The First 9 Things You Should Make With Your New Waffle Iron

The First 9 Things You Should Make With Your New Waffle Iron
Photo: Claire Lower

The air fryer may have been the most talked-about appliance of 2020, but the waffle iron was the actual hero of quarantine cooking. Whether you’re reheating leftovers, transforming cake into breakfast, or mashing two pieces of pizza together to make a sandwich (or “panino,” if you will), the waffle iron is your friend (some might say your best friend). Here are a few of my favourite things I waffled this year. I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I do.

Leftover macaroni and cheese

Photo: Claire Lower Photo: Claire Lower

Cold slices of congealed mac and cheese go into the waffle maker, and — like magic — golden, crispy, hot slices of cheesy noddles come out. The cheese forms a delicate, crisp and lacy outer layer, while the insides stay tender and gooey for an excellent contrast in flavours and textures.

Tofu

Photo: Claire Lower Photo: Claire Lower

This is, quite simply, the best tofu I’ve ever tasted. It’s crispy on the outside and slightly chewy on the inside, with lots of little divots for holding your favourite sauces. My current favourites are this chilli oil and a mixture of infused soy sauce and hot honey, but you could drench it in BBQ for a meatless McRib kinda deal.

Waffled Tofu Absolutely Rules

Waffle makers are very good at getting foods hot and crispy, and that just happens to be how I like my tofu (and my SPAM, prosciutto crisps, and potato cakes). I also like my tofu saucy, and waffled tofu — with its little square cups — holds sauce like no...

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Store-bought crab cakes

Photo: Claire Lower Photo: Claire Lower

I would never suggest you waffle your beautiful, homemade crab cakes made with tender hunks of crab meat, but I must insist you try waffling one of the pre-formed, store-bought, mostly-filler crab cakes you can get at the store for four bucks a piece. A four-dollar crab cake is not a precious item, and you should have no qualms about squashing it between the plates of a hot waffle maker. Doing so transforms it into a crispy, crabby patty perfect for sandwiches, Benedicts, or a super easy appetiser.

Frozen pound cake

Photo: Claire Lower Photo: Claire Lower

Frozen foods are always good candidates for the waffle iron treatment, but this pound cake exceeded my expectations. It’s the perfect brunch item — a buttery, cakey waffle with a sweetness that’s tempered by its slightly crispy golden peaks and valleys. You can serve it with butter and syrup, or fresh fruit like you would any waffle, or be truly bold and use it to make a breakfast sandwich.

You Should Waffle Slices of Frozen Pound Cake

Frozen cake is an underrated convenience item, and Sara Lee makes a pretty good one. The All Butter Pound Cake is a very tight example of the genre and — though one is supposed to let it come to room temperature before consuming it — eating frozen slices as the...

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Pigs in a duvet (doona) cover

Photo: Claire Lower Photo: Claire Lower

This is by far one of the most absurd things I waffled this year, but it was also one of my favourites. It’s a perfect little packet of crescent dough and hot dog, all golden brown, with plenty of crispy nooks and crannies, which are perfect for holding condiments.

Leftover pizza

Photo: Claire Lower Photo: Claire Lower

I love cold, leftover pizza, but sometimes you crave something hot and cheesy, and nothing else will do. In those moments, waffled pizza is there for you. The key is to waffle two slices at the same time, laying them on top of each other with their toppings facing towards each other. The crust crisps up against the hot grates, while the cheese — which is pressed up against more cheese — warms and re-melts. Once the pizza is nice and hot, you can pull the pieces apart and eat them like pizza, or you can eat them like a sandwich (you can even add extra cheese in between the two slices, if you’re feeling decadent).

You Should Waffle Two Pieces of Pizza Together

I rarely reheat leftover pizza, simply because I love cold pizza so much. But this morning I woke up vaguely hungover, and that pair of cold, two-day-old Domino’s slices just didn’t seem that appealing. They were dry and kind of hard (I had not wrapped them up that well), and...

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Sausage balls

Photo: Claire Lower Photo: Claire Lower

It was not sausage ball season when I originally wrote about this waffle, but it is now. For the uninitiated, sausage balls are a combination of sausage, baking mix, and shredded cheese, rolled into balls and baked served as a holiday party snack or Christmas morning treat. When cooked in a waffle iron, the mixture of meat, cheese, and biscuit mix flattens into a crispy waffle with divots that can serve as a delivery system for eggs or maple syrup. It’s very good.

SPAM

Photo: Claire Lower Photo: Claire Lower

This is pretty much the only way I cook SPAM now. The waffle iron maximises the surface area of the canned meat, which maximises crispy edges. It’s the perfect salty, meaty treat, and it’s good in rice bowls, on breakfast sandwiches, and all by its (perfect) self.

Cheese

Melted cheese is a weighted blanket for your mouth. It’s calming, comforting, and warm. Not all cheese waffles well, but the ones that do — brie, curds, paneer, halloumi, bread cheese, and Parmigiano-Reggiano — do so beautifully. Firmer cheeses form brilliant, savoury crusts and get all soft on the inside. Waffled brie is similar to baked brie, except that waffled brie has convenient little waffled dimples for honey to pool in, which is a pretty major improvement.

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