Common Appliances, Uncommon Uses

All those kitchen appliances, taking up shelf space until the next time you’re craving waffles or dried fruit or sorbet. Isn’t there a way to employ them more often? We were inspired by a Chowhound post that asked for alternate uses for a waffle iron.

As we researched, we found people who brew beer in coffee makers or cook fish in the dishwasher, but not every experiment was worth the time or effort. We came up with the following parameters: (1) the food should taste as good or better than when made in the conventional manner, (2) the cooking time should be equal to or shorter than normal, and (3) the method should use the appliance in a way that’s totally different from what it’s known for.

Imagine our delight at seeing a soufflé rise up in the slow cooker, a frozen mixed drink take shape in the ice cream maker. Our late-night snack cravings found succor with a waffle iron. And if you don’t have these appliances, or don’t understand why anyone would veer from the standard, there are conventional instructions for most of the recipes too.

CHOW’s Intense Brownies

Waffle Iron Brownies, Muffins,
and Hash Browns

Good waffles are delicious in the iron, but we thought that anything with a batter base or that required a crispy texture could be waffled. We settled on brownies, muffins, and hash browns.

Brownies
Using CHOW’s Intense Brownies recipe, follow the mixing instructions (steps 2 and 3). Heat the waffle iron to its lowest setting. When it’s hot, add one-third of the batter to the ungreased iron. Close it and let the brownies cook until they are firm and starting to get very brown on the edges, about four minutes. Remove them from the iron and let them sit a few minutes to crisp up. Repeat with the remaining batter.

Muffins
Using our Citrus–Poppy Seed Muffins recipe, follow the mixing instructions (steps 2 and 3). Heat the waffle iron to its lowest setting. When it’s hot, add one-third of the batter to the ungreased iron. Close it and let the muffins cook until they are browned and set all the way through, about five minutes. Remove them from the iron and eat as is or with a squeeze of lemon and some powdered sugar. Repeat with the remaining batter.

Citrus–Poppy Seed Muffins
Chile-Cilantro Hash Browns

Hash Browns
Gather the ingredients listed in our Chile-Cilantro Hash Browns recipe. Heat the waffle iron to its medium setting. Meanwhile, peel the potatoes and grate them on the large holes of a box grater. Squeeze the mixture by the handful to release as much moisture as possible.

When the iron is hot, fill the bottom half with 1/8 inch vegetable oil (about 1 tablespoon). Squeeze the grated potato mixture between your hands again to release any excess moisture. Combine the potato mixture, chili powder, and black pepper, and mix until well combined.

Place half of the mixture (about 1 cup) in the iron, sprinkle half of the salt over top, brush the top of the iron with vegetable oil, close it, and cook until the hash browns are golden brown and crisp, about eight to ten minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve. Repeat with the remaining mixture.