How to make the perfect jaffle

Leftover spag bol jaffle

Next week we’ll be heading down to Eucumbene in the NSW Snowy Mountains. It’s our (almost) annual “camping” trip that’s not really camping – but I’ll tell you more about that next week.

Part of this (almost) annual pilgrimage is the campfire jaffle challenge. For hundreds of years, people have been putting fillings between two pieces of bread and putting it all in a cast iron jaffle maker and sticking it into an open fire. Ok, perhaps I made most of that up, but it could very well have been true.

The jaffle is the perfect campfire lunch – a complete meal in a sandwich that warms you up on the inside when it’s cold outside. It can (and should) be eaten in one hand with no cutlery or crockery necessary.

What is a jaffle?

Strictly speaking, a jaffle is a toasted sandwich made using a jaffle iron or, if you have access to electricity – which we won’t around the camp fire – a jaffle maker. Essentially, it’s a toastie or toasted sandwich. What it absolutely isn’t is a sandwich made from toast. There’s a fine but super important difference.

The sandwich must be buttered on the outside so that you get that golden, crispy exterior, then it’s popped into the jaffle iron and squeezed together so bread and filling becomes welded – which is where cheese comes into its own.

A cast iron jaffle iron in action

The rules of the jaffle challenge

For the purposes of the (almost) annual campfire jaffle challenge the following rules were developed:

  • A good jaffle has to be able to be eaten in one hand
  • The jaffle has to involve either leftovers or basic esky (chilly bin) and pantry staples.
  • The jaffle shouldn’t involve the pre-cooking of any filling for the express purpose of being used in the jaffle (see the comment above about leftovers)
  • Any sort of bread or bread-like product is permitted in the jaffle – although it’s absolutely at its best with plain supermarket white bread
  • The jaffle can be cooked either directly on the fire or on the hot plate.

Acceptable fillings

leftover hotdog and cheese jaffle

The question of what to put between those two slices of bread is an enduring one – and one that inspires more than its fair share of controversy. Just because it’s feasible to use weird combinations of ingredients in a jaffle doesn’t mean that you should. 

I have, however, done some research as to what fillings are acceptable – and by research, I mean that I took the question to Facebook, Instagram and every business meeting that I’ve had over the last week or so.

The suggestions I’ve had (amongst others):

  • Baked beans and cheese
  • Leftover spag bol – the kid’s favourite
  • Savoury mince and cheese
  • The leftover roast lamb dinner jaffle
  • The breakfast jaffle ie bacon and egg
  • The eggs bennie jaffle – bacon, egg and hollandaise sauce
  • The banana and Nutella jaffle
  • The apple pie jaffle
  • The Peking duck jaffle – Chinese duck, hoisin sauce
  • Mexican pulled pork, taco sauce and guacamole
  • The ham and pineapple pizza jaffle
  • The meat-lovers pizza jaffle
  • Leftover potato curry
  • The plastic cheese and peanut butter jaffle…yes, really…apparently late at night
  • Thinly sliced roast beef, cheese, bbq sauce and mayonnaise – the sauce has to apparently be between the meat and the cheese
  • Bologna, leftover mashed potatoes and tinned spaghetti
  • Whatever is left in the fridge at the end of the (mostly) annual “camping” trip.
Preparing the everything that’s left in the fridge jaffle

What not to put in your jaffle

Despite the ham and pizza filling getting a couple of votes, I wouldn’t mix fruit and meat in my jaffle – and particularly not pineapple. Other fillings I’d either avoid or take care with:

  • Fancy pants cold sandwich fillings eg salmon and cream cheese. Just no.
  • Lettuce or other salad greens – again no. And not just because wilted lettuce is never a good idea.
  • Tinned spaghetti – while this seems like it should be a good idea, being mostly liquid they are absolutely scalding hot until they’re cold, there is no in between
  • Mac cheese. This sounds like it should be a sinfully good carb on carb idea but it’s absolutely not. As much of a fan of mac cheese as I am, even I wouldn’t go there.
  • Anything with jam – aside from the burn factor it’s just icky

A note on sliced tomato

leftover chicken and cheese

Take care. While integral to some jaffles the sliced tomato is super-heated inside the confined space of a jaffle iron and will strip the lining off the roof of your mouth rendering all tastebuds inoperable. Sure, you’re warned that it’s hot but who in the history of the world has ever waited for them to sufficiently cool? Exactly.

the classic spag bol

So, toasties, waffles…what do you like in yours? I need inspiration for next weekend so hit me up with your ideas.

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Author: Jo

I write, I bake, I chase sunrises.

11 thoughts

  1. We had a jaffle-maker when I was little, but I wondered if they still existed because smooth toasted sandwich makers seemed to appear on the scene. But yes, I remember now the shape of the jaffle and because you’re (almost) sealing the sides you can put runny stuff in there – unlike the usual toastie.

    I’m a fan of the ham & cheese or ham, cheese & tomato toastie, But on a jaffle I think I’d like something runny – so leftover roast with gravy, or my mum’s braised steak with gravy would be good.

    1. Oh yes, with gravy…although liquid contents do get very super hot & that means restraint before you eat it…

  2. OMG you’ve made me hunnnngrrryyyy! I love jaffles! I love things like leftover spag bol, leftover savoury mince, baked beans, cheesy thingy’s – yummo!! 🙂 #TeamLovinLife

  3. I must have been living under a rock because I have never seen a jaffle iron although I have an electric toastie maker! I’m a bit of a traditionalist and love ham and cheese but left over bolognese is hard to beat! I can’t wait to see what you come up with – whatever it is, I know it will be yummy!

    1. Oh my goodness Sammie…really? I found an idea for a Mumbai toastie that would work wonderfully well – cheese, onions, spices and some mint chutney…

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