Belgian waffles in minutes. The unique 180° flip design evenly spreads the batter for waffles with a crispy outside and fluffy, tender inside. Countdown timer and digital display signals when baking time is up. Easy to store! Dual function base locks in a vertical position for compact storage.
Our second budget pick, the Hamilton Beach Belgian Style Waffle Maker (26009), is another compact, good-for-small-apartments machine that makes consistently excellent waffles. It produces waffles more like those of our winner: thick, Belgian-style, with a crisp crust and a tender interior. Like the Cuisinart WMR-CA, however, this Hamilton Beach model tends to cost less than $30 but also feels somewhat cheaply made.
I really would like to give this place better reviews, but the service is SO BAD. I came twice, once during lunch and again during breakfast (but early, so it wasn't even crowded). Both times I sat outside, and both times the service was inexcusably bad. At breakfast, my husband never got a refill on his coffee. Both times I sat for so long that I wasn't sure if I was supposed to get up to place my order at the counter (I wasn't).
The ones we definitely tend to avoid are the machines which claim to be able to make both great American and Belgian waffles. The old cliché “Jack of all trades, master of none” almost always holds true when it comes to models which supposedly are versatile enough to produce terrific waffles whether you prefer them thin or thick. The optimal construction of a waffle maker is very different for each type, and there’s no way a quality machine can do justice to both.
“Leslie Knope is my spirit animal, as I am completely obsessed with waffles, and I am a little bit crazy just like her. She would love this waffle iron, but then she would probably trash it after one use because she would be scared of putting JJ’s Diner out of business. Thankfully, I don’t have a JJ’s Diner near me, and I like to make my own waffles. I can see Jerry/Larry/Garry Gengurch buying this waffle iron for Leslie Knope, and the mockery that would follow the next day as Leslie and the entire office would blame Jerry/Larry/Garry for putting JJ’s Diner in danger.
Wells continued to play a role even during the Swing Revival of the 1990s. On Monday nights, the Harlem Renaissance Orchestra played in a small corner of the restaurant and many of the original Lindy Hoppers (including Norma Miller and Frankie Manning) were regulars, joined by whatever newcomers (like the Rhythm Hot Shots) may have been in town. I made the pilgrimage to Wells in 1998. I loved the fried chicken and waffles, but I was not so thrilled about the carpet on the dance floor.
Of course, waffles aren’t the only thing you can make in a waffle maker; there are dozens of creative uses for these handy kitchen gadgets that can make breakfast, lunch, or dinnertime more fun (and more delicious). Whether you’re purchasing your first-ever waffle maker or you’re looking to replace an older appliance, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve rounded up 25 top-rated waffle makers, based on features and functionality, durability, ease of use, and other buying considerations. Our picks are listed below in alphabetical order for easy reference. Ratings information is based on customer feedback from Amazon.com and is current at the time of this writing.
In the pantheon of waffle irons, the All-Clad Belgian Waffle Maker is the undisputed queen, but she comes with a price tag to match—so if you're watching your wallet, it's worth considering the Krups as a good alternative. Still, if you can save up some dough to take the plunge, you'll be rewarded with the best waffles of your life. And the build of the machine is so solid, you can think of it as you would a Le Creuset Dutch oven or a vintage Griswold cast-iron skillet—an heirloom to pass on to future generations for hundreds of more happy Sunday mornings.
It’s not always easy to compare waffle makers, because there are a number of different styles: those which make thick Belgian waffles, those which make thin and crispy American waffles, ones which can make both types, and even some which have both corrugated surfaces and flat surfaces so you can fry an egg at the same time you’re preparing a waffle.
Allow the waffle maker to cool completely before cleaning it. Wipe the plates down with a soft, damp cloth or paper towel. Brush any crumbs off with a soft kitchen brush. Use a rubber spatula to pick off any pieces of batter stuck to the plates. For really stubborn spots, cover them with cooking oil, wait 5 minutes, then wipe them away with a soft cloth.
DO NOT OPEN the iron until the steam has stopped emanating from between the plates. If you have a Twin-O-Matic, you can set the temperature you want. If you have a Twinover, you have to rely on the thermometer to tell you when to "bake. On both, you'll have to watch the thing so that your waffles don't burn (this is very easy after a small amount of practice). Take the waffles out in the order you poured them.
The Cuisinart Vertical Waffle Maker (WAF-V100) seems clever at first: It stands upright, and you pour batter into a spout at the top. But Amazon customers complain that the spout clogs easily, and that it’s too small to allow add-ins such as blueberries or chocolate chips. Plus, this model won’t work at all if you want to waffle anything else, like grilled cheese or hash browns.
By the mid-16th century, there were signs of waffles' mounting French popularity. Francois I, king from 1494–1547, of whom it was said les aimait beacoup (loved them a lot), had a set of waffle irons cast in pure silver. His successor, Charles IX enacted the first waffle legislation in 1560, in response to a series of quarrels and fights that had been breaking out between the oublieurs. They were required "d'être au moins à la distance de deux toises l'un de l'autre. " (to be no less than 4 yards from one to the other).
The Chef’sChoice WafflePro Express Waffle Maker comes packed with features, such as a locking handle and cord storage, making it convenient to tuck away upright; two indicator lights; and an on/off switch, allowing you to store the unit plugged in (the only model besides our winning Cuisinart equipped with such a switch). Unfortunately, the waffles it produced were highly uneven in color, with pale edges and one side much darker than the other.