Thursday, August 11, 2011

Classic Waffles With Little Fuss The Cuisinart Classic Waffle Maker.

The Good: Good browning control, Makes consistent quality of waffles, Nice look
The Bad: Not the easiest to clean, Smaller waffles
The Basics: A quality waffle maker that generates decent waffles. Good for a cook who is busy in the kitchen and wants a waffle maker that clearly shows when waffles are done.

For those unfamiliar with my infrequent reviews of kitchen appliances, I have a love of stainless steel. I like the look, the feel, the ease of cleaning, the general sanitary quality, pretty much everything about stainless steel in the kitchen. A while back, when I reviewed my poor, confused Hamilton Beach waffle maker, I promised that I would review one worth recommending and it's no surprise that my preferred waffle maker is stainless steel. In this case, the look of the Cuisinart Classic Waffle Maker just happens to fit my decor, in addition to being a superior waffle maker in function.

This is one of the more discrete appliances in my kitchen, measuring only 10" long with the iron itself being less than 8" in diameter. This waffle maker is stainless steel with a black plastic base and handle to lift the top of the iron to open it. Like most waffle makers, the hinge is in the back. The browning control is on the front and is controlled by a simple slide button. The classic waffle maker has five browning positions and a red and green light that lets the user know when the iron is hot and when waffles are ready.

This Cuisinart is fairly easy to use. When the waffle maker is plugged in, the red light lights up to let the user know the power is on. This is handy because right up front, there is a strong visual indicator for those of us who get distracted in the kitchen. When this puppy is plugged in, a light will be on! When the waffle maker comes up to temperature, the light changes from red to green. At that time, the top cover may be lifted to put the batter in. The device is opened by lifting the black handle in front. It swings up easily.

The inside of the waffle maker is a black non-stick surface that requires a non-stick spray to insure that waffles do not stick to it. After the surface is sprayed, dump a ladle ful of batter in and close the top. When the top is closed, the light will go from green to red as the waffle maker comes back up to temperature and actually bakes the waffle. At this point, it's good to note that the browning selector - the slide on the front - actually works. Depending on what position the selector is in, the waffle will vary from barely baked (1) to crispy like it was left in a toaster a little too long (5). I've found setting #2 makes ideal waffles for me. I often make waffles en masse and freeze the ones I do not eat. When I reheat them, I use my toaster oven and they get only a little crispier in that, so it's a good setting. I have experimented with the various settings and found they actually do prolong the cooking time and make waffles of varying crispiness.

So, the batter is cooking at whatever setting you have it on and when the light goes from red to green again, the waffle is done. Simply open the front again and pop it out with a fork. It's that easy.

The resulting waffles are about seven inches in diameter and their cells (the compartments the syrup goes into) are fairly small, about a cubic centimeter each. I tend to prefer Belgian waffles, but this is not a Belgian waffle maker. That just means if your plan is to have waffles with things like strawberries you either need a different waffle maker or you need to accept that the strawberries will rest atop the waffle, as opposed to sitting neatly in one of the squares.

Others have complained that this device gets hot. It does. It's a waffle maker, so that's kind of a "well, duh" type observation about this product. The Cuisinart classic waffle maker gets hot on the iron, warm on the stainless steel top, but I've not found any of the plastic components to ever heat up. This means adjusting the slide control is easy and safe and opening the lid to put on batter or remove waffles is easy, safe and burn-free.

Once you've made waffles in the classic waffle maker, clean up varies some. The only reason the exterior temperature of this device truly matters is because of the cleanup. It's a good idea to let this particular waffle maker cool down. It cools down sufficiently in the time it takes to eat a waffle, so when your last waffle is done baking, unplug the device and eat a waffle.

Cleaning the outside is very easy. It's stainless steel and a plastic that is easy to clean. Wiping it down with a warm, wet cloth will clean this baby right off. The outside is ridiculously easy to clean, though the outer edge may have baked on batter if you fill it too much. This easily flakes or washes off, though. The place this is difficult to clean is the iron's surface itself. This waffle maker has a rather thin non-stick surface, so it cannot be cleaned with anything abrasive. Because the manual recommends against submerging this device, it's often hard to get the entire surface truly clean. As a result, (unless you've waited for it to cool completely and cleaned every nook and cranny out with a toothbrush) often there will be excess non-stick spray in some of the crevices of this device. More than once have I plugged mine in and the device smokes up a little as it burns off old grease (never enough to set off the smoke detector that is above it).

Outside that, it's easy to use and it creates rather satisfying waffles. Until Cuisinart makes an affordable Belgian waffle maker, I'm going to keep using this one! As far as storage goes, this is a small device and once the unit is cool, clean and dry, the cord wraps nicely around it. It makes it easy to store out of the way for those who lack the space.

This device has a three year warranty, but I've had mine more than three years (used an average of twice a month) and I've never had a problem with it.

For other waffle makers, please be sure to visit my reviews of:
Westinghouse WST3037 4-Waffle Waffle Maker
Westinghouse WSTBW2 Waffle Maker
Hamilton Beach 26501 Waffle Maker


For other appliance reviews, please click here to visit my index page on the subject!

© 2011, 2007 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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