Consumer Reports: Top waffle makers, syrup

What's more yummy and comforting than a plateful of waffles? Even better if those waffles are drizzled with real maple syrup. Consumer Reports set out to find which waffle maker makes the best waffles, and tasted maple syrups to find the tastiest.

Platefuls of waffles on a weekend morning are a treat for many families. They're easy and fun to make ... and they're delicious!

If you feel like you're missing out, Consumer Reports tried out half a dozen of the most popular waffle makers on the market.
The machines were tested on their high and low settings, scored on whether both sides browned the same, and how consistent they were from batch to batch.

Some took a lot of practice to turn out a perfect waffle, like this compact cast aluminum Belgian Waffler from Nordic Ware. It cooks on the stovetop and makes a nice waffle, but it isn't always evenly cooked.

Consumer Reports found that the Waring Belgian Waffle Maker, for 58 dollars, consistently turns out evenly browned waffles that could be toasted to your liking, light or dark.

But the best of the bunch was the $100 Cuisinart Breakfast Central. Not only does it make evenly cooked waffles every time out, the plates are removable, which makes them easy to clean.

And it beeps when your waffle is ready, so you don't have to keep an eye on it.

But wait, your waffle isn't complete without a dose of maple syrup - the real stuff that comes from trees. Consumer Reports expert taste testers sampled 14 syrups.

Ellen Klosz, who directed the testing, says her team found all were pretty good. So which should you buy?
"Our suggestion is to buy by price," Klosz said.

Some good choices: Costco's Kirkland Signature Organic Maple and Trader Joe's 100 percent Vermont Maple Syrup.

Pancake syrup is far less expensive than pure maple syrup. But it is usually made with high fructose corn syrup and artificial caramel coloring, which often contains 4-MEI, a potential carcinogen.

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