Friday, May 3, 2013

Belgian Liege Waffles or Not Just Any Waffle


Belgian Liege Waffle
 A waffle is a waffle is a waffle. Well, I might be waffling here, but not really. There are waffles and then there ARE waffles. If I had my choice I would choose this waffle. Now hear me out. This waffle is a yeast raised waffle but don't let that scare you. It's not like you have to knead this which I'd never suggest first thing in the morning. No, this waffle has such great flavor you really don't need syrup because this waffle contains sugar chunks. Don't you just love that word-sugar chunks. In fact, that would be a great name for a blog, I think.

See those white things on top of the waffle? Those are the sugar chunks. I buy them at a specialty store under the brand name Lars. They come in an 8 oz blue box which is labeled Lars, Imported Belgian Pearl sugar. According to Lars, the sugar creates crunchy pockets of sweetness as it softens under the heat of the waffle iron. Well, if you don't believe me, believe Lars. This is one great waffle. Lars's pearl sugar is not inexpensive and he does recommend using the entire box per recipe. (I mean, he is in the business of selling sugar, is he not?) Can't say that I agree. Half of the box is plenty and if you can't find it, feel free to smash some sugar cubes into chunks. That works, too. 

Now how did I discover this waffle? It's not like Europe is in my neighborhood where apparently waffles are sold like hotdogs on the street here.  When my daughter was in London she fell in love with them. (Oh, I'd just love to be my daughter.) After looking around frozen Liege waffles can be found at Whole Foods in the freezer section. They are very good and come in several flavors, particularly chocolate. They are not inexpensive. The last time I checked, which was awhile ago, they were clocking in at about $1.25 a waffle and  were sold in packages of 6, I think. That's a bit steep for me so I found Lars and he works out pretty good. 

There are many things to love about this waffle besides its incredible taste. For starters, the recipe makes about a dozen which means plenty to freeze. Being able to take them out of the freezer and pop them in to my toaster convection oven and heat them at 350 for no more than 4 minutes and then have a memorable breakfast is perfect for my weekends. Often it is the biggest highlight for my weekend!  The dough can also be flavored with cocoa or chocolate chips or cinnamon and used for dessert. Or you can take the recipe as is and gild the waffle with syrup or ice cream or fruit and also have dessert. The last time making these I threw lots of chopped cooked bacon in and had waffles with bourbon maple syrup. One could even top that with a piece of fried chicken. Are you following me here? The skies the limit when it comes to variables with this waffle.

The Liege Belgian waffle is not the most common Belgian waffle out there. In fact, they are hard to find, but becoming more popular. It is the sugar and the yeast that make them outstanding and different than the other Belgian waffle. From a bit of research it seems that the Liege waffle came about in the 18th century when the prince wanted a sweeter roll. His chef added sugar chunks and vanilla and apparently the prince fell in love with it. Now I'm not claiming total accuracy here, but it is a good story and the aroma of these while they are on the waffle iron is intoxicating.

So the weekend is here folks. Make the most of it. And bake these waffles. You won't be 
disappointed.



Liege Belgian Waffles (Makes 12)from Lars

Ingredients:

3 1/2 c flour
1 package dry yeast
3/4 c lukewarm milk
2 sticks softened butter
2 eggs
1/2 t salt
1 t vanilla
1/2 bag or 4 oz pearl sugar or coarsely chopped sugar cubes

Dissolve yeast in lukewarm milk for a few minutes. After it sits a few minutes I use my mini whisk to blend the mixture better.

Gradually add all the ingredients to the flour, except the pearl sugar. Feel free to use your hands, a pie crust blender or a mixer to do this. Really, I just use my hands and smush. Cover dough with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place until doubled. this takes  about 30-45 minutes. Now smush in the sugar.

Divide dough into small patties about 3-4 ounces each. (Believe it or not, I still have my weight watcher's scale from so long ago.) I weigh one to get an idea of what they should look like but this makes about 12.

After your waffle iron has preheated plop each patty in. They take about 90 seconds to bake. Take them out carefully so the sugar doesn't burn you. But don't wait to long to eat them. Nothing like a hot waffle.

So time to stop waffling. Go get a waffle iron. After all, mother's day is upon us. Impress her. Bake these waffles.



