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Waffle makers are often referred to as waffle irons, as the plates were traditionally made of iron. Today, most plates are made of aluminum alloys, which is also the base metal for non-stick finishes.
Iron plates are used over an open flame or electric stove element, and retain heat longer than other metals. Aluminum is more easily malleable and an efficient heat conductor, used for both stovetop and electric makers. After seasoning, it becomes virtually non-stick. Non-stick coatings are applied over aluminum, do not require seasoning, and are easy to clean, so they cater to our desire for convenience. Old timers who have used iron and aluminum makers miss the extra flavor from the seasoned plates that is missing from nonstick makers.
Regular waffles, nicely thin, are quite suitable for a light meal.
Belgian waffles, or Belgian cookies, are a generous pastry, usually about an inch thick. Their many deep indentations can hold a lot of syrup or melting ice cream.
Belgian cookies are also generally known as gaufrettes, galettes, and stroopwafels.
Of Gaufrettes and Galettes: The thinner cookie is commonly called gaufrette in French, which means little waffle, and the term generally refers to a wafer-thin cookie like that which the Palmer units will make. (Gauffre means waffle.)
A galette is more commonly described as a thin and crusty round cake, and also as a type of crepe that can be sweet or savory, or as a tart, however it is also often interchanged with the terms gaufrette and Belgian waffle.