Monday, March 16, 2015

Here's to Leslie Knope: Funfetti and Chocolate Waffles

For the past seven years, Parks and Rec has provided countless half hours of pure joy. More so than any show on television, it was about hope and never left you without smile on your face the size of Lil' Sebastian. From Duke Silver to Bert Macklin to Jean-Ralphio, Parks always found a ridiculous way to make us laugh. When it came time to both celebrate fellow Parks fanatic (and award winning shortbread decorator) Kathryn's birthday as well as watch the finale, we knew what we had to do (sorry, Ben, but calzones just aren't dessert food). The result was an amazingly delicious night of birthday waffles that would have made the world's greatest fake public servant, Leslie Knope, proud.

For the life of me, I will never understand why Jerry Terry Garry looks so sad here.

Funfetti Waffles
Adapted from
Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 3-4 large waffles

Now you have to decide if it goes in a cake pan or a waffle iron
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup Funfetti Cake mix
3 tbsp baking powder
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp  salt
1 1/4 cups milk
1 egg
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
Colorful sprinkles to your heart's content

1 cup powdered sugar
4 tbsp Funfetti Cake mix
4 tbsp milk
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Even more colorful sprinkles, preferably shaped like dinosaurs

  1. Preheat your oven to 200 F.
  2. Whisk the flour, cake mix, baking powder, sugar, and salt together in a medium bowl. 
  3. Make a well and add in the eggs, milk, olive oil, and vanilla extract. 
  4. Whisk together until a thick batter forms. 
  5. Stir in extra sprinkles to make it more colorful.
  6. Add ~ 1/3 of the mix to a hot waffle iron coated with cooking spray and cook until the waffle is easily removed (typically ~3-5 minutes). Keep waffles warm in the oven after they're done.
  7. Make the glaze by whisking all the ingredients together in a bowl. Change it to your desired consistency by adding milk or powdered sugar. The current recipe is on the thick side.
  8. Prove to the world that bringing your sprinkles with you during your move was the best choice ever and decorate the hell out of some waffles.
Layer upon layer of sugar the way god intended. 
Of our two waffles, I think these were the most up Leslie's alley. It's a waffle made of cake! The funfetti taste (and of course fun) really came through in this unique sugar bomb that held the distinction of being the birthday girl's favorite. Plus it finally gave me a chance to prove to Robin that bringing all of my sprinkles with me during the move was not in fact insane (dinosaur sprinkles all the way!). My only regret was that we have a thinner waffle maker and these would have been even more caketastic in larger, Belgium Waffle form.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Waffles
Adapted from Alton Brown
Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6-8 large waffles

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 eggs at room temp, beaten
2 oz unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
16 oz buttermilk, room temp
Milk chocolate chips
Whipped cream

  1. Preheat your oven to 200 F.
  2. Whisk the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and baking soda together in a large bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, melted (and cooled) butter, vanilla, and buttermilk together. Make sure to have these near room temp, or your batter may take on a weird consistency.
  4. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients and whisk well.
  5. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  6. Ladle the desired amount into the waffle iron and let cook until finished (typically around 3-5 minutes). Keep waffles warm in the oven until finished.
  7. Apply a small, yet pretty amount of whipped cream and raspberries for the picture. Immediately add a Leslie Knope-ian amount once said pictures are taken.
Picture showcases ~1/10 of the final amount of whipped cream used while eating.
For Robin and I, these chocolate waffles won the night. The perfect amount of chocolate soothed us while we said goodbye to our favorite show, but it also allowed us to have tons of fun with a can of whipped cream while we made sure each bite of waffle was properly covered (and then washed them down with some straight from the source). These were great for the size/texture that our waffle maker produces, and they blew away my previous attempt at chocolate waffles.

Parks taught us many important life lessons like the love of breakfast foods
These waffles provided us with a proper sendoff for our most beloved Parks crew, while they in turn gave us one of the most brilliant and rewarding finales ever. I thought I was going to be sad to see my tv friends go, but I was too busy being excited and smiling yet again while watching their pitch perfect futures. Goodbye, Pawnee, and thanks for everything!

I now leave you with the immortal wisdom of Leslie Knope.

"We need to remember what's important in life: friends, waffles, work. Or waffles, friends, work. Doesn't matter, but work is third."

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