Storage is always an issue living in New York City, especially when it comes to much-coveted counter space; there never seems to be enough. It makes me pretty merciless when it comes to appliances and kitchen equipment. This also means I can’t afford to keep any one-trick ponies hanging around, so it was only logical for me to look beyond basic waffles when it came to cooking with my waffle iron.
A few years back I read about waffle grilled cheese in Jennifer Carden’s Toddler Café cookbook. It’s easy. Instead of cooking your grilled cheese in a skillet on the stovetop, you throw it into a preheated waffle iron doubling as a panini press. It’s a genius idea, and makes its way into my daughters’ lunchboxes a few times a week. My husband, Mikey, loved it so much that I would often gussy up the filling by using fresh mozzarella and tomato jam. It was the best of both worlds for him, from a culinary standpoint.
Then my eyes were opened even wider when my friend Silvana’s book, Cooking for Isaiah, came out. She had the brilliant idea of making shredded potato pancakes in her waffle iron. This works better in a standard waffle iron than a deep Belgian-style one, and is a fun twist on latkes.
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Think beyond the typical breakfast waffle and try to incorporate sweet and savory flavors to take waffles beyond breakfast and into lunch and dinner. We’ve rounded up Food Network’s top five waffle recipes, each light, crispy and a cinch to prepare.
5. Pumpkin Waffles With Maple Walnut Apples – For a true taste of fall, top homemade pumpkin waffles with a warm, maple-apple-walnut topping.
4. Gingerbread Waffles – Craving the classic gingerbread aromatic scent that often accompanies with the holidays? Rachael’s easy recipe will have these waffles on the table in less than 30 minutes.
Get the top three waffle recipes
I grew up in a waffle-loving household. At least one Saturday morning a month, my sister and I would convince our dad to stir up a batch of batter and pull out his curvy, chrome waffle iron (circa 1955).
He’d serve up the waffles as they came off the machine and it was up to us to add the butter and maple syrup (though my mother would watch our syrup application carefully to avoid over consumption). Often, my dad would make a double batch so that there’d be waffles for the freezer and weekday morning breakfasts.
These days, I make waffles on the same loose, monthly schedule that I know from growing up, always making some to eat and a few for the freezer. I used to be devoted to a vintage waffle iron that was much like the one I grew up with, but then, four years ago, someone gave me a modern one. It has nonstick plates and a timer that chimes gently when your waffle is finished cooking. It is heaven.
Before you fire up the waffle iron, read these tips »