A waffle is a leavened batter or dough cooked between two plates, patterned to give a characteristic size, shape and surface impression. There are many variations based on the type of iron and recipe used, with over a dozen regional varieties in Belgium alone.
Waffles are eaten throughout the world, particularly in Belgium, France, Netherlands, Scandinavia, and the United States.
By the dawn of the 18th century, expansion of Caribbean plantations had cut sugar prices in half. Waffle recipes abounded and were becoming decadent in their use of sugar and other rare ingredients.
Germany becomes a leader in the development and publication of waffle recipes during the 18th century, introducing coffee waffles, the specific use of Hefeweizen beer yeast, cardamom, nutmeg, and a number of zuickerwaffeln (sugar waffles). At the same time, the French introduce whipped egg whites to waffles, along with lemon zests, Spanish wine, and cloves. Joseph Gillier even publishes the first chocolate waffle recipe, featuring three ounces of chocolate grated and mixed into the batter, before cooking.
What began as flour and water heated between two iron plates are now popular the world over, produced in sweet and savory varieties, in myriad shapes and sizes.