There’s one good way to stuff a waffle, and at least two lousy ways to do it. That’s what I learned today. You might know this already, but I enjoy pushing classic dishes to a new place. Hopefully a better place. (That’s kind of my thing.) Mixing blueberries into waffle batter isn’t the end of waffle modification, it’s the beginning. I sought to stuff a waffle with slabs of mozzarella, sliced ham, and cookies. It didn’t start out pretty, but eventually I made myself a couple stuffed waffles that tasted great and brought happiness to my kitchen. Here’s the right way to stuff a waffle with nearly anything, so you won’t have to deal with a mess.
The dip and layer methods
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I started out by testing two waffle stuffing methods: The dip technique, which involves dipping the filling–a slice of cheese or an Oreo–into the waffle batter before placing it on the hot iron. Doing this coats the object thoroughly, and allows you to easily gauge how much batter is in the waffle maker before you shut it. The problem is, you might not get enough batter onto the waffle iron from dipping alone, and may wind up with thin areas where the filling becomes too exposed. In the case of cheese, this can lead to explosive results.
The layer method involves spreading some batter onto the iron, layering in the filling ingredients, and topping it with a bit more batter. This technique ensures there is plenty of batter to cover any thin spots, and the first layer of batter begins cooking and setting as you add the filling, so it doesn’t get exposed to the iron easily, at least not on the bottom. The problem here is the likelihood of overflowing is oh, so very high. It’s hard to spread on a thin layer, add filling, and then accurately assess how much more waffle batter can layer on top.
How to stuff a waffle
It turns out, neither method is good on its own, but in tandem you get the benefits of both. By dunking the filling into the batter you get complete coverage. Placing a starter small amount of batter on the iron ensures that a protective layer fills the waffle mold first. I then added the batter-coated filling ingredient, in my case a slab of fresh mozzarella, and topped with a small dollop of batter, about a tablespoon. There was enough batter to fill the mold first, so the cheese stayed put, and the batter didn’t overflow out the sides of my waffle maker.
Start by making a thick waffle batter. If you’re not sure what consistency a given recipe will result in, add half of the liquid measurement called for and give it a stir. If it’s still way too thick, drizzle in more of the liquid until you get a batter that’s fluffy and closer to the consistency of brownie batter.
Drop your filling into the batter and stir to cover. I used slices of fresh mozzarella cheese, and a batch with Nilla wafers (which totally rocked). On the hot, greased waffle maker, quickly spread a small scoop of batter. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just a thin, flattened layer. I have a square waffle maker and I don’t agonize over the corners. Drop the batter coated filling onto the first layer. I scooped up my Nilla batter and placed the cookies so I could have two per waffle. (I think I can fit four next time.) Then add a dollop of batter on top, in the center. Close the iron and waffle as you normally would.
As expected, the shape of the waffle iron will press the batter out to fill the shape of the waffle while cooking the batter. Anything stuffed inside will warm up. Meltable objects, like cheese, will become soft and stretchy, meats will brown when exposed in the shallow squares of the waffle maker, and sugar-centric items will caramelize. Which is why Nilla wafers pleasantly surprised me. The sugary vanilla cookie was still crunchy, and the parts exposed to the hot iron caramelized a bit and resulted in one of my favorite waffles to date.
Use this method to stuff your waffle with anything that’ll fit. Try adding bacon, ham, swiss cheese, or a lightly fried egg. If the Nilla wafers can be trusted, I expect any cookie would be a good choice to cover in batter and waffle.