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Belgian Waffles

When most people think of waffles, they might picture big stacks of giant, fluffy, sweet waffles covered in syrup. And while I do love a classic American waffle, they can't hold a candle to these Belgian Liege waffles. The recipe, adapted from one by Wordpress.com has a delicious yeast batter. A long stint in the fridge gives the waffles an almost fermented flavor, and crunchy pearl sugar gives these Liege waffles their signature caramelized crust. They're a bit indulgent, that's for sure, but they're certainly a delightful breakfast treat! 

Makes 6-7 small waffles

Ingredients

  • 3/4 teaspoon instant or active dry yeast

  • 1/4 warm water

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided

  • 2 eggs, divided

  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 2 teaspoons honey

  • 1 stick butter, room temperature 

  • 3/4 cup pearl sugar

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl or the base of a stand mixer, combine the warm water and the yeast. Mix gently and allow to sit for 5 minutes.

  2. Beat one of the eggs and add it to the yeast, along with 1/2 cup of the flour. Mix well to combine.

  3. Gently cover the mixture with the remaining cup of flour, but do not mix. Cover with a kitchen towel and allow to rest for 1 hour. The wet ingredients will start to absorb some of the flour. 

  4. Add the honey, brown sugar, vanilla extract, salt, and the remaining egg. Mix well to combine.

  5. Slice the softened butter into 10-12 equal chunks. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or a hand mixer with dough hook attachments, mix the dough, adding the butter one chunk at a time. Make sure the butter is evenly incorporated before adding the next butter pat. 

  6. Mix for another couple minutes, until the dough is smooth and slightly sticky. Cover with plastic wrap and toss it in the fridge. Let it sit overnight.  

  7. Before adding the sugar, let the waffle batter/dough soften outside the fridge a little bit, about 10-15 minutes. Then, fold in the pearl sugar.

  8. These waffles are supposed to be smaller than American ones; only about 1/3 cup of batter is needed for each waffles. In a typical home waffles iron, each waffles will take about 3-5 minutes. 

  9. Serve hot! The Liege waffles are so buttery and sweet, they don't even need butter or syrup. The outside is crunchy and caramelized, the inside soft, chewy, and buttery, and the whole thing is tangy and sweet! 

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Pearl Sugar

 

Pearl sugar, the special ingredient that gives these waffles their signature sugary crunch, is a type of sugar that does not melt at normal baking temperatures. It's made of compressed granulated sugar, and it can be found online. 

Warning!

Chances are, you're going to have some caramelized sugar stuck in your waffle iron. Good luck! *Tip: I found that soaking the waffles iron in a bit of water and vinegar made the task easier. 

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