I once had a lightsaber fight in the middle of the newsroom I worked in.
That sounds a lot more exciting than it was. The lightsabers were simple plastic children’s toys that didn’t even light up. A colleague and I had taken a field trip to a local toy store when the Star Wars toys were released in anticipation of the 2002 premiere of “Star Wars: Attack of the Clones,” and each came back with one. When we returned, we promptly unboxed them and sparred in the newsroom.
It was fun. Just silly, good fun. And thank goodness we had an editor who could appreciate our love of Star Wars and need for diversions like that. The news business is stressful, so silly distractions can be ok sometimes.
Not long after, the three of us — my colleague, editor and I — met up with a few others to take in the midnight premiere of the movie.
So, yes, I am one of those fans. The ones who relish in the toy releases, pay attention to the premiere dates and get a little rush when something cool from the Star Wars universe comes my way. It’s the kind of love that comes with decades of Star Wars fandom.
(I am, however, not one of those fans who reads every book and plays every game though … we all have our limits, right?)
When a dear friend spotted a new Death Star Waffle Maker being sold and sent me the link recently, I was totally into it. It was like the most serendipitous intersection of my Star Wars love and my love of cooking. In fact, I was so into it that I immediately ordered it from ThinkGeek. Right away. Like, run, don’t walk. By the end of that evening, when all my Star Wars loving friends were oohing and aahing and sharing links to it too, I just sat back and relished in the fact that mine was already on the way.
When it arrived — ahead of schedule, mind you — it came in a sturdy box, well packed. But I will be the first to admit that I was skeptical of this fun device’s ability to actually make waffles. I mean … form is fun, but function? Sometimes that’s lost in novelty items. Would this thing actually work?
I ordered the Star Wars Death Star Waffle Maker from ThinkGeek, which has a big selection of Star Wars stuff. The waffle maker has a grey plastic exterior and metal nonstick waffle plates inside that are in the shape of — you guessed it! — the Death Star. As far as waffle makers go, when you look past the Death Star and Star Wars decals and the novelty plates, this is a pretty basic waffle maker.
It has two indicator lights — a red one to let you know it’s on, and a green one that lights up while heating up and turns off when it’s ready to use. It also has an on-off switch, which I appreciate — not all small appliances have them, and I like being able to turn it off when not in use (even though I also unplug it).
The waffle maker comes with directions printed by ThinkGeek. As a writing professional, I was sad to see how many spelling errors were in the booklet. A simple proofreading would have fixed that quickly — they were all pretty basic errors.
Sigh. But it’s a waffle maker, not a book, so we forge on.
How Does it Work Really?
Over the past week or so, I have used the Death Star Waffle Maker a handful of times to make basic waffles, buttery basic waffles and banana waffles. Overall, this waffle maker heats up quickly, cooks evenly and is simple to use. Be careful to not add too much batter though — it will spill out the end onto the counter. I found one ladle-full was just the right amount, but you might need to experiment a little to find what works for you.
In the directions, it suggests spraying the metal plates with cooking oil spray before heating it up. Do this. It makes dislodging the cooked waffles so much easier. Although I didn’t face any serious sticking problems, removing the waffles took more careful prying when I didn’t spray first.
Hint: Since these are nonstick plates, you should avoid using metal utensils to remove the waffles. I found that a sturdy rubber spatula did the trick just fine.
With some waffles — like the banana waffles I made with a fraction of the fat in the other waffles — you may need to spray the waffle plates more often to avoid sticking. I found that spraying before making each waffle helped a lot with this so adjust as you go. Different batters will behave differently.
Cleaning this is easy. Just wipe it well with a damp rag after use. But be sure to get into all the crevices for a good clean.
So, would I recommend this waffle maker? For the Star Wars enthusiast, and waffle lover, absolutely. It isn’t perfect — the directions leave something to be desired and I wish it came with its own tool for removing the waffles — but it works well and delivers a consistent product. But it should be noted that this also isn’t a fancy waffle maker. It’s a novelty that happens to work well.
When I ordered this from ThinkGeek, it was $29.99. It’s presently being sold for the same price, though I have seen the price change over the last seven months or so since I originally wrote this.
Tips for Better Waffles
- Spray the waffle iron with cooking oil spray before heating up.
- Gently spread the batter around. The closer to the edges you get it before closing the waffle maker, the more likely it will cook into a perfect Death Star shape.
- Preheat the oven to 250 degrees and place a baking sheet in it. As the waffles finish, put them on the baking sheet to stay warm while you make additional waffles. This will have the added bonus of also producing crispy on the outside, soft on the inside waffles.
How to Top Death Star Waffles
- The Classic: Just syrup. I mean, it’s still a waffle, after all.
- The Snowy Death Star: Butter the cooked waffles (you may want to place the waffle back in the oven to melt the butter). Sift about 1 teaspoon powdered sugar onto the buttered waffle. Devour.
- The Red Death Star: Combine 1 lb frozen whole strawberries with 1/4 cup sugar in a small saucepan. Cover and cook on a burner set to medium, stirring occasionally, until the strawberries are softened. Mash with a potato masher and add 1 tsp cornstarch. Cook for 2-3 minutes more, until thickened. Serve on the waffles with whipped cream.
Just for Fun
So, in my silliness about this waffle maker, I totally videotaped the opening of it. Watch, if you wish.