These waffles are crunchy on the outside. Yes, crunchy. They are toffee-like and caramelized due to the secret ingredient: pearl sugar. They have little pockets of air inside. They are flaky and buttery and soft through the middle. They pull apart like brioche or croissants. Yes, croissants. Think of these as croissant waffles. Kind of.
These are traditional Belgian waffles. Liege is a city in Belgium, where these are famous and commonly sold by street vendors. I want to go to Belgium just for these. And, well, maybe for the chocolate.
I fell in love.
He sold the waffles for $2 to begin with, and you could have any topping you like, from icing sugar to Nutella and whipped cream. I like them with icing sugar best.
They are much more expensive now, and he sells baguettes as well, but my love for Liege waffles remains. So not long ago, I went on a hunt for a waffle maker.
And in Australia, where waffles aren’t really a big deal, it was difficult. It took me forever to find a waffle maker that had square plates (not round) so I could make Liege waffles.
Then, when I was making these waffles you see here one morning for brunch with a girlfriend, my waffle maker stopped working. That’s right. It broke. Mid waffle