My husband and I, like many others, spent part of our TV time last month binge-watching Stranger Things. For those of those unfamiliar, Stranger Things is a Netflix series that’s essentially one big love letter to the horror and sci-fi films of the 80’s. It’s by turns creepy, nostalgic and adorable. What truly made the show for me was the cast, in particular the child actors. Millie Brown is obviously fantastic, and my friends and I are fighting over who gets to be Gaten Matarazzo’s adoptive aunt. That boy’s smile just makes you want to buy him pizza and video games.
**SPOILERS BEGIN HERE**
Stranger Things mostly features junk food, since much of it is seen through the eyes of the kids. Eleven takes a huge liking to Eggo waffles, and Dustin abandons a tense situation to hunt for hoarded chocolate pudding. These were definitely the most memorable food scenes for me.
I also wanted to incorporate the visual and atmospheric elements of the show, but I was at a loss for how. I lamented on Twitter that I didn’t want to just do a chocolate pudding and slap a Stranger Things title on it. Lots of people chimed in, including Diana from Fiction Food Cafe and Jas Hues. Jas brought up the idea of upside down food. Ding! Lightbulb. After a moment of chanting, “Why didn’t I think of that sooner?!” to myself, I got to work on figuring out how to bring the Upside Down dimension onto your plates.
A Note: this same conversation inspired Diana to make this awesome Stranger Things pudding pie, but upside down! Check it out.
In any case, I ended up making a waffle tower with one foot in the other dimension, so to speak.
**SPOILERS END HERE**
A quick note: if you want to save some time and be more true to the show, you can certainly use storebought waffles for this. I just love buttermilk waffles and never pass up a chance to make them. Do you, reader.
Another note: My friend Carrie at Witchy Kitchen posted her own take on Upside Down Waffles just yesterday! They look stupid good, so check out her interpretation too!
WAFFLES FROM THE UPSIDE DOWN
75g (1/3 cup) butter, melted
40g (scant 1/4 cup) sugar
1 pinch salt
1 tbsp vanilla
225g (2 cups) flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
225ml (1 cup minus 1 tbsp) buttermilk
1. In a large bowl, whisk together all your dry ingredients. Make a well in the center and pour in all the wet ingredients, then whisk in combine.
2. cook the waffles according to your waffle maker’s directions. Allow them to cool.
300ml (1 1/4 cup) milk
3 egg yolks
15g (2 tbsp) corn starch
2 tbsp butter
40g (scant 1/4 cup) sugar
1 tsp vanilla
100g (1 cup) semisweet chocolate chips
1. In a saucepan, whisk together every ingredient except for the butter and chocolate until smooth. Cook on low, stirring constantly, until thick and bubbling. Allow to bubble for at least 1 minute to rid the pudding of any starchy taste.
2. Place the chocolate and butter into a glass bowl and pour the hot pudding on top. Whisk together until smooth. If you’ve got any lumps, run the pudding through a sieve to remove them. Cover with saran wrap, touching the wrap to the top of the pudding, and allow to cool.
GOOP (Yes, that’s a technical term)
4g (1/2 package) powdered gelatin
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp heavy cream
2 tbsp corn syrup
1. In a bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and allow it to sit for 5 minutes. Now add the remaining ingredients and microwave 15 seconds at a time until melted and smooth.
2. Line a cookie sheet with a silicone mat and grease it with non-stick spray or oil. Pour a few tablespoons of the mix onto the silicone mat and tilt the mat to spread it out. Stick in the fridge until set. (To make more, repeat this process. You may only need one sheet, however.)
Dark Chocolate, about 6 oz
White chocolate, 3 tbsp
Corn Syrup, about 3 tbsp
Brown, green, black, and yellow gel food coloring
Syrup for waffles
Stiffly whipped cream, about 350ml or 1 1/2 cups (you may use cool whip, but avoid regular canned whipped cream as it will quickly deflate)
1. In a large bowl, melt the 6 oz of dark chocolate. Measure out 3 tbsp corn syrup and stir it in until it JUST barely starts to sieze up. Take care not to overstir, or the fat will begin to separate out. Turn it out onto some saran wrap and wrap it up. Allow it to cool for 20 minutes.
2. Fill your chocolate pudding into a large piping bag. Now, place a waffle on your serving plate. Pipe a layer of chocolate pudding onto the waffle, then sandwich on a second waffle. Repeat until you have a stack of 3 waffles.
4. Using a piping bag, pipe dollops of whipped cream around the top of the waffles. Top with sprinkles.
3. Pinch 3 golf ball sized balls off of your chocolate dough. Roll each piece into an oblong shape roughly resembling a slug. Arrange the slugs on the waffle tower as desired, making sure they’re only on one half. Now melt your white chocolate and stir in a couple of drops of the yellow gel color. Use a toothpick to dab yellow dots of chocolate onto the slugs.
4. In a small bowl, mix some waffle syrup with a small amount of black and green food coloring. Brush it over the slugs so they look slimey.
9. Grab your gelatin slime sheet from the fridge. Carefully peel pieces of it off the parchment and start draping them on the half of your waffle tower that has the slugs. Stretch or tear it a little if you want, just make it look sufficiently gross!
10. Finally, grab some regular waffle syrup. Drip some decoratively over the normal half of the waffle tower. Now, mix some black food coloring into more waffle syrup in a bowl and use that to drip over the Upside Down half of the waffles.
11. Serve and enjoy… just keep an eye on the lights.
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