Waffle lovers finally have their day of recognition on June 29, which is the day National Waffle Iron Day is observed. Some people enjoy their waffles plain with syrup, topped with berries & whipped cream. Who knew a simple machine would make such a big impact on our lives! Possibilities are endless with flavor that can be added, as well as items that can be placed inside the iron.
The waffle iron is usually two honeycomb-patterned metal plates hinged together. A person pours or places the dough between the heated plates and then closes it to bake the waffle. Other patterns are also currently on the market in modern time to reflect pop culture as the waffles are baked into famous animated characters and other shapes. Waffle iron got their start in the 14th century in the Low Countries. Even the earliest designs that were used over an open fire would have elaborate designs such as coats of arms and religious symbols.
The first patent in the USA for a waffle iron was in 1869, submitted by Cornelius Swarthout. In 1911, General Electric produced a prototype electric waffle iron. The first electric waffle iron was available to the general public in 1918. Waffle iron makers today offer a large variety of choices from waffle irons that make very thin waffles to those that can make waffle cones.
Fun Fact: Nike Co-Founder Bill Bowerman, an Oregon Track Coach at the time, used his wife’s waffle iron to create a sole for footwear that would be light weight but also grip a surface. This design would soon be called the “Moon Shoe” in 1972 and the “Waffle Trainer” in 1974. His waffle iron shoe helped spur the growth of Blue Ribbon Sports / Nike.
In today’s world, there are many choices of waffle mixes however making it from scratch is the best way to go for the fullest flavor & quality.
Basic Waffle Recipe:
2 C. All Purpose Flour
1 tsp. Salt
4 tsps. Baking Powder
2 Tbsp. White Sugar
1.5 C. Warm Milk
1/3 C Butter, melted
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
In a large bowl mix together flour, salt, baking powder, & sugar; set aside. Preheat waffle iron to desired temperature. In a separate bowl, beat eggs. Stir in milk, butter & vanilla. Pour milk mixture into flour mixture; beat until blended. Ladle batter into a preheated waffle iron. Cook waffles until golden brown and crisp. Serve immediately.
Substitute Orange, Lemon, Almond, Rum extracts for vanilla to add another level of flavor. Fresh herbs can be added into the batter as well. Fresh herbs will increase the flavor greatly, due to the natural oils within the herbs. Best way is to experiment and taste the batter, before pouring into the iron. If using fresh herbs, back off on the extract quantities.
Other ideas that can be pressed into waffle form:
Leftover mashed potatoes mixed with shredded cheeses, scallions and topped with sour cream
Pillsbury Grand Biscuits
Refrigerated pie crusts
Fresh baked soft pretzels
Waffles have long been pigeonholed as a sweet, simple breakfast food. To limit them to your morning meal is to ignore the incredible potential of this under-appreciated bready wonder. Just think of slathering waffles with fresh Pulled Pork au Jus & topped with a Habanero-Peach salsa, makes my mouth water!
From sweet to savory, let your imagination lead you to new & creative ways of preparing and eating waffles!
Just in time for Fall, find a great Pumpkin Waffle here:
Valley Ledger Contributor,