pancake batter
A good pancake or waffle starts with flour and a whisk. Photo by Daniel West.



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September 2005
Updated July 2008

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Cereals, Pancakes & Waffles

Pancake & Waffle Glossary

Page 6: Terms Beginning With S To Z


This is page 6 of a six-page glossary of pancake and waffle terms. If you’d like to suggest additional words for inclusion, click here. Learn more about your other favorite foods in our 50+ food glossaries.

You can click on the letter of the alphabet in the bar below to get to a particular term.

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This glossary is protected by copyright and cannot be reproduced in whole or part.

Scallion Pancake.

A Chinese snack consisting of a non-leavened salty flatbread infused with oil and minced scallions (green onions). Unlike a true pancake, it is made from dough instead of batter, similar to an Indian paratha, Mediterranean pita bread, Mexican tortilla or Indian naan.

Sorghum is a genus of about 20 species of grasses, native to tropical and subtropical regions of Eastern Africa, with one species native to Mexico. The grown stalks can be boiled down into a liquid and processed into a syrup, which is used in much the same way traditional syrup is used: on breakfast dishes such as pancakes, French toast and waffles, or as a sweetener for baking.
Milder than molasses, sorghum syrup is great on pancakes and baked beans. Click here to purchase.

Sorghum Syrup
Now a gourmet treat, the stroopwafel was originally a poor man’s cookie, made from old crumbs and syrup. If you have a waffle iron, click here for the recipe to bake your own. Read our review of Dutch Moon Cookies, gourmet mini stroopwafels.

Dutch for “syrup waffle,” stroopwafels are cookies made from two round waffle-like wafers with a sweet syrup or caramel filling. Sometimes nuts or other flavors are added to the filling. About four inches in diameter, stroopwafels are traditionally prepared by cutting a freshly made waffle in half horizontally, spreading the filling and rejoining the two halves. Stroopwafels are an old Dutch treat, invented in Gouda in 1784. The traditional way to eat them is with a cup of coffee, tea or cocoa. Just before it is eaten, the stroopwafel is placed on top of the hot cup in order to soften it up; the filling melts, and scents of cinnamon and nutmeg are released into the air. Read our review of Dutch Moon Stroopwafels.

A pancake made with flour, sugar, milk, egg and butter, which cooks up very flat—not as thin as a crêpe, but much more crêpe-like than a fluffy American-style pancake. It is typically served with lingonberry sauce.

Tlacoyos are oval-shaped fried cakes made of masa, finely-ground corn. They are similar to fresh corn tortillas, but are somewhat torpedo-shaped and fatter. Sometimes tlacoyos are stuffed with refried beans, dry cheese, fava beans or other ingredients. Tlacoyos are an excellent accompaniment to soups and stews. Most traditional tlacoyos do not have lard or salt in the masa, and if not eaten immediately after they are cooked, they become very tough and dry, even if reheated. The name tlacoyo is a variation of the Nahuatl word tlatlaoyo, a name given to an antojito typical of central Mexico. A larger version of the tlacoyo is the huarache.

A tortilla is not a pancake but a kind of unleavened bread made from maize corn or wheat flour. It is a staple of Mexican and Central American cuisine. The unrelated Spanish tortilla is a type of omelet.

A flour made from black gram, a bean, or lentils ground into a powder. Native to India, this flour is used for making various Indian dishes, such as dosa crêpes and idi cakes.

A batter cake made from flour, milk, oil, sugar, eggs and baking powder. The batter is poured into a waffle iron—two hot metal plates with a honeycomb pattern—and cooked until golden brown and slightly crispy. In the U.S., waffles are typically served for breakfast with toppings such as butter, syrup and fruit. There are two main types of waffles: Belgian waffles (sometimes called Belgium waffles) and American or Western waffles.

  • A Belgian waffle uses yeast in the batter, which yields a thicker, crisper and fluffier waffle. Belgian waffles rise higher, creating deeper wells to absorb syrup or dessert sauce.
  • An American waffle uses baking powder and baking soda—a faster cooking technique.
A waffle served with Equinox maple flakes instead of regular maple syrup.

The waffle evolved from the wafer, a light, thin, crisp cake popular during the Middle Ages. Wafer irons were two metal plates connected by a hinge, connected to an arm with a wooden handle. Some had honeycomb patterns, like today’s waffles, others had coats-of-arms, landscapes or other designs. Before electricity, the iron was placed over a fire and flipped using the handle, to cook both sides. Dutch immigrants brought these waffle irons to America in the 1620s; when Thomas Jefferson brought a waffle iron back from France in the 1790s, waffle parties became a popular entertainment. In the 20th century, waffles became common breakfast food when electric waffle irons made their preparation easy. Belgian waffles, a dessert waffle, were introduced at the Belgian Pavilion at the 1964 World’s Fair.

You can celebrate Waffle Day twice a year in America: International Waffle Day on March 25th (there are many choices in this glossary) and National Waffle Day on August 24th.

An appliance used for making waffles. Though available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, most every waffle iron consists of two iron plates, each with a honeycomb pattern, hinged together to form a unit. To make a waffle, the batter is poured into the bottom half of the heated waffle iron, the top is closed over it, and it cooks until golden brown and slightly crispy around the edges. The original waffle irons were manual, held over the stovetop to cook; the newer versions are electric.  Waffle irons are now made in a variety of shapes, including square, rectangular, round, and novelty patterns from snowflakes to heart shapes to children’s characters like Mickey Mouse.

Waffle Iron
The Cuisinart nonstick waffle iron makes the classic round Belgian waffle shape. Click here to purchase.

The first waffle iron in America was patented in 1869 by Cornelius Swarthout. It sat atop a wood or gas stove. The first fully-electric waffle iron was made by General Electric in 1911, with a thermostat to prevent overheating.

Rose Bouquet Waffler Heart Waffler

VillaWare Rose Bouquet Waffler. This beautiful rose pattern makes exquisite waffles for breakfast or dessert. With just a sprinkling of powdered sugar, a dab of whipped cream and a strawberry, you have an impressive finale to lunch or dinner.  Add ice cream and raspberry sauce (or caramel and fudge) at your own discretion. Click here to purchase.

VillaWare Heart-Shaped Waffler. Start the day with a valentine: four hearts that pull apart or can be eaten as one large waffle. Click here to purchase.


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This glossary is an ongoing work that includes research from many sources. Some sources used include:
- “His Waffles Made Memories At The Queens World’s Fair,” Newsday (Queens Edition), August 22, 1989

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