Friday, February 13, 2015

Galentine's Day Waffle Sundaes for "Parks & Recreation"

          In season 2, episode 16 of NBC's "Parks & Recreation" we're introduced to the Leslie Knope instituted holiday known as "Galentine's Day" which takes place on the day before Valentine's Day. As the name suggests, it's just for the gals.

"Oh, it's only the best day of the year. Every February 13th my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home, and we just come and kick it, breakfast style. Ladies celebrating ladies. It's like Lilith Faire, minus the angst. Plus fritatas."
 –Leslie Knope, "Parks & Rec", S.2, Ep.16

          Because of Leslie's intense love of waffles, I forwent the fritatas and dove into waffle sundaes instead, which Leslie frequently indulges in with passion.


Note: I made two types of waffles that I think Leslie would love; fluffy Belgian waffles, and sugary Liege waffles, both decked out with fruit and a ton of whipped cream. Please note that the liege waffle process is long, but I really think Leslie would love the sugary, crispy, breadiness of it. Because it's more labor intensive though, I placed it second to the easier, but just as delicious, fluffy waffles.


Fluffy Belgian Waffle Sundae

Ingredients:
2 Cups Flour
3 Tbsp Granulated Sugar
(OR 2 Tbsp granulated for the batter + 3 Tbsp Swedish Pearl Sugar, if you have it, folded in at the end.)
1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
2 Eggs, room temperature, separated
1 1/2 Cup Buttermilk, room temperature
(or 1 1/2 Tbsp Lemon Juice + enough milk to make 1 1/2 Cup)
1/2 Cup Butter, melted
1 tsp. Vanilla Essence
1/4 tsp. Salt
Vanilla Ice Cream (I think frozen yogurt is great for this)
Whipped Cream (I used homemade)
Fresh Strawberries, thin sliced (about 3 or 4 per sundae)
Bananas, diagonal sliced ~1/8" thickness (1 banana per sundae)
Chocolate Syrup or Fudge Sauce
1 Maraschino Cherry (per sundae)

Important Item:
Belgian Waffle Iron

Directions:
1. Grease (or use non stick spray) & heat your waffle iron. Preheat your oven to 200ºF (this is only to keep the finished waffles warm). In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, & baking soda. In a medium bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until they become a little bit lighter & creamy looking, & then add in the buttermilk, melted butter, & vanilla & beat until well combined. Add the wet ingredients into the dry & stir until just combined.
2. In a clean medium bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy & then add in the salt & beat on high until stiff peaks form. Fold the whites, plus the pearl sugar if you're using it, into the batter until just combined.
3. Pour enough batter onto the waffle iron to spread to the edges & then close. Cook until the waffle is golden brown (my time frame was just a smidgen beyond the light on my machine turning off, which is the sign that the waffle is done). Keep the finished waffles warm in the oven until ready to make the sundaes.
4. Stack 2 waffles & top with banana slices & a dollop of vanilla ice cream. Drizzle with a little chocolate syrup & then put generous amounts of whipped cream around the ice cream (I scooped whipped cream into a plastic baggie & snipped off a corner to pipe it). Place the strawberry slices around the whipped cream & top it all off with a cherry.


Liege Waffle Sundae
(Waffles based on this recipe)

Ingredients:
1 1/2 tsp. Active Dry Yeast
1/4 Cup Milk
2 Tbsp + 2 tsp. Water
2 Cups Bread Flour
1 Egg, room temperature
1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. Light Brown Sugar
3/4 tsp. Salt
8 1/2 Tbsp. Butter, room temperature
1 Tbsp. Honey
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
3/4 Cup Swedish Pearl Sugar (I bough some Lars Own off Amazon)
Bananas, diagonal sliced ~1/8" thickness (1/2 banana per sundae)
Whipped Cream (I used homemade)
Chocolate Syrup or Fudge Sauce
Vanilla Ice Cream (I think frozen yogurt goes really well with this)
1 Maraschino Cherry (per sundae)

Important Item:
Waffle Iron (mine is a Belgian waffle maker)

Directions:
1. Combine the milk & water & warm to about 110-115ºF (I zapped mine in the microwave). In a large mixing bowl, stir the yeast with the warm milk/water to moisten. Add in the egg with 2/3 cup flour & mix with a dough hook attachment, scrapping down the sides as you go. Turn off the mixer & sprinkle in the rest of the flour (do not stir!). Cover & set aside for about 75-90 minutes.
2. Uncover & add in the brown sugar & salt & mix on low just to blend it in. Next, add in the honey & vanilla & mix on low again, also adding in 2 Tbsp. of butter at a time. Mix on medium-low speed for 4 minutes & then let rest for 1 minute. mix for another 2 minutes. The dough should ball to the mixing hook. Scrape the dough into a large bowl & sprinkle with a little bit of flour & then cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 4 hours. After the four hours is up, place the bowl of dough in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
3. Deflate the dough by pressing it down with a spatula & then scrape it on to a large sheet of plastic wrap. Press & roll the dough into a long rectangle & then fold it in thirds, the 2 ends coming in to the center to form a square. Wrap the dough tightly with the plastic wrap & place it in the fridge with a plate on top overnight.
4. The next day, place the dough into a large bowl & pour in the pearl sugar. Knead well until the sugar is evenly distributed. Divide the dough into 5 sections & shape them into ovals. Cover loosely with plastic wrap & let sit for about 90 minutes.
5. Heat your oven to 200ºF (this is to keep the completed waffles warm). Grease your waffle iron with nonstick spray, or, I used coconut oil, & then cook 1 dough oval at a time, at 365-375ºF for about 2 minutes or until crispy & deep golden brown. Place in the oven to keep warm.
Note: Because my waffle iron is not special & only has one setting, I had to heat it, unplug it, & then put the dough on. I repeated this for each waffle because my waffle iron heats at a considerably high temperature.
6. Place 1 waffle on a serving plate & top with banana slices. Scoop some whipped cream into a plastic baggie & snip off a corner. Pipe a thick doughnut of whipped cream over the bananas & then drizzle a little bit of chocolate syrup or fudge sauce over it all. Place a scoop of ice cream in the middle of the whipped cream "doughnut" & then top with a cherry.


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