Some people have the unfortunate situation of working for bosses that are less than amicable. My husband, however, has a boss that sends us recipes. Waffle recipes. Talk about a perk.
Steve (the boss man) shared that he once prepared this waffle recipe for a Belgian head chef at a renowned restaurant in Tuscon which is now featured on their menu. Pretty cool. Of course we had to try it.
After some quick looking around I determined the recipe is for not just any waffle but for Liège waffles. Richer and sweeter than a typical Belgian waffle we know here in the U.S., Liège waffles have a crunchy caramelized exterior and a dense chewy cake-like interior. (The boss man apparently knows a thing or two about good taste, y’all.) They’re the most common waffle served in Belgium, and quite a popular street food there. I’d say so! If I lived there I would certainly make sure my daily route passed by a waffle cart.
I’ve had this recipe in my possession for a few weeks, with every intention each weekend of making a batch for a Saturday breakfast or brunch. Life gets in the way sometimes of even the sweetest things, it seems. If I had known how perfect these Liège waffles are for dessert I would’ve made them much sooner, brushing away the unnecessary excuse of them needing to be served only for breakfast and having them for dessert instead, because they make for the perfect dessert indeed. Serve with a simple dusting of powdered sugar and fruit, or like the boss man suggests, a slathering of Nutella.
A few notes:
It’s all about the sugar, sugar. What makes Liège waffles special are the larger sugar crystals that caramelize on the outside and create great texture on the inside as well. You’ll see that there are 2 different kinds of sugar listed in the recipe: a small amount of regular white granulated sugar and then later, a large amount of pearl (or demerara) sugar. For the latter, pearl sugar is the best to use, with demerara as a close substitute. Don’t skimp on this ingredient. I used demerara (shown above), which is okay, but if you can get your hands on some pearl sugar, do so. Pearl sugar is much larger than what is shown above and white, like little pearls.
Not all waffle irons are created equally. The most difficult thing I found about this recipe was finding the correct cook time and temperature with our waffle iron, or as the boss man says “dialed in.” I recommend (and so does the boss man) to cook one waffle at a time until you get the temperature and time correct. We finally settled on a medium setting for out waffle iron for 7-8 minutes, but the boss man sets his on high for about the same time. You’ll also find what doneness you prefer best. We had a range of colors for our first run. I was partial to the darker ones, myself. There’s nothing like a nice crispy caramelized outside.
Rise and shine. Always use fresh yeast that’s not past date when cooking with yeast.
Weighty things. I use a food scale when needed, especially when measuring for baked goods. A food scale is so very helpful for getting exact amounts with dry ingredients (and easier too). If you don’t own one, think about getting one. Seems like the digital food scale we own was around $15 and is small enough to fit in a kitchen drawer under some dish towels. With that said, I’ve included both metric and conventional U.S. measurements.
(By the way, for this recipe, I weighed the dry ingredients first, then sifted them together.)
There’s nothing vanilla about vanilla, man. I’ve grown quite fond of vanilla bean paste, which contains actual vanilla beans and is a very close second in my book from using actual vanilla beans. Try it out if you get the chance.
- 420 grams (14.8 oz.) all-purpose flour
- 7 grams (1/4 oz.) salt
- 25 grams (.88 oz.) granulated white sugar
- 300 grams (10.6 oz.) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 2 whole large eggs, room temperature, beaten
- 7 grams (1/4 oz.) fast-acting yeast (1 of those little packs found in most groceries here in the U.S.)
- 14.8 milliliters (1 tablespoon) vanilla extract (I used vanilla bean paste.)
- 200 milliliters (6.8 oz., fluid) sparkling water
- 270 grams (9.5 oz.) pearl (or demerara) sugar
- Combine the first three dry ingredients, all-purpose flour, salt and granulated white sugar, through a sifter into a large bowl. Make a well for adding wet ingredients later. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the beaten egg, fast-acting yeast and vanilla extract. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes to activate the yeast.
- Whisking continually, slowly stream in a little of the melted butter to temper egg mixture, then slowly add the remaining, whisking until well combined.
- Mix in the sparkling water.
- Pour the wet mixture into the dry. Using a fork, combine and mix vigorously for about 5 minutes until the mixture develops into a large ball. Allow to stand for about 10 minutes.
- Add in half of the pearl (or demerara) sugar. Mix well to incorporate. Repeat with the balance of sugar.
- Preheat Belgian waffle iron to medium-high. (You'll need to test what temperature and cook time work best for your waffle iron, and adjust accordingly.)
- Using an ice cream scoop or ⅓ cup measure, place scoops of dough into Belgian waffle iron. Cook until crispy medium-golden brown exterior forms and inside is soft and chewy. Total cook time may be upwards of 8 minutes.
- Allow to cool slightly and serve with your favorite toppings.