The price of crunch.

I think everyone who’s ever set out to make waffles at home for the first time has had the same reaction to a waffle recipe. It’s either wow, that’s a heck of lot of fat, or jeez, that’s a ton of sugar. All I can say is, that’s the way it is in the wonderful world of waffles. That delicious crunch has to come from somewhere. Either from a) a high proportion of fat which, being the phenomenal heat conductor that it is, effectively “fries” the exterior of the waffle against the surface of the iron, or, b) a high proportion of sugar which caramelizes on contact with the iron. Either of the two will produce a reasonable crispness and/or crunchiness by themselves, but the best results come from combining them (of course!). The alternative to the frying and/or caramelization effect is a mass of batter that has been essentially steamed into a soft, waffle-shaped cake. That’s not so bad, but in that case why not just have a pancake? Yes, you can try toasting your lean waffle after you prepare it, like one toasts an already-baked English muffin (let’s call it the Eggo method), but the result is pretty darn dry (which means you’ll end up heaping butter on top anyway). Nope, for my money the only way to go is full bore. Make them right and they need very little on top. But then who am I trying to kid? Pass the syrup!

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