These are the small round Belgian waffle of notoriously sweet crunchy fame. They are a bit denser than their lighter cousin, easy to eat with the fingers and, frankly, don’t really need a topping to enjoy. Ridiculously addictive … you’ve been warned.
Servings: 10 to 12 waffles
1 package dry yeast
1/3 cup lukewarm water
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup melted unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup pearl sugar (see note*)
Dissolve the yeast and 1-1/2 tablespoon sugar in the warm water. Let the yeast develop for 15 minutes while melting the butter in the microwave or low heat on the stovetop.
In a large bowl mix the flour and salt, press a hollow in the center and pour in the eggs, extract and melted butter. Stir to lightly mix, then add the yeast and work into an even heavy batter. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm area until the dough doubles in volume … this can take up to 1-1/2 hours.
Gently mix in the pearl sugar. Let the dough rest again for about 20 to 30 minutes. Warm up the waffle maker to time for the end of the rest period.
This waffle batter will not pour, but a 1/4 cup scoop for cookies or ice cream is perfect for measuring the dough and depositing at the center of a hot waffle grid. Press shut the lid and bake for 3 to 5 minutes or follow waffle maker instructions. Because the sugar is added last, the pieces do not dissolve into the batter, but will melt and caramelize with the butter for the special Liege waffle taste. Be careful when removing them from the waffle maker, as caramelized sugar can make them sticky and HOT!
Sprinkle with confectioners sugar and enjoy! They freeze well IF you have leftovers … which never ever happens at my house! A waffle can be warmed in the toaster and they are utterly delish dunked in hot coffee. Wrap 2 to 3 waffles in clear food bags to add to holiday gift baskets.
*NOTE: pearl sugar is tough to find, but you can make your own by grinding sugar cubes in a nut grinder, or dropping into a ziploc bag and cracking with a rolling pin until about 1/4″ pieces.
**CLEAN UP advice: the caramelized sugar can set up in the bottom plate of the waffle maker. Once cooled, it is the dickens to nudge out but is usually too hot to simply wipe out with a paper towel. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp of baking soda in each grid followed by a Tbsp of white vinegar to activate. Let set for 30 minutes (or longer, you may be stuffing your face with waffles!) and scrub with a toothbrush. Carefully rinse with hot water … most waffle makers cannot be submerged in water, so pour water gently over the tilted bottom plate over the sink until the soda grit is gone. Use a bamboo skewer to poke out any stubborn corner buildup from non-stick surface. And yes, this recipe is worth the clean up as well as your waffle maker will look near new!
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