Lots of small appliances have come and gone in my kitchen, but one I never regret hanging on to is my waffle maker. We got it for a wedding present years ago, and while I don’t use it daily, I love getting it out and making fresh waffles for both sweet and savory dishes. It’s compact and easy to store (that’s key), and it makes reliably good waffles that are crisp on the outside and tender within.
Waffles are delicious, versatile and one of those dishes that never go out of style. A great batter is only a few steps away, and can be made with ingredients you have on hand. Here’s one of my favorite recipes. You can also add all sorts of enhancements to the batter, from sweet potato or pumpkin puree, to citrus zest or warm, rich baking spices, such as ginger, allspice, nutmeg and cinnamon. A waffle iron is an especially nice gift for someone with household food allergies. It’s nothing to make a big batch of great tasting gluten-free waffles for now—or to freeze for later.
You can pick up a good waffle maker for around $50, but you can certainly find one for less. Models that can be stowed easily in a cabinet are best. I’ve never had a ton of kitchen space, but I’ve never had trouble making mine fit. It’s a great gift on its own, or paired in a basket with real maple syrup, waffle mix, dried fruit and a printed list of suggestions on how else to use your waffle iron. The new trend is to use it for cooking bacon, pressing paninis, making omelets and all sorts of other dishes.