Kramer and I are huge Parks and Recreation fans; everything about that show is incredible. All of the characters are so well done, and most importantly, Leslie Knope is the most positive female figure on television right now. She’s strong, she’s independent, she knows what she wants, and she’s not afraid to eat! I love hearing her rave about her love of food and rant about her hatred of salads – she is truly a woman after my own heart (and Kramer’s too). Therefore, I decided to pay tribute to the goddess that is Leslie Knope (and, in turn, the lovely and influential Amy Poehler) with some JJ’s Diner inspired Belgian waffles. As JJ once said about Leslie, “[She’s] my best customer. [She] spent over a thousand dollars last year on waffles alone.” JJ’s Diner is Leslie’s favorite restaurant, and she always orders waffles with extra, extra whipped cream whenever she goes. I like to think that JJ makes waffles almost identical to these, and the secret to their deliciousness lies in a simple twist: browned butter. They add a bit of depth to your ordinary Belgian waffle, but I suppose that any waffle is irresistible with plenty of maple syrup, fruit, and whipped cream on top. Kramer and I can’t wait to make these again and again, in honor of our favorite politician, Miss Leslie Knope.
A few words of wisdom from our friend Leslie Knope.
Brown your butter, then whisk it together with the yeast, sugar, warm water, flour, milk, and eggs. Allow to sit overnight at room temperature.
Whisk together the eggs and baking soda, then whisk them into your batter.
Add your batter to your heated waffle maker, and cook according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
I cooked my waffles for about 3 minutes each.
Serve with plenty of your favorite toppings.
Oh yeah, that’s the stuff.
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, browned
- ½ cup warm water (about 110 degrees F)
- 3 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 2¼ teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
- 2 cups milk, room temperature
- 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- maple syrup, for serving
- whipped cream, for serving (optional, but I highly recommend it)
- fruit, for serving
- First, brown your butter. Place your butter in a small pot and cook over medium heat, stirring often, for 8-10 minutes, until it's an amber color with a nutty fragrance. Allow to cool to at least room temperature before adding to the batter (if you don't, the batter will curdle when the hot butter hits the cool milk, so don't say I didn't warn you).
- In a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast and sugar over the warm water, and allow to sit for 5 minutes or so, until foaming. Whisk in the milk, then the cooled butter, then gently whisk in the flour and salt until just combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to sit overnight on the counter.
- In the morning (or at night, because hey, waffles make a perfectly good dinner), whisk together the eggs with the baking soda, then whisk them into the batter until well combined. Heat your waffle maker according to the manufacturer's directions.
- Add the recommended amount to the hot waffle maker (mine is a large Belgian waffle maker and I used about ¾ cup of batter for each waffle - the first one is always a test waffle and something for the chef to snack on while the rest of the waffles cook, though; remember that). My waffles took about 3 minutes in total - you want them to be golden and slightly crispy. You can preheat your oven to 250 degrees F to keep your other waffles warm until they are all done, then drizzle with plenty of maple syrup, whipped cream, and fruit, like sliced strawberries and blueberries.