Pros: Easy to clean, easy to store, great results
Cons: On/off sequence of the Ready Light might be confusing ( or maybe it's just me)
I finally caved in and got a waffle maker. Since my nutty hubby doesn't like waffles very much (he's obviously from another planet), making waffles for myself just didn't seem practical. But I hate the frozen ones, and... oh what the heck!
Enter the Black & Decker Belgian Waffle Maker - just me and B&D are gonna have breakfast!
~ Product Description
The Black & Decker Belgian Waffle Maker makes the round Belgian waffles, scored to break into four pieces. The full round waffle is about 8" in diameter. A nice, big waffle that fills up your plate, assuming you're eating the whole thing, like moi!
The waffle maker itself has a classy chrome exterior, with black, heat-resistant handles. This is a very simple, basic unit.
Other nifty features include:
- Non-stick cooking surfaces
- Stands upright for easy storage
- Ready light that signals preheating and also when waffle is done
~ Before Using
The user's guide tells us this step before using is Important! I followed it to the letter, and my results have been fantastic. So I urge you to just take a moment and season your waffle maker thusly:
Even though the cooking surfaces are non-stick, conditioning the surfaces with a little oil prior to the first use will give the best results.
To condition, before you turn the unit on, brush cooking oil lightly over the surfaces. Or you can wipe it on with a paper towel. Using a small basting brush I found works great, and gets into all the crevices. Remember to do both the top and bottom grids. Then wipe off the excess oil with paper towels.
The first waffle you make is going to absorb all the excess oil. You may have to just throw away that first waffle, although mine was fine.
~ How to Use the Black & Decker Belgian Waffle Maker
Okay, now that the unit is all conditioned and ready to go, just plug 'er in. It's got a polarized plug, and a short, 2-foot cord.
When you plug it in, the Ready Light comes on to indicate that the unit is preheating to the proper temperature. This is the perfect time to get your batter ready. After about 5 minutes or so, the light will go out, which indicates the unit is ready to bake.
Open the lid and pour about 2/3 cup batter on the lower cooking grid. I HIGHLY suggest you measure out the 2/3 cup, so that batter doesn't run out the sides. Take a spoon or a rubber spatula and gently spread the batter all the way to the edges.
Put the lid down carefully. The Black & Decker Belgian Waffle Maker has a hinge that is designed to be loose so the waffle can rise evenly and to allow steam to escape. And trust me, steam DOES come out of the unit while the waffle is cooking, so be sure to keep hands away during cooking. The chrome part of the unit also gets fairly hot, but the handles do stay cool.
The Ready Light will come on again, and then goes off when the waffle is through baking. You can expect about 4-5 minutes for a waffle to cook, depending on the batter you're using.
Don't open the unit while your waffle is baking - which is SOOO tempting - because that may cause the waffle to stick or not bake correctly.
When the Ready Light comes on, your waffle should be done. You might want to cook it a little longer though, if you like a crispier waffle.
Open the lid, and using a fork, gently pry the waffle out. Take care not to gouge or scratch the non-stick surface. If your waffle tends to stick, re-oil the surface again before you bake the next one.
We are told to keep the lid closed between batches so the heat remains constant.
~ Care and Cleaning
Just let the unit cool before cleaning. Wipe the surfaces with a damp sponge or cloth, or paper towel. Do NOT immerse the unit, or run water directly onto the cooking surface. Wipe the exterior if necessary, and you're good to go.
Since this has non-stick surfaces, take care not to use steel wool or other abrasives. If by chance you have some cooked-on food, use a plastic bristle brush or nylon-type mesh pad.
Yes, you DO have a place for this waffle maker! It can stand on its end with the cord wrapped around the base, so it will easily store in a cabinet or on a shelf. It really doesn't have a big footprint anyway, but standing on edge it's even smaller.
~ My Experience
The user's guide does give a recipe for waffle batter, one basic recipe. But I used a pancake mix, using the waffle batter version given on the box, where all you have to do is add water and a little oil. I whipped up the batter while the Black & Decker Belgian Waffle Maker was heating up.
I measured out into a measuring cup 2/3 C batter, to avoid excess batter seeping out all over the counter. I poured it directly onto the center of the bottom grid, and spread it out to the edges. I closed the lid gently and let it cook.
When the light came on, I opened the lid to see a delicious, golden brown, perfectly shaped waffle! It came out of the unit easily with just a slight tug of a fork. Ahh...perfection! Now, should I have it with butter and syrup, or fruit and whipped cream......? I know, I'll make another and have both :)
Maybe it's just the sugar rush, but I was having a wee bit of a hard time remembering if the light should be on, or go out, or whatever in the whole process. I had to keep referring to the directions. There's only the one light - and even now I must refer to the instructions to remember the sequence: Plug it in, the light comes on. Light goes out and it's ready to bake. Pour in your batter, the light comes on. Then the light goes out. Then it comes on again when your waffle is ready. Do you find that confusing, or is it just me?
In any case, I managed to bake two scrumdillyicious waffles and proceeded to hog them down like it was my last meal. (what diet?) They both came out cooked to perfection, and with absolutely no sticking whatsoever.
Clean up was almost non-existent. There was nothing on the grids at all. I took a cursory swipe, but I could have just put the unit away.
Then on a Sunday I told hubby I was going to make myself a waffle, did he want one? Oh, okay, he says, I'll try one, but make sure it's not real crisp. You have no idea what a concession that is, because he rarely eats breakfast at all, much less waffles. I made him a waffle, took it out as soon as the light came on so it wouldn't be too crisp. Butter, warmed maple syrup, the whole nine yards. He ate it. I asked him what he thought, and he said, "Yep, that's a waffle." Best I could hope for from him, but he did eat the whole thing.
Personally I like my waffles a little crispy on the outside, and I've found that if I let it bake for about one minute longer it comes out just the way I like it.
~ Final Thoughts
If you like waffles, you've got to get this. It is foolproof, as long as you measure the batter. My waffles have come out perfectly EVERY time. You can control the crispiness of your waffles by how long you let it bake. It has a small footprint and is easy to store. Clean up is a breeze. Give your family a treat and make up a batch of waffles this weekend.