I received the Waring Professional Belgian Waffle Maker as a Christmas present from my father. Mine is black but other than that is the same one pictured. My father uses his often and we have had waffles at his house. They really did taste just like restaurant waffles and they seemed to be very easy to make. The only accessories to the waffle maker are a measuring scoop (not a measuring cup) and a drip pan. The scoop is for accurate measurement of the waffle batter before cooking it. The drip goes underneath the waffle maker to catch any grease that may come out (which isn't much.)
Recommend this product?
The unit is very easy to get ready before the first cooking. You remove any possible dust from shipping by wiping it with a soft damp cloth. Once you plug it in, you turn it on until it beeps which takes about four minutes. You then spray both sides of the interior with a non-sticking cooking spray. The instructions say it is extremely important to pre-heat the machine and then use the spray for the first time.
The waffle maker takes up a moderate amount of space, but it's not huge. It's about 18 inches long and 12 inches across at its widest point which is the back end of it. There is a handle which sticks out but also collapses. This is used to rotate the waffles and also to lock and unlock the top and the bottom grids of the iron itself. There are only two operating features on the machine: one is the on/off switch and the other is the browning level setting. The settings range from 1-6 with the recommended setting being 4 for golden brown waffles. From my experience at my dad's house as well as my experience from using the machine, that is the perfect setting. The waffles come out slightly crispy on the outside and slightly chewy on the inside. Obviously you can make them softer or crispier by adjusting the setting.
There are several recipes for waffles from scratch in the instruction manual. Most of these are more effort and ingredients than I would care to put into making waffles as they call for flour, dry yeast, sugar and a few other things. Luckily my father also gave us a 10 pound bag of Krusteaz Pancake Batter Mix. He has found this to be the easiest and the tastiest batter and I have to agree. Whereas with mixes like Bisquick you have to add eggs, all you have to add to Krusteaz is a cup and a half of cold water and two tablespoons of cooking oil. It doesn't get much easier than that (I'll have a review posted on the Krusteaz mix later). Once you LIGHTLY mix the batter, oil, and water, you take the measuring scoop and fill the batter up to the fill line on it. For thicker batters, you use a little bit less.
To cook the waffle, you turn the machine on and then press your desired setting level and wait for it to beep to tell you that it's pre-heated and ready to use. With my preferred setting of "4" it preheats very quickly. To pour the batter onto the waffle maker, you unlock the top and the bottom with the switch on the handle. Then you pour the batter directly into the center of the bottom plate and spread it out to the edges with a plastic or rubber spatula (do not use metal since the plates are non-stick coated and it would scratch them). I have found that if you do not spread the batter all the way out, it just makes the waffles smaller but the quality is the same. Once you close the top, it automatically locks and then you turn the handles to the right 180 degrees to cook it evenly. Once the waffle is done (about 4-5 minutes), the unit will beep and then you flip the unit 180 degrees to the left. You unlock the unit with the switch on the handle, the top plate pops up, you turn the unit slightly sideways with the handle and VIOLA! The waffle slides right off onto your plate. No drip, no mess, no grease.
Cleanup is very simple too. You wait for the unit to cool and then wipe the plates with a wet paper towel. After my first use, I did not wait for the unit to cool and turned the machine sideways and a small amount of grease from the cooking spray dripped out but it wipe up easily. There are no crumbs left behind and really there is no mess.
The unit takes up a little bit of space as mentioned, but you can store it or use it sideways. There are a couple of space-saving features on it too. The cord can be completely stored underneath the machine by wrapping it around a piece in a recessed area. This is much better than the typical "wrap around the bottom" cord storage of some other small appliances. The handle also collapses so it does not stick out and saves several inches of space when storing the machine.
The Waring Professional Belgian Waffle make is an awesome product. It makes perfect waffles, it's easy to use, it's easy to clean and stores relatively easily. Hopefully I'll be making waffles for many years to come.
Amount Paid (US$): 80