Other great things to try:






25 comments:

  1. This waffle looks amazing!!! I love the little flower decorating its top.

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  2. Thanks Denise. It is so good. The flower is called "cut and paste"!

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  3. I have had Liege waffles and they are most definitely terrific! I also keep a box of Lars pearl sugar for decorative sweet breads, so I'm incredibly intrigued and want to try the waffles with it. Thank you so much for posting this recipe and thank you so much for your thought-provoking and thoughtful comment about my friend. xo

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  4. Abbe, Belgian waffles are very popular over here in Germany. Yours look fantastic!

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  5. looks amazing and so delicious but I want to ask one thing after viewing your food photography
    May I know your photography kit. your pics looks amazing
    cheers

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  6. Pooja, I don't get many compliments on my photography so thank you very much. I have a long way to go but this photo I took last summer with a point and shoot and I use Picasa and Photoshop Elements to tune. The flower just seemed to work so I placed it there after the fact. Hope that helps!

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  7. I'm going to have to hunt down some pearl sugar! And yeast waffles is something I must try...we make lots of pancakes or waffles around here on Sunday mornings :) Yours look terrific!

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  8. Or sugar cubes, Liz! These won't disappoint you, I promise. And they are great to keep in the freezer!

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  9. I haven't heard of Lars sugar - I'm going to have to look for that. Although I always have sugar cubes on hand, so I could use those. These look like terrific waffles, and how great that they freeze so well! One of these days I really need to break down and buy a waffle iron. ;-) Really fun post and great recipe - thanks.

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  10. Lisa, sometimes you just have to get through it. And you will. And that's a great idea for the sugar that I've not though of.

    Thanks Angie. Like I said, I wish Europe was in my neighborhood!

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  11. Mr. KR. you should buy a waffle iron so quit waffling around! Or as my kids would say, "Just Do It, Nike!"

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  12. I wonder where I can get sugar cubes easily around here. But first I might need to buy a waffle iron... And when I do, yeast belgian will have to be Abbe! They look terrific

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  13. Paula, once you have a waffle iron you find a lot to do with it! Mine was an inexpensive one bought years ago and is still doing OK!

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  14. This is something! I've been to Liege and still didn't know about these waffles. How did I miss them? Well, they look very good, Abbe, and would be perfect for a brunch. I don't have a waffle iron but knowing that I can buy them at Whole Foods is great. Thanks for today's lesson. ;)

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  15. These look delicious, Abbe. I've been to Liege and never heard of them! I haven't a waffle iron but wouldn't mind buying them for a special brunch or occasion. Thanks for the shopping tip and the substitution fot the sugar pearls, and thanks for today's lesson. :)

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  16. Ah, I love liege waffles. Yours look perfect! Wish I had them for breakfast this morning! I recently started making waffles again (for dinner) after years of not touching my waffle maker. Yeasted waffles are on the menu next!

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  17. I'm drooling over your waffle! Who can resist sugar chunks??? Not me for sure. And you're so right, that would make an awesome blog name. ;)

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  18. John, thanks so much for commenting twice! Try them from Whole Foods. They are very good and are found in the freezer section.

    Thanks, Amy!That is a good name, isn't it?

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  19. Laura, these are awesome waffles. And so easy to make! Try them and let me know what you think.

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  20. My daughter has been bugging me like mad to get a waffle maker. We keep looking at them at the chef store. These waffles would make the perfect first recipe.

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  21. These are good ones, Kim. And once you have a waffle maker you find ways to use it. I've even made quesadillas on them! Those are great, too!

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  22. My mom loved Belgian waffles, and she would have loved these. She had an old recipe -- wow, probably more than a hundred years old then! -- for pancakes made with yeast, so this would have really tickled her. ;)

    I've got her Belgian waffle iron somewhere, now I've got your recipe. A match made in kitchen heaven. Thanks for sharing.

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  23. Oh, Ruhie. That's so sweet. I'd love to hear how they turn out. Now I'm going to have to find a pancake recipe with yeast!

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  24. I adore Belgian waffles, but have never tried making my own. Love the story that comes with it :)

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  25. Thanks Shirley. Glad you like the story and I know you will love the waffles!

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