I grew up eating many traditional Belgian foods, but waffles were never really one of them. My Mum never made them nor did my Nana and I don't remember eating them all that much when we visited. Ironically, my fondness for the Belgian waffle really developed in the US! For many years now, one of our favorite and first stops at the farmer's market on weekend mornings is the Taste of Belgium stand for one of their fresh, warm waffles. They are yeasty and dense with caramelized edges and a sweet, fluffy interior. They are known as Liege style waffles and are very different from the light, thin waffles, most of us are accustomed to eating. Apparently, this style is not the type of waffle made in my region of Belgium, even though you can still find them in stores. They are best eaten alone or topped with whipped cream and berries. No syrup needed! And the bonus is they keep really well, no soggy waffles here. Just place in an air tight container or cover with plastic wrap. I was intrigued to try recreate our favorite version at home and after testing several recipes, I've found a winner. (Voted on by my faithful recipe testers! Let's just say they LOVE when Mama is trying new recipes that involve lots of butter + sugar :)) I've made the dough and let it sit in the fridge over night and I've made the dough fresh in the morning, both ways produce great results. But it's nice to know you can do a lot of the prep, which is really more waiting than anything else, ahead of time if you so choose.
^^ the caramelized edges are thanks to Belgian pearl sugar that is incorporated into the risen dough right before cooking the waffles ^^
^^ If you are local, you can find Belgian pearl sugar at Jungle Jim's, or order it online here. The Lars brand does have larger sugar crystals than what you traditionally find in Belgium (or the type pictured above), but I've tried them and they work perfectly. ^^
^^ this is the batter after rising for 1 hour and 45 min, before adding the sugar. I fold the sugar in very gently (it will deflate the dough a bit), also the sugar does not incorporate all the way, you'll see the crystals in the dough. ^^
^^ Getting the temperature right takes a bit of trial and error (not sure I've nailed it yet), I actually over cooked the first batch on the day I took these pics. I keep the setting on my iron right around 3, in the middle. I do not pre-oil or butter the grates and I don't have any trouble with sticking. I use an ice cream scoop to portion the dough. ^^
Recipe | Liege Belgian Waffles
(adapted from here)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 packet of active dry yeast
- 1/3 cup lukewarm water, 100-110 degrees
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, melted (about 1 cup)
- 1 cup Belgian pearl sugar
- In a small bowl, whisk the brown sugar and yeast into the lukewarm water and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle, mix the flour with the salt. Make a well in the center of the bowl and pour in the yeast mixture. Mix at medium speed until shaggy, about 1 minute. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing between each addition. Whisk the vanilla with the 1 cup of melted butter. With the mixer at medium-low, gradually mix in the butter until smooth; the batter will be thick and very sticky. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the batter rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour and 45 minutes. (you can refrigerate dough, over night, at this stage if you wish)
- Fold the pearl sugar into the risen batter. Cover again and let rest for 15 minutes, while you heat up the waffle iron.
- Using an ice cream sized scoop of batter for each, cook the waffles until they are golden and crisp; (brush the waffle iron with melted butter if needed, I do not find this necessary. Note that the butter will burn at higher temps, so be careful if you do use it to switch to a low enough heat on your waffle iron). Transfer the waffles to plates, then serve.