Why Marcus Samuelsson Adds Peanut Butter To Waffle Batter - Exclusive

Sometimes, inspiration strikes in a moment of clarity and sometimes it takes work. Chef Marcus Samuelsson knew he wanted to make a peanut butter waffle as part of his peanut-themed pop-up at his Atlanta restaurant, Marcus Bar & Grille, but he told us in an exclusive interview he wasn't exactly sure how to approach it. "We started to think about how we can infuse the peanuts not just on top as a garnish, but into the batter," he explained. 

Finally, Samuelsson decided to try adding peanut butter directly into the batter and the results were extraordinary. "Putting peanuts into the waffle gives you a whole other texture too, that makes the waffle both crispier but also creamier in a way." The benefits of the fat from the peanut butter are that it enhances the layers of texture within the waffle. 

This means that consumers get a lovely peanut flavor and a crunch that works perfectly with the fried chicken it was paired with on the menu. Samuelsson only discovered this benefit because of this event. "That's something that, for example, we wouldn't have come to that without having this pop-up at the [Marcus Bar & Grille]." Now, he has shown that peanut butter waffles are more than a gimmick — they are a stand-alone favorite. 

Vegan food isn't an after thought

The benefits of peanut butter waffles extend past a standard waffle. Samuelsson offered a vegan version of peanut butter chicken and waffles, with mushrooms and a vegan peanut butter waffle. Once again, he found that peanut butter was the secret ingredient. "We use peanut butter as the base and the foundation, and mixing that with plant-based dairy, we create a vegan waffle," he said. "We're mixing that up with flour and then adding in peanut butter into that so it gets that creamy texture ... and it gets really crispy." 

It can be hard to get creaminess when making food without animal products due to the lack of dairy or egg yolks, fortunately, peanut butter helps add that back in. However, Samuelsson is clear that he would not have served it if the vegan waffle hadn't been good. "We take pride in making sure that vegetarian food doesn't feel secondary," he explained. "Making vegan waffles and then treating the mushrooms almost like a chicken, so it's a play on chicken and waffles. It works well together. "

Samuelsson's Marcus Bar & Grille pop-up ended on Sunday, October 15. To keep up with Marcus Samuelsson's latest projects and future events, follow him on Instagram.