What’s the first thought that comes to your mind when you think of Belgian Waffles? Is it the plate sized waffle topped with whipped cream, chocolate sauce and sprinkles brought to you by your local diner? What if I told you that’s not a real Belgian waffle?
Be prepared to have your mind blown and to never go back to those bland, over-sized waffles ever again.
I was first introduced to the liege waffle or more appropriately gaufres de liege sometime in 2007. It was a year prior to my wedding and my honeymoon to most wonderful place on earth, yes you guessed it, Belgium!! A new food truck had parked itself just up the block from our apartment in Park Slope – Wafels and Dinges. They were serving real Belgian waffles out of their bright yellow truck, sugar waffles where no topping was actually needed (but happily added).Superior Belgian waffles should and can be found from a truck!
Chewy and crispy with explosions of sugar crystals on the inside thanks to the large pearl sugar used in the dough, a new love was born. I lost count how many waffles we had on that trip to Belgium, but I knew one thing pearl sugar was coming home with me so I could recreate my own waffles whenever I wanted!
We’ve been back to Brussels twice since our honeymoon and I still bring home boxes of sugar. Sure I can buy it stateside, but I feel like it’s a little more authentic when I can barely read the language on the box! I’ve tried many liege recipes but always go back to the one from my favorite cookbook Everybody Eats Well in Belgium by Ruth Van Waerebeek. I tweaked the recipe a bit this time, using less liquid and bread flour instead of all purpose. The changed brought a less chewy and more crisp interior, I wouldn’t say bad but different. Next time I might go back to all-purpose flour for my chewy interior.
- 1 package dry active yeast (2½ teaspoons)
- ⅓ cup warm milk (about 110 degrees)
- 1 cup bread flour, plus 1 tablespoon
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 9 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 6 tablespoons bread flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon white granulated sugar
- ½ cup pearl sugar or ¾ cup crushed sugar cubs
- optional: 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- In a large bowl, whisk together the warm milk, brown sugar, 1 tablespoon flour and yeast. Let sit for 5 minutes or until foamy.
- Stir in the remaining 1 cup of flour, plus the egg to the yeast mixture. Stir until it forms into a ball.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and keep in a warm, draft free space in your kitchen until the dough has doubled in size. Approximately 1 hour.
- While the first batter in rising, in a medium bowl, mix together the butter, 6 tablespoons of flour, vanilla, baking powder, salt, granulated sugar, pearl sugar and cinnamon if using with a wooden spoon.
- Mix well to create a paste.
- Once the dough is fully risen, stir the butter/sugar paste into the dough until well combined.
- Heat your waffle iron according to its directions and spray with baking spray.
- Scoop the dough into the waffle iron and cook until the waffles are brown and the pearl sugar has started to caramelize.
- Serve immediately with a dusting of powdered sugar and a side of fresh fruit.
- Makes 5-6 waffles.
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