Answer this question quick, without thinking about it: What's your favorite thing?
Got that in your head? Good. Now follow up: What's your favorite part of your favorite thing?
I did a quick impromptu survey around the office and got a pretty good range of responses.
Tracie's favorite thing is turkey, and her favorite part of the turkey is the skin. Respectable answer, undoubtedly influenced by the fact that she's been working on our Thanksgiving survival guide for the last couple of weeks.
Jamie, who was sipping rye, wearing an oversized scarf, and dancing in place to the sweet beats of Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch said that dancing in a rolling office chair is what does it for her. Why? Because the range of motion is double, no triple, no quadruple the standard human range.
Ed took a more philosophical approach and went with rooting for your team, because "when you're rooting for you team, there's no ambiguity." I find that statement slightly ambiguous.
I called up my wife and asked the same question. She settled for fried hot dog stars, and it's the crispy and salty bits that do it for her.
Robyn gave the most Robyn answer and said that sleep is her favorite thing, and her favorite part of sleep is the sleeping.
My answer to that question changes with the season and with the company I'm with (particularly when my wife is within earshot), but this time of year, it's simple: stuffing is my favorite thing, and my favorite part of stuffing is the crispy edge bits.
And how can we maximize those crispy edge bits?
Enter the waffle iron.
The idea is easy: prepare a batch of stuffing, and rather than baking it in a casserole dish, which only offers one plane for crisping, cook it in a waffle iron.
Frankly, I wasn't positive this was going to work at first. I think the fact that my stuffing recipe is essentially a savory bread pudding with a broth and egg custard base helped it waffle up nicely.
The process takes about twice as long as it takes to cook a regular waffle, but when all is said and done, it comes out with a wonderfully crisp exterior and a tender, moist core that retains just a hint of its custardy base.
As for saucing, the obvious choice was gravy, and that's what I went with at first, but then then Jamie had the brilliant idea of serving it with gravy and maple syrup.
We used this fancy-pants stuff from Canada with a French label and everything, so in addition to being f&%king delicious, our humble stuffing waffles also felt all sophisticated.
So listen: either you're turned on by the idea of a stuffing waffle or you're not. If you aren't, well, I can't help but to feel a little bit sorry for you, missing out on what should be one of life's greatest pleasures and all. But if you are, then I can honestly tell you that this was one of the most delicious things I've made all year, and I cook a lot.
And now I'm sitting here thinking about how awesome it'll be as a leftover turkey sandwich the day after Thanksgiving.
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Note: Thanks to Twitterer @pwillen1 who tweeted about this process!
About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.