There are a multitude of small kitchen appliances available, many of which can save you a substantial amount of money over their lifetime. Some are a more frugal choice than others and as always it depends on your needs. For example, if you are buying store bought frozen waffles to have on hand for quick hot breakfasts, then consider a waffle maker. They start at under $20 on sale ranging into the high end of about $150. Consider too that waffles aren't just for breakfast any more. You can make some rather tasty desserts using waffles and savory waffles can be used in the place of biscuits for dinner. The payback period on a waffle maker is about 6 months to a year depending on how you use it.
Another of our kids who has had a waffle maker for a few years showed me how to use the waffle maker while giving me a few tips. The grandkids and adults enjoyed fresh made waffles for breakfast that morning.
The following week I decided to do a test run myself. I had two goals in mind. The first goal was learning how to use the waffle maker and find the sweet spot for perfect browning. The second goal was to do a comparison of the price of store bought frozen waffles, to those made with a store bought mix, then finally to waffles made with homemade batter.
According to the manual, it takes a bit of experimenting to determine the right amount of batter needed. They suggest two cups of batter poured evenly over the bottom then quickly spread with a heat resistant spatula before closing the lid. Obviously, I have to work on my technique a bit but as my first attempt, I was rather pleased.
The waffles made with the store bought mix were good. They were fluffy with a nice flavour. The waffles made with the homemade mix were fluffier with a cleaner flavour (aka no chemical overtones).
modified from: Cuisinart Instruction Booklet, WAF-100, Pp. 7
3 c unbleached all-purpose flour
3 tbsp organic granulated sugar
1½ tbsp baking powder
¾ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp sea salt
2½ c milk
½ c plus 1 tbsp vegetable oil
3 large eggs, slightly beaten
Combine the ingredients in the order listed in the bowl of a stand mixer. Blend until smooth. Let the batter rest 5 minutes before using. Pre-heat the waffle maker then pour about 2 c of the batter onto the centre of the lower grid. Spread evenly with a heatproof spatula. Close the lid and cook until the tone sounds. Open lid and carefully remove the waffles.
This is just a really easy way to put healthy, hot breakfasts on the table with a minimal of effort while saving a considerable amount of money. The two batches took me under 15 minutes so I can't complain at being able to stock the freezer with waffles ready to pop into the toaster being time consuming at all. An easy way to do this would be to make a double batch of batter, then freeze what isn't used that day. On the other hand, if you are making waffles for a family and need a larger amount, in a half hour you can easily make 64 waffles by making a triple batch of the basic (recall I halved so double then triple). The cooking time is very minimal so you can really make a lot of these in a very short period of time.