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Shannon M. Smurthwaite
Waffles can be a little artisan in appearance. Chocolate waffles can be served whole or sectioned off into smaller portions to compliment ice cream or pudding.

Waffles are a great change-up to summer desserts. Prepare them easily by using a chocolate cake mix and you've got a crowd pleaser. They are quickly assembled, with a short chilling time, and all without firing up your oven to bake them.

Shannon M. Smurthwaite
Use just a few fresh ingredients, a cake mix and your waffle iron. Chill your batter for 30-45 minutes before you begin.

This recipe is versatile with an array of popular add-ins and topping options. Waffles have an artisan aesthetic flare. They don't require precision or need to be perfect. Your waffle iron tells you when they're done. It's just that simple. Extra texture is created by sprinkling the waffle batter with crushed chocolate graham crackers or crushed chocolate wafer cookies, both on the bottom and top, before the waffles are cooked.

Serve waffles whole or sectioned apart to complement a dish of ice cream, custard, parfait or pudding. Served whole, they can be rolled or sandwiched with fillings. Let budding chefs get creative with fresh fruit, coconut, syrups and nuts to top off the waffles. Consider a "waffle bar" for your next gathering, allowing your guests to design their own dessert.

Waffle irons now come in an assortment of shapes and sizes. Experiment on your first attempt with this recipe. Also, cake mixes vary. If your batter is too thick, add in a small amount of water to thin.

Waffles aren't just for breakfast anymore. Check out my list of options to this basic dessert recipe and then dust off your waffle iron.

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CHOCOLATE DESSERT WAFFLES

1 chocolate cake mix, preferably without pudding in the mix

2 large or 3 medium eggs

Shannon M. Smurthwaite
Finely crushed chocolate graham crackers sprinkled on both the bottom and top of your cake batter will give your waffles a little extra crunch.

6 tablespoons of butter, softened, not clarified. Do not use margarine

¾ cup water

1/3 cup chocolate chips

3 whole chocolate graham cracker rectangles or several chocolate wafer cookies, crushed (about 1/3 cup) for dusting

Optional batter add-ins: coconut, white chocolate chips, mint chips, chopped nuts, crushed toffee pieces. Optional toppings or fillings: caramel sauce or caramel topping, whipped cream, ice cream, pudding, fresh fruit (berries, bananas, kiwi, mango, pineapple), maple syrup or frosting.

Directions:

In large mixing bowl, add dry cake mix, eggs, butter and water. Stir. Add in 1/3 cup chocolate chips and stir again until well blended. Chill batter in your refrigerator 30-45 minutes.

Spray your waffle iron according to manufacturer suggestions. Set aside.

Crush 3 (whole) chocolate graham crackers or several chocolate wafer cookies. Place in small bowl and set aside.

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When your batter has chilled, warm up the waffle iron. When it is ready to cook, sprinkle 1 teaspoon of crushed graham crackers around the bottom of the waffle iron, then scoop 1/3 - ½ generous cup (according to the size recommended for your waffle iron) of batter into the center of the waffle iron and top with another 1 teaspoon of crushed graham crackers. Close waffle iron. Gently remove cooked waffles and transfer to a cooling plate. Stacking them while cooling is fine.

Makes about 6 large waffles.