I Paid: $2.99 for a box of four 2-ounce waffles (prices may vary by region)
My initial impulse upon hearing about Smucker’s new Snack’n Waffles—waffles designed to be eaten out of your hand so as to be more easily accessible to impulse snackers, and presweetened so as to get around the dreaded “add your own syrup” step of waffle enjoyment—was to recoil in horror. Why these waffles? Why now? Why, why, why are we doing this to ourselves as a culture?
Knee-jerk complaining and book-by-cover judging faded away after actually trying the things. For starters, they’re not completely terrible for you. At about 220 calories per waffle with 70 calories from fat, 33 grams of carbs, 2 grams of fiber, and 16 grams of sugar, they’re not health food, but it’s certainly easy to do worse for breakfast. (You could also do way, way better.)
Second, it turns out Snack’n Waffles have a secret highbrow past. While going through notes from a recent farm-to-table tour of Columbus, Ohio, I mentally revisited Taste of Belgium, a North Market vendor known for its authentic Liege (as in Liege, Belgium) waffles. They’re made from dough, so they’re heavier than typical batter-made Belgian waffles. They’re sweet. And they can be picked up and eaten by hand. Compare that to Snack’n Waffles: Check. Check. And check.
Flavor-wise, Snack’n Waffles don’t stack up to the artisan power of Taste of Belgium, but they’re a surprising hit for mass-produced frozen breakfast food. When warmed up, their whole-grain content gives them some depth and texture. The flavor of the Maple variety is plausibly close to the real deal, as is the artificial/natural blueberry mix that goes into the Blueberry version. They’re better heated in the toaster oven than the microwave—the former gives the waffles a pleasantly toasted aftertaste. And despite being presweetened (thanks, Smucker’s!), they’re not sticky when handled.
Did we really, as a nation, need a new, easier way to eat presweetened waffles? No. Are Snack’n Waffles a competent execution of this product? Absolutely.