This waffle is different from our traditional American Waffles. The Belgian Sugar (or “Liege” Waffle) is a popular street-food across Europe. Served warm, plain or garnished with chocolate, Nutella, fruit, ice-cream or whipped cream, it is enjoyed by thousands of shoppers and sight-seers. I decided to do a little internet research on the history of the Liege Waffle and this story is consistently shared:
"According to legend, it was invented in the 18th Century by the Prince of Liège's cook. At the Prince's request, he experimented with cooking a kind of bun by adding polished sugar to the dough. Seduced by the appetising odour of vanilla that emanated during the cooking, the Prince fell for the new cake's charm." Source
Belgian Pearl Sugar. Since I qualified for free shipping I decided it was time to see if I could recreate a childhood memory for my son. After looking at several different recipes, I decided to use the one on the very back of the box of pearl sugar. You might wonder if you can just crush sugar cubes. You could, but I wanted to be authentic. Having read other recipes, I'm told that there's something special about this Belgian Pearl Sugar. You really want the sugar to melt, and get that wonderful caramelization, don't you? The ingredients are: milk, yeast, eggs, butter, flour, salt, vanilla and eggs. Cinnamon is optional, but I decided to skip that.
therma-pen, you can see that 96 degrees was just right. You also want the butter and eggs to be at room temperature. Yeast likes warmth!
Begin by dissolving the yeast in the milk. That's easy enough, right?
NOTE: I turn my oven on to WARM for a few minutes, then turn it off. I cover the dough in a bowl, and place it into the warm and cozy oven to help proof the dough.
- Gently flatten the dough into a rectangle and add the pearl sugar.
- Fold the dough over, in thirds (my own technique to distribute the sugar throughout).
- Divide the dough into small patties, about 3-4 oz each.
NOTE: To be more traditional, Liege waffles are shaped into a rectangle.
SOLUTION: I figured that if that cart vendor could pull out a package of dough and make fresh waffles, then he must prepare them in advance. I wrapped each piece in plastic wrap and refrigerated them. The next day, I brought them to room temperature (about 30 minutes).
I greased the waffle iron and watched the steam as the sugar began to melt...
Does this picture need words? Really? Look at that bubbling sugar!
...and these were delicious! In fact, I think they tasted even better! Of course, I only took one bite (this time, because I'm cutting back on my sweets to lose weight). My son loved these. I made the rest on Day #3, and they turned out perfectly.
VERDICT: I can see why Liege Belgian waffles are a special treat. I can't imagine adding anything extra to these, but go for it if you want ice cream, or nutella, or fresh whipped cream. I recommend a fresh cup of coffee. A cup of Belgian Hot Chocolate would be even better!
I'll make these again as a special treat for my
boy grown son. Something tells me that when he's older, and married and has started a family of his own (in about 20 years) -- that I can lure him over to visit mom with the promise of these treats.
It's what mother's do for their boys.
A printable recipe is at the bottom of this page.
From mom's kitchen,