Saturday, July 21, 2012

Cast Iron Waffles

O.K., so the waffles themselves are not cast iron, but the waffle iron is!  Here is the deal - I have a love/hate relationship with waffle irons.  For years I used an ancient waffle iron that we had picked up somewhere or other.  It was rectangular and the waffle section was reversible - one side was for waffles and the other was a simple griddle.  I never used the griddle side but I made waffles all the time (they happen to be a family favorite).  When I got our waffle iron, it was ancient and over time the cord became dodgy and then dangerous.  Sir Knight (being the electrical genius that he is) rewired it and we got another 10 years out of it.  Finally, after too many waffle to count, our old waffle iron gave up the ghost.

Being preppers, we decided to step up to the plate and buy a non-electric waffle iron. Browsing through the Lehman's we found the perfect solution, or so we thought - a Teflon coated aluminum Belgian waffle iron!  Excitedly, we waited for our new waffle iron to arrive in the mail.  When it finally arrived, we decided to have a non-electric evening (this was long before we went off-grid).  Off went the lights and out came the kerosene lamps as the wood cookstove bubbled along in the living room.   Putting my cast iron griddle on low on the cookstove, I started cooking bacon.  As the bacon was cooking, I mixed up a waffle batter, set up a little cooking station next to the stove and brought out my nice, shiny waffle iron.  With great expectations, I poured the batter on the waffle iron, slid the iron over a medium fire and waited for waffle magic.  As the waffle started to smell, I turned the waffle iron over, continue to cook it and finally, having determined that the waffle was done, opened the iron, anticipating a perfectly golden, deliciously crunchy Belgian waffle.  The waffle iron wouldn't budge!  The waffle had cooked up and now held the waffle iron hostage.  No matter how I tried to cajole that waffle out of the iron, it was not to be.  In desperation, I pulled the waffle iron open and split the waffle right down the middle.  I had to scrape and scrub and scrape some more before I finally cleaned all the remnants of waffle out of my new waffle iron.  Greasing the waffle iron again (making sure to get every crack and crevice) I gave the waffle iron another try.  Nope.  Not this time either.  The waffle just seemed to bake into the waffle iron and become an impenetrable mass of baked batter.  Apparently, Teflon isn't always "no-stick"!

After attempting our fancy non-electric waffle iron innumerable times, we finally admitted defeat.  This time, we bought a shiny, beautiful new waffle iron with temperature adjustments and a whistle that sounded when the waffle was done to perfection.  Truthfully, this waffle iron was wonderful right out of the box.  It never stuck and always produced golden waffle perfection.  Until it died, that is.  One evening I planned waffles and bacon for dinner.  It was hot outside and I didn't want to heat the house up by starting the propane stove.  I started bacon, plugged in the waffle iron and proceeded to mix up the batter.  The bacon was done, the batter was ready and I opened the waffle iron.  Nothing.  It wasn't even a little bit warm.  I fussed with the temperature dial, unplugged it and plugged it back in, tried a different outlet.  Nothing!  I asked for a second opinion and Sir Knight rendered the verdict - DOA.  We had to make do with waffle pancakes (you know, pancakes made out of waffle batter) while pretending we were eating crispy, sweet waffles.

I didn't really want to buy another electric waffle iron, but the non-electric version was out of the question.  And then the solution presented itself.  The kids and I were wandering through an antique/junk store and there it was - a cast iron waffle maker!  I had seen these little beauties before but never really given them much thought until now.  Looking it over, I knew we must give it a try.

Oh, wow!  This little waffle iron is worth its weight in iron.  It did take a little experimentation and a bit of getting used to, but when you get it right, it produces the most wonderfully golden, crunchy waffles ever.  Because of the design, it can be used on a wood stove, a gas range or even over an electric burner.  Talk about versatile!

Ring base (with socket)
Half of the waffle iron
Lifted slightly and turning in the socket
The waffle iron is a three part system.  It has a ring with a socket and two waffle irons that form a ball (that fits nicely into the socket on the ring).  You place your waffle iron over your heat source, generously grease the inside of the iron, pour in batter and close the iron.  Halfway through cooking, you lift the iron slightly, (holding both handles) turn in the socket and cook the other side of the waffle.  Ingenious!  The first couple of waffles stuck on the "top" side of the waffle iron.  This was the side that I had closed down over the waffle.  The "bottom" didn't stick at all.  What I determined was that the top needed to be as hot as the bottom.  I would grease the bottom of the iron then lift and turn and grease the "top", pour in the batter and cook - that way, both the top and bottom of the iron are hot when the batter goes in.  When I employed this method, there was little, if any sticking!  The waffles just popped right out.

Just out of the iron
We are officially hooked!  I will be keeping my eye out for another cast iron waffle iron so that we can move through our breakfast a little quicker (there are 7 of us!), but I am thrilled with our newest non-electric gadget.

Being a prepper is a way of life.  Finding tools that will serve your purposes now and will also be useful if the grid goes down is like having your cake and eating it too!

Cream Waffles
2 C. flour (either white or wheat)
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. sugar
1 3/4 C milk
2 eggs, separated and beaten
1/2 C butter, melted

Mix dry ingredients together; add milk and egg yolks.  Blend in melted butter; gently fold in stiffly beaten egg whites.  Lightly grease a heated waffle iron; add batter and heat according to waffle iron's instructions.  Makes 4 to 5 servings.  (We always double this recipe).

Breakfast is served!


  1. Wow! What a find!

  2. Enola Gay,

    We recently picked up an electric waffle iron and it sure does take a little time to get use to. I love the idea of a non electric iron. This is something I will be looking out for myself. Thank you for sharing!

  3. you may want to try this web link below. scroll down the page till you get to the waffle irons. this website sells lodge cast iron cookware.

  4. Enola,

    I have seen some of these with bases like you have shown, but on others I have seen have taller bases. Do you have any ideas if one design might work better than the other?

    Southern Ga

    1. Dear Southern Ga;
      To tell you the truth, I have no idea. I'm not sure that it makes much difference - you would just have to adjust the heat depending on how tall your model is. I would imagine that both designs would work equally well.

  5. Neat! I have a nosy question though - what was the price range you were able to score this beauty? I've only seen an occasional piece like this for sale for about $100 (or more), and am not experienced enough with buying cast iron to know whether that's a decent price (I inherited/married into all that we have, the cast iron is likely older than I am).

    1. Yes, the waffle irons are very expensive. We did pay about half that (we bought it at a bona fide junk store), but any time I have looked at them before and they were right around $100. Occasionally you can find them less expensively on Craigslist. I hope you can find one at a decent price.

  6. I have an old Griswold, and I love the waffles it makes! Wish they still made them, and I would have two! These old pieces sure carry lots of memories. Glad you found one.


  7. I just bought one of these at a garage sale a few months back. It has a light coat of rust but once I clean it up it will be good as new.

    I paid 10 bucks for it.

  8. The melted butter with sugar and the crisp of the waffle, astonishing.

  9. Hi! I received a similar cast iron waffle iron for Christmas and am trying to figure out the timing and temperature for cooking the waffles! I had a few questions. How hot do you get it before putting in the batter, how hot do you cook it once the batter is in (we have a gas stove), how long on each side do you cook it, do you used a cooking spray, etc? Any and all help is much appreciated! Thank you!!