Waffles from your favorite 24-hour diner or local breakfast place are hard to beat. Fluffy on the inside, crispy on the outside, served warm and drizzled with the perfect amount of smooth maple syrup... How do they do it? Making high-quality waffles is easier than you think. With just a few simple tricks, you can make delicious Belgian waffles from the comfort of your own home.
20 Things You Didn't Know You Could Make in Your Waffle Iron
Thomas Degeest, the Belgian-born founder of popular New York waffle truck (and one of America's best food trucks) Wafels & Dinges, shared some of his waffle wisdom with The Daily Meal.
"The first rule of calling something a Belgian waffle is: Don't use pancake batter," Degeest told us. Especially not if it's from a box. While some boxed foods are just better than homemade, waffles should be made from scratch. "Our desire for convenience has led us to make waffles and pancakes out of the same mix. Let's stop doing that!"
Since you want your waffles to have a different consistency from pancakes, it makes sense that you should be using a different type of batter. Find a recipe for homemade waffles, like this one from popular chicken and waffles spot Sweet Chick. Degeest says not to opt for a recipe that cuts corners.
"Use a lot of butter," he advised. "This makes waffles that are very, very rich and delicious." People tend not to cook with lots of butter anymore, but this is a big mistake.
The quality of your ingredients matters, as well. Ensure you use high-quality flour, real vanilla extract (not artificial!) and quality sugar. At Waffles and Dinges, they import a type of sugar called pearl sugar. "It's imported from Belgium," Degeest said. "It has a very high melting point, so it doesn't burn when we cook our waffles at high temperatures."
In addition to the batter, your choice of waffle maker can make or break the quality of your breakfast. Don't buy a cheap, flimsy waffle maker. Instead, look for a machine with thick, heavy cast-iron plates. "The heavier the machine, the better," said Degeest. "If you have thin, flimsy plates, you're not going to have enough heat transfer into your batter and your waffle isn't going to come out as good." Rather than a dense, golden-brown waffle, you might end up with something that feels flimsier, like a pancake.
You also want to ensure that the waffle iron is piping hot and ready for use before you start pouring in batter. "If you hear it sizzle when batter hits the iron, you know it's hot enough," he said.
It might take a few rounds of trial and error before your waffles come out just right, but your end result will be worth it. Once you've perfected your homemade Belgian waffles, you can make sweet and savory recipes with waffles at any time of day.