“What do you guys want for breakfast?”
It was the Saturday morning after Thanksgiving, and my teenage son and nephews were sprawled lazily on the couch. There were a few mumbles and “I don’t know”s before a request for waffles. No, French toast. No, waffles. The three of them just couldn’t decide.
“How about both?” I suggested.
When I explained the goofy idea, they were all in — it was good for laughs, if nothing else. I pulled out the waffle iron and the white bread we keep in the freezer for French toast emergencies like this. I dunked a bread slice in eggs, milk and cinnamon, threw it on the waffle iron and closed the lid.
Three minutes later, the fraffle was born.
Everyone was curious what this breakfast absurdity would taste like. The verdict? “It’s actually pretty good,” was the reply. The loaf of bread was consumed within 20 minutes.
The fraffle — the name we gave our waffled French toast — has all the bready goodness of French toast combined with the crunchy indentations of a waffle. It worked so well, it got me curious about what else could be made on a waffle iron.
And of course, Google offered no shortage of ideas. I gathered the best, ruled out any waffle-iron specific recipes and gathered a distinguished panel of judges — my kids and sister, Kaylee Brewster.
Here’s what we found you could — and shouldn’t — make in a waffle iron:
Fraffles taste like French toast with an extra crunch where the indentations flatten and toast the bread. Those indentations also provide a little pocket of joy for your syrup, if you like that sort of thing. It’s easier (and less messy) to make than waffles.
The worst thing about making waffles is the mess, and I figured this suggestion would have me scraping egg off my iron for the rest of the day. But no. You grease that iron up with cooking spray, and the eggs have no trouble coming off.
But that wasn’t the biggest surprise. A couple minutes after pouring in the beaten eggs, the lid of waffle iron began to rise. Like, visibly move a significant amount. We were relieved to find it was the egg puffing up and not an alien.
The final product came off the iron easily and deflated quite a bit while sitting on the plate. It tasted like scrambled eggs, though it was overcooked in my opinion.
Grilled cheese sandwich.
There is not much in this world that beats the goodness of a grilled cheese sandwich — except a grilled cheese waffle. We had trouble with it sticking, but once it was off the iron and into our mouths, there was a rousing chorus of “mmmm”s. All that cheesy goodness gets an extra dose of crunch in the waffle iron, and it’s delicious.
We placed an unbaked pie pocket into the waffle iron hoping we’d end up with something like an empanada. But we didn’t. We ended up with something like a soggy apple-flavored pie crust. Ew.
Chocolate chip cookies.
The internet says that waffling cookie dough is a good idea and that you’ll end up with crispy, cookie-flavored waffles. But the internet lies sometimes. If you do this, you’ll end up with a pile of over-baked cookie crumbs. And a messy waffle iron.
We were skeptical that a waffle iron could contain the cheesy goodness of a calzone, and we were right. The result tasted more like a pizza quesadilla, which isn’t the worst thing in the world, but is not best done on a waffle iron.
When I was discussing plans for this waffle experiment, I told my sister we wouldn’t do anything crazy like waffle a banana. Then I stopped. Picturing it made me wonder if you could waffle a banana. Curiosity got the best of me — I like banana bread and fried bananas, so maybe?
Squishing a banana into a waffle iron was a satisfying sensation. But it was the only satisfying part of the experience. The banana stuck to the iron, despite a heavy application of cooking spray, and tasted like “banana bread I wouldn’t want to eat.” It was one of two items that ended up in the garbage.
I was hoping a waffle iron would get a pile of crunchy hashbrowns cooked up quickly. We sprayed the iron, threw on the shredded potatoes and cooked them. And cooked them. They just wouldn’t crisp up. I finally pulled them off the iron since parts were beginning to blacken. They weren’t the worst hashbrowns we’ve ever had, but they certainly weren’t the best.
Macaroni and cheese.
The internet has plenty of recipes for waffled macaroni and cheese, but we were committed to simplicity, so we just cooked a box and dumped it in. And out came the worst food crime committed in my kitchen in seven years. The crunchy noodles lost their cheese flavor and were coated in grease — which is probably why they didn’t squish together as the internet promised. One bite had us shivering in disgust and the rest went in the garbage.
Curious about a waffle iron’s deep-fry substitution potential, I found a simple recipe for elephant ear dough and added a little extra oil. I formed a thick slab, put it in the iron and sprinkled it with cinnamon-sugar. When we heard the crunch as the knife cut it into pieces, there was an audible gasp of excitement. These are amazing. The yeast dough bakes up perfectly, and the still-greased waffled texture gives the cinnamon-sugar plenty to hold on to. No, it’s not equivalent to a real elephant ear, but it’s good enough that we’ll definitely be making this again.