Our toasted sandwich maker got quite a workout with our munchkin. She more often than not won’t eat untoasted sandwiches or cold cheese, but she’ll eat toasties, and the cheese in them, provided it is melted. We’re onto a good thing with that for the time being, but I sought to upgrade our jaffle maker with something that did a little more.
I’ve always wondered why there weren’t more appliances with interchangeable plates. And every few years the thought crops up, and I start searching to see if technology had caught up with my whims. I got lucky this time, and found the Tefal Snack Collection Multi-Function Sandwich Press</a> (not the best name) and it’s wide selection of interchangeable plates (more on this later). We picked ours up second-hand (barely used) with jaffle and waffle plates, and now use it multiple times a week for toasties, and at least fortnightly for waffles.
The jaffle plate is a little shallower than normal, but I don’t tend to overload my toasted sandwiches. You might get some overflow if you’re a bit heavy-handed with the fillings, but the ability to remove the plates makes it quite easy to clean for minor overflow, and is certainly much easier to clean than our previous jaffle maker.
It has been commented that, as Tefal is a French brand, the croque monsieur and jaffle plates are designed for French-sized loaves of bread. It never occurred to me this would be a thing, but apparently French loaves are smaller than Australian loaves of bread, so there are several criticisms that our sliced bread is too big for the plates. We buy both sandwich and toast loaves (supermarket and bakery) and use both in the jaffle maker. And yes, while there is a bit of vertical overhang with some loaves (Bakers’ Delight seems alright, as pictured), I don’t feel that it impacts your overall outcome. Or perhaps I’m just not as fussy. If untoasted overhang is a problem for you, just trim the tops off before or after toasting.
The waffle plates took a little practice to get the quantities and consistency just right, but there was user on ProductReview.com.au who wrote a very helpful review, and a short private exchange revealed that the ideal volume per waffle is approximately 65mL, or the volume of a syrup ladle. A bit of foraging in the kitchen later, and I found the perfect ladle (hand-me-down item that was previously never used), and for
our batter thickness, it takes 2’10” to cook the waffle.
It was also terribly exciting when I realised that they also fit perfectly in the toaster. Hello, frozen leftover waffles.
I intend to also get at least the panini plates, been seriously tempted by the mini donut and madeleine plates, and to a lesser extent, the financier and blini plates. Annoyingly, the plates are getting increasingly more difficult to find, despite the base appliance still being readily available for sale. Some of the plates are only available in the UK and EU (like the madeleines and financiers), and you end up paying twice what they should be retailing for domestically.
That said, even if you only had the jaffle, waffle and panini plates, I feel this is totally worth it as a replacement for three separate appliances if space is as much at premium in your kitchen as it is in mine. And if I really wanted to make mini donuts and madeleines, I could just buy oven moulds. I do wish they had more of the plates available here, though.
Extra Usage Notes
Some reviews mentioned a plasticy smell when you use it. Although ours was obtained second-hand, as it was barely used, there was the slight plastic smell the first couple of uses, but that has since disappeared. I suppose if you purchased one new, you could wash the plates, run them empty for a bit so that the new appliance smell goes away.
Some people also expressed concern about finding water inside after use. Quite a bit of steam (some people said they saw smoke, but I’m inclined to think that it might have been steam) issues out the sides with waffles, and jaffles with more wet ingredients, and you get some condensation inside when you open it as a result, but that is not unexpected, and nothing really to warrant concern.
 More recently, she has also decided she doesn’t like crusts. So, that’s fun.
 This guy, man. I feel we could have made great friends IRL. I only asked him if he could check the volume of the ladle he used, and he not only did that, but he researched equivalents online to tell me how to find something similar, then offered suggestions on how to hack existing kitchen tools as an alternative.
 A ham and cheese toastie with chutney using fresh bread generated enough steam to get condensation drip when I opened the appliance.