Friday 15 March 2013

Eat a Piece of History: Jaffles

History for me and my age group in South Africa at any rate.


All My Bloggy Friends
A very South African variation of a sealed toasted sandwich from the days before snackwich toasters. These are made using a jaffle iron over a camp fire, over the coals or over a gas hob. Take your pick. They used to be very popular at church and school fund raising events. Then fashion changed, the snackwich toaster came to be and that was the end of the jaffle.

 Well, that is until recently, when I found a jaffle iron at my local sports equipment chain in the camping goods department. I believe our local builder's supplies chain also keep them in stock. There is a round one and a square one available. Buy the round one, it always seals the sandwich all around the edges.

The jaffle, like the snackwich toast, has one up over a normal toasted sandwich.

It is sealed. No mess. You can use a saucy ground beef filling and it still doesn't spill when you eat it. And the jaffle has more capacity than a snackwich toast. Which means more meat, almost like your standard meat pie.

Or other filling.

We all tend to forget that there is no law that requires a meat filling only. This is the beauty of the jaffle. Standard shape, standard capacity and sealed all around the edge. And fillings to you heart's content.

Which translates to interesting fillings, like tuna or chicken mayonnaise. Or cheese and mushroom. Or combinations of cheese, tomato, onion, jalapeno, gherkins, mixed diced veggies and what not.

Meaty fillings include ham, salami, ground beef, biltong, sliced leg of lamb or pastrami, bacon, chourizo, smoked salmon.

For a sweet one, use banana and golden syrup or honey. Or try sliced apples, cinnamon, nutmeg and honey or golden syrup. I have made these and they are all wonderful fast desserts in the camp. Or when you have lots of children around wanting to keep busy.

I still have to try one adding nuts of some sort. Could be decadent. I have had sweet pizzas of this nature at a gourmet pizza parlour in Pretoria by the name of Toni's Fully Furnished Pizza. Exquisite!

The filling list is endless. Use a filling or combination that is not too dry, else you may have to take water to swallow the jaffle.

Another useful aspect of the jaffle is that you can eat it cold. It is good picnic food that can be prepared the previous day. Quite useful for a day sail or an overnight trip where you may feel like focusing on the sailing experience rather than spend time cooking.

Boat food par excellence.

I decided to test my new jaffle iron by following the recipe on the label. Biltong, cheese and tomato. I used brown bread and butter as per normal sandwich. Extremely simple. It took me longer to take the pix than to prepare the food!

Close the jaffle iron around the sandwich, cut off the excess, it will burn. Then heat over a small flame on the small burner. My jaffle iron is made of cast iron, so it takes a while to heat. Once hot, it toasts the bread very nice and evenly. And I get the heat back at the end, when I can turn off the hob and leave the last jaffle to “bake” to perfection.

How cool is that!

And then there is the ultimate dessert, courtesy of one of the participating teams in the Ultimate Braai Master competition: Bread and butter pudding jaffles.

Start with the standard two slices of bread. I used brown bread. Spread some butter. And some apricot jam. Actually a lot. As in copious amounts. Soak some warmed raisins in brandy. Make a runny batter with an egg and some milk. Add a dollop of ground cinnamon. Soak each slice of bread briefly in this, then stack in the jaffle iron. Soak briefly, else you will have a runny mess. Remember to add the boozy raisins in between the slices.

You will be surprised at just how much brandy it takes to make these!

The batter will boil out if you have too much. Don't fret, the stove is easily cleaned afterwards. Fry until the bread is nice and crispy outside. Mix a little icing or castor sugar in fresh cream, beat until stiff and mixed properly, then add a dollop  of this with each serving.

You may have to make two per person...

Authored by Johan Zietsman

Last updated on 2013-04-03

Compiled for the GBYC newsletter


  1. I use to just love jaffels!

  2. Hi Zirkie, yes, me too. But in those days the jaffle became famous for the curried mince beef fillings only. Recently one of the competing teams in the Ultimate Braai Master competition ( made a bread and butter pudding jaffle, complete with apricot jam and raisins soaked in brandy, served with strawberries, Cape gooseberries and cream.
    Another one for the bucket list!

  3. Why didnt you cut it open and show us the inside gooeynumminess?? :-(

    They still look amazing though lol

    1. Hi Flee, updated post, just because you asked nicely. Bread and butter pudding jaffle...

    2. AAAwww thanks... Now I want it even more... LOL

  4. He he LOL! I forgot! Mea culpa.

    But I shall make some more, and update the post. Perhaps some of those delicious bread and butter pudding versions...

  5. You are right, Johan! This is very South-African and I still prefer the jaffle maker {especially used over the coals!} I have my late Mom's old one which I think belonged to my Granny :-) Pinned your variations for fillings! Thank you so much for sharing at our ALL MY BLOGGY FRIENDS party and hope to see you again tomorrow with more posts :-)