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Growing up, Sunday waffle brunch was a mainstay in my house. Every week, my brother and I would sidle up to the counter and watch our mom plug in the waffle maker, mix the batter, and pour it over the hot grates. We'd drool as that first one cooked, and by the time the light changed color to show it was ready, the anticipation was borderline crippling.
My mom would extract the finished waffle off the hot grates and.wait, what? That first waffle would always be so weird-looking, at least through the eyes of a naive second-grader. The color, the uneven texture, the strange shape-they were just wrong. After all that excitement, neither my brother nor I would want that misfit of a waffle (immature, yes, but we were seven). We'd wait for the second one to come out, hoping it would be more toasty, more square, and more evenly browned.
My mom, rightfully so, always said it just took a few tries to get a good-looker. She had to figure out how much batter was best and what technique to use when pouring it over the hot grates, depending on what extra ingredients-blueberries, chocolate, peanut butter, coconut-we'd added to our homemade mix that week.
How to Make Perfect-Looking Waffles
Those days have come to an end (in so many ways). Most notably, I've found a way to nail the Instagram-ready waffle, and it couldn't be easier. After pouring your batter onto the grates of your waffle iron, use a silicone spatula-better yet, a spoonula-to disperse it evenly over the surface and scoop away any extra. So long as you spread quickly, this trick works like a charm. This lets you be sure batter makes its way into every single grate so you won't be left with the sad-looking unfilled edges, and you won't make a mess of extra batter spilling out from the super-hot sides (aka my cleaning nightmare). Your waffle will bake evenly, so it'll slide out looking like a million bucks. It works for regular and Belgian waffles alike, and the same goes for whether you're using a waffle recipe or making them from a boxed mix.
We love using this GIR spoonula ($13, walmart.com) for the trick. It's a spoon crossed with a spatula made from a single piece of silicone, so it lacks nooks and crevices where bacteria can easily hide.
Now that you've nailed the perfect-looking homemade waffle, onto the perfect-tasting one. We've got easy recipes for extra crispy waffles, savory cornmeal waffles, pumpkin waffles, and more.