On most days, I’m expected to be at my desk by 10 in the morning. But since I’m the kind of person who is constantly teeming with an anxious energy, I can never sleep later than 6:15, which gives me ample time to make breakfast. Occasionally I go with eggs, while other days it’s oatmeal. But on most mornings it’s waffles on the menu. The crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, slightly chewy orbs—with their square rows that perfectly compartmentalize globs of syrup—are to me like the Eucharist to a Catholic at morning mass. It’s a sacred binding ritual to which I’ve become accustomed. Intense, I know, but it is the truth.
My waffle tastes lean toward the circular variety, not those thick Belgian bricks served with scoops of ice cream. That’s not breakfast. Round Eggo’s are fine in a pinch, but I prefer waffles from scratch, derived from thick pitchers of batter. That’s why I was excited to test the Calphalon Classic Round Waffle Maker.
The electric appliance creates circular four-sectioned waffles that are ½-inch thick and 6¾-inches diameter, a great size for a morning meal. The Maker doesn’t rotate like some of those pared down hotel buffet models, but merely opens and closes like a panini press. (Pour in your batter, close the lid. Simple.)
But it does have some enticing features: a done-ness setting (ridiculously called “veritable shade control”) lets you toast it to your preference, and a no-peek feature supposedly prevents you from having to open the press and check to see if your waffles are finished. It also touts cool-touch handles and a non-stick griddle.
Simplicity is this stainless steel Waffle Maker’s best quality. With a quick turn of dial I set my preferred done-ness; after I plugged in the appliance, a green light turned on to tell me that it was ready for batter. Once I closed the lid on my batter, the red light went on and only changed to green when it was ready (that “no peek” feature).
The first four waffles I made were wonderful — whole, crispy, and warm. I experimented with the done-ness levels and each came out as expected. I even put my nervous energy to rest and didn’t peek—all was well. But after a few days of use, it began to act up. The batter burned even when I set it to the lightest setting, and the waffles adhered to the “non-stick” surface like a barnacle to Blackbeard’s boot. I began having to check under the hood, rendering the no peek function useless. While some of the waffles I made were fine, some weren’t. This gave me no confidence in the appliance, which utterly made it not as convenient as I would have liked.
The Calphalon Classic Round Waffle Maker was hit or miss. While it proved easy to use, it lacked consistency. When it cooked well, the results were enough to satisfy this religious waffle eater. But when it failed, its end product was a sin. $37.99; amazon.com
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