Mini Chicken & Waffle Stacks
Most Southerners have heard of chicken & waffles, heck, I've even seen cute little mini versions done before! The one thing I really wanted to do today was play around with SYRUP! Y'all know I love me some spicy flavors so I really wanted to put my spin on the maple syrup drizzle! I mean sweet and spicy flavorful goodness? YUM! The basics with this combination are chicken + waffle + maple syrup. OK, now how can we spice that up a bit? Add my favorite savory flavors and put a party spin that will leave our guests wanting more than a good filler? After playing around, I have three versions for you to choose from that I can tell you were ALL DELISH! So let's get started!
To begin I gathered chicken nuggets, mini toaster waffles, REAL maple syrup and an assortment of Jennifer's Kitchen pepper jellies: Hot Confetti, Peach and Strawberry. Real maple syrup is important by the way - you really want that true maple flavor! Nuggets and waffles are really just your personal preference. I tried these two versions off nuggets and found that they both tasted good but the Perdue version made for a "prettier" presentation. You will see the Perdue nuggets photographed throughout. My youngest has some food allergies and for him we always buy the Applegate (great brand for cutting out additives).
Now for the fun part ... choosing and making a syrup! Each syrup begins with a base of real Maple syrup. The three versions are Hot Maple, Strawberry Balsamic Maple and Peach Teriyaki Maple syrups. I had way too much fun tasting these, every single one was good so let's get started!
Preheat your oven and follow package instructions for your chicken nuggets first. Most take around 15 minutes which gives you plenty of time to make your syrup(s). To help keep them pretty for presentation, cook on parchment paper. It's my everything go to for non-stick cooking. No crust will be lost getting stuck to a pan!
Got your serving tray ready? Grab it and the toothpick or skewer you would like to use for your cute little minis! I used knotted bamboo skewers for a more colorful "worldly" vibe, plus I love how they have a cute, little handle. They come in various lengths. Most common are 4" and 6" so depending on what size you find, just trim them down with kitchen shears to the right length.
You can find them at places like World Market and local Asian markets. I found a 3.5" length on amazon that I will drop below. There are tons of options and size assortments, just search knotted bamboo.
The three syrups are fairly simple and yet pack so much punch, the hardest part is picking one! Here are the combinations and next we will get mixing!
Hot Confetti Maple Syrup: Jennifer's Kitchen Hot Confetti Pepper Jelly and Real Maple Syrup
Strawberry Balsamic Maple Syrup: Jennifer's Kitchen Strawberry Pepper Jelly, Real Maple Syrup and Aged Balsamic Vinegar
Peach Teriyaki Maple Syrup: Jennifer's Kitchen Peach Pepper Jelly, Real Maple Syrup and Teriyaki Sauce
Hot Confetti Maple Syrup
This first syrup is 1 part maple syrup and 1 part Hot Confetti pepper jelly. You can substitute the milder Confetti pepper jelly if you want to cut the heat level a bit.
Family size portion: Heat 1/4 cup of pepper jelly in microwave until just melted plus 1/4 cup maple syrup. Stir well.
Strawberry Balsamic Maple Syrup
Family size portion:
1/4 cup Strawberry pepper jelly, heat until melted.
1/4 cup Maple syrup
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Mix all well.
Peach Teriyaki Maple Syrup
Family size portion:
1/4 cup Peach pepper jelly, heat until melted.
1/4 cup Maple syrup
2 teaspoons teriyaki sauce
Mix all well.
Working out syrup to waffle/chicken stack ratios can really depend on how much syrup you like to drizzle on your stack! These measurements can be adjusted to your liking but these worked for me.
Snack/Lunch size syrup portions for 4 nuggets and 4 mini waffles (one toaster sheet):
1 tablespoon maple syrup, 1 tablespoon of pepper jelly, and 1/2 or teriyaki or balsamic if applicable.
20 stacks syrup portions that were listed beside each flavor heading above would be for 20 nuggets and mini waffles (5 toaster sheets).
Parties syrup portions will ultimately depend on how big your party is and how many of these little beauties you would like to serve. A good way to budget is 2 per person, then just double the 20 stack size syrup portion for up to 50 stacks and triple for 75. I tend to have syrup leftover sometimes when I make large portions. For some reason it doesn't need to increase at the exact same rate at the stacks do when you get up in the higher quantities. Magic!
You will want to toast your waffles a little bit crisp so they hold up under the chicken nugget and the syrup. Too soft and they end up flat and soggy during your party. Play with it to find your perfect toaster setting before entertaining. It's fun to sample the practice round! Grab a serrated knife to get perfectly separated mini waffles. It makes for nice clean edges.
At this point you should have your syrup made and on standby. Your nuggets about finished cooking or waiting patiently on the stove. Separate all of your mini waffles and grab your toothpick or skewer of choice and let's make some yummies! Not pictured; I chopped some chives for garnish because I just love a little pop of fresh green herb on pretty much anything savory. Plus it adds that finishing touch that elevates the dish even more.
This really has to be one of the most satisfying appetizers to prepare because it's so simple and tastes so good! Just line up your mini waffles, add a chicken nugget on top and skewer with toothpick or what ever you chose. I had to cut these skewers down a bit, so check on the first one and adjust them all as necessary. Uniformity is visually most appealing!
Take your syrup and start drizzling a bit over each stack. Just enough to drip down the sides and give each one a good topping. I begin with one spoon for each and if I have syrup remaining when done, I go back and add a little here and there as needed. This way you don't run out of syrup or accidentally pour too much on one and it keeps them uniform. (Hot Confetti pictured)
I tend to assemble these on the board that I will use for presentation as I love the little drizzle run off on some. You can choose to make them on a cookie sheet and then move them to your serving platter.
Sprinkle a bit of chopped chives on top of each for that extra pop! Aren't they PRETTY? They taste divine too! A filling appetizer that really elevates the chicken nugget and yet so easy! I just love that!
Be sure to let me know if you make these, I love to see! Post a pic and tag me! I can't wait for the parties! Insta and facebook @fromjenniferskitchen
I will drop links below for the Jennifer's Kitchen pepper jellies used or you can check the "find us" tab where to shop local.