It’s funny how food trends are always sweeping the country… cupcakes, macarons, gourmet donuts, food trucks, cronuts, and (maybe best of all) waffles! It’s also funny to me that I really couldn’t care less about fashion trends, and I wear the most boring clothing ever, but I’m always up to date on food trends. (Yes, I’m sure that says a lot about me as a person…) I mentioned before here that Geoff and I have a tradition every Christmas of going to see my very favorite performer, Peter Breinholt, and we always stop at the completely adorable waffle shop, Bruges, that’s near the theater. Their waffles are totally amazing… crisp and hot off the waffle iron, slightly crunchy from the pearl sugar, and full of sweet vanilla (or cinnamon) flavor. They have a bunch of delicious toppings you can choose from, but I always get mine plain, because they’re just that good!
I was thrilled when I stumbled across this recipe for liege waffles that I could make at home! Of course it’s fun to visit that little shop, but it’s always awesome to figure out how to make my favorite foods myself. The only slightly tricky part was tracking down the pearl sugar (which is totally essential in this recipe). I ended up buying mine at Orson Gygi (which is an amazing local cooking store) but they also sell it on their website here, or you could buy it on Amazon here. The package I bought had smaller grains of pearl sugar (and worked great!), but I think the bigger grains would be more authentic. (And fun!)
These waffles are a little different from traditional waffles… the dough uses yeast and has to rise, which makes them light and fluffy. They also end up a little more moist and soft in the middle than a typical waffle, with delicious little sugar pockets. We ate ours with fresh strawberries on top (and kind of wished we had some whipped cream…) but they would be delicious with any number of toppings, or just plain. These waffles are a must try!
adapted from Kristen Duke
3 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon yeast
3/4 cup lukewarm milk
1 stick softened butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
6-8 ounces pearl sugar
Add the flour to a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. In a measuring cup, dissolve the yeast in the warm milk until bubbly. Add the butter, eggs, salt, and vanilla, and mix until blended. Let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes. After the dough has risen, gently fold in the pearl sugar. Preheat and grease a waffle iron. Divide the dough into small balls, about 3-4 ounces each (no need to be too precise. Bake in the waffle iron until golden brown and cooked through. Serve with toppings of your choice (fresh fruit, syrup, whipped cream, etc.) or enjoy plain!
I bought some large pearl sugar when I went to Bruges because I wanted to recreate those waffles! It has a recipe on the package. But when I put the dough in my waffle maker, the sugar melted all over the place and burned both the waffles and the maker! Did you encounter anything like that? I was so bummed.
Hello Michelle! We can attest these waffles are tough to make and can be messy! The temperature of the irons needs to be exact to ensure caramelization of the sugar (and not burning of it). It can be hard to get this right on regular waffle irons, but start at a lower temperature and gradually increase until you see the sugar starting to dissolve and caramelize. For some more ideas, visit http://www.waffatopia.com . Good luck!!
We love Liege waffles too, we actually manufacture the dough. Just wanted to let you know that in your pictures you're using Swedish pearl sugar and not real Belgian pearl sugar. Swedish pearl sugar looks like pretzel salt and resists high heat. It's mostly used for sprinkling on baked goods and is designed specifically not to melt. However, Belgian pearl sugar are larger round chunks that melt and caramelize easily because they are made from beet sugar, not cane. The texture is much closer to sugar cubes where there are small granules. When the waffle cooks, some of the pearls melt/caramelize leaving a creme brulee like crust while other pearls stay together leaving a grainy sugar texture. Authentic Liege waffles will have a mix of both textures.
There are more sellers nowadays online and at places like Whole Foods so it's a bit easier to find than it used to be.
THE BELGIAN KITCHEN
Liege Waffle Dough Supplier