Delicious Waffle Toppings You've Never Thought About Using

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In 2008, one of the top children's books of the year was a multi-award-winning middle-grade title called Everything on a Waffle. This book told the story of an orphaned girl who is able to find sanctuary in a wonderful, magical restaurant where absolutely everything (including lasagna) is served on top of a waffle. Sounds like a fantasy? Well, yeah, the whole orphan-finding-redemption-through-ministrations-of-kindly-restaurateur trope is kind of unlikely (pity the poor child who finds their way into one of Gordon Ramsay's establishments!), but if you can put chicken on a waffle, why not lasagna?

Well, maybe not lasagna. But still, there's a whole world of waffle toppings out there that you've probably never even dreamed of, toppings that go way beyond maple syrup and butter. From the sweet to the savory to the healthy(ish) to the downright decadent, here's a list of ways to add a little "wow!" to your waffles.

Sweet waffle toppers go way beyond syrup

While flavored syrups have been around ever since there have been IHOPs (and probably even before), these are just skimming the cratered surface when it comes to sweetening up a waffle. Even if you choose to stick with syrups, you can branch out into re-purposing ice cream toppings such as butterscotch and chocolate syrup. Or you could try what might be one of the up-and-coming hottest food trends by experimenting with a floral syrup such as this homemade lavender one (blueberry waffles with lavender syrup would be awesome).

Moving beyond syrup, how about a flavored butter? The Food Network suggests fruit butters (apple is a classic) or cinnamon butter (shades of Texas Roadhouse), whereas Taste of Home says honey almond butter tastes divine on a waffle. Or you could skip the butter altogether and go for a sweetened fruit compote or some jam or perhaps some sautéed apples with cinnamon sugar and maybe a hint of ginger.

Dinner waffles could be a thing

Waffles don't always have to be sweet, you know. The basic batter usually only contains a small amount of sugar that can easily be omitted, and you can also add in various savory ingredients like beer and bacon drippings. Even if you're using a frozen waffle and can't tinker with the actual ingredients, you can still make your waffle a savory one. After all, the reason why waffles are so often drowned in syrup is that they aren't all that sugary on their own. This means that they can be used as the base for a number of not-sweet toppings such as eggs, cheese, bacon, or ham, or perhaps cream cheese and smoked salmon (the Food Network shares a recipe for an Ina Garten spread that combines the two).

Taste of Home suggests something that could well become brunch's new darling, once some of the mania for chicken and waffles begins to fade (as if that would ever happen) – how about pulled pork on a waffle? That sure sounds amazing, as would, say, smoked turkey and cheddar and sliced apple or sautéed mushrooms, onions, and Parmesan cheese. Or why not a BLT waffle? You need never be short on dinner ideas if you've got waffles on hand.

Waffle toppers for the health-conscious

While your basic waffle itself may be off the menu for anyone carb-averse, it's not actually so terrible on its own. According to Nutrition Data, one 4-inch square frozen waffle has 103 calories and about 16 grams of carbohydrate. Piling on fattening toppings will, of course, boost these numbers significantly, but you can opt for toppings that offer nutritional benefits to make your waffle into an at least somewhat healthy indulgence. Yogurt works well on waffles, perhaps sprinkled with some granola or a little extra crunch. Nut butters will provide a protein boost, and unsweetened applesauce won't add too many calories at all. Fresh berries provide natural sweetness and flavor, and toasted coconut and nuts also make for some tasty-yet-good-for-you waffle toppers.

Oh, and if you should happen to have been born between 1980 and 2000, Taste of Home would like to inform you that the avocado waffle is, or at least could be, a thing. Maybe not a restaurant thing, at least not yet, but if you make them at home (they suggest avocado slices with a fried egg and some pico de gallo), they need not cost you what could have been the down payment on your first house.

Over the top dessert waffles

Okay, we have now established that waffles can be either breakfast or dinner (lunch waffles could work, as well), and they can also be somewhat healthy. They can also go in the opposite direction, however, and provide the base on which to build a truly decadent dessert. One Midwestern specialty, as featured on the menus of such fine dining establishments as the Pegasus in West Allis, Wisconsin, and the Omega Restaurant in Milwaukee is the Polar Bear Waffle. This dessert-for-breakfast treat consists of a waffle topped with butter pecan ice cream, sliced bananas, strawberries, and whipped cream. Sounds good? Well, if butter pecan's not your thing, and/or you share the Pioneer Woman's hatred for bananas, you can, of course, use any type of ice cream and sundae toppings you like. How about a turtle waffle with hot fudge, caramel, and pecans, or maybe a Disney-esque kitchen sink sundae-on-a-waffle?

You can even go over the top without involving ice cream in case you happen to be out. (Otherwise, why would you want to?) Taste of Home proposes a s'mores-inspired waffle with marshmallow fluff, graham cracker crumbs, and chocolate sauce, while other possibilities include using pumpkin pie filling and whipped cream to make a Thanksgiving waffle, sweetened cream cheese to make a cheesecake-topped waffle, or vanilla pudding and rainbow sprinkles to make a unicorn-cake-style waffle. You won't need a recipe, just channel your inner cooking show contestant and dream up your own weird, wonderful waffles!