|Belgian Liege Waffle|
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
Liege Belgian Waffles (Makes 12)from Lars
3 1/2 c flour
1 package dry yeast
3/4 c lukewarm milk
2 sticks softened butter
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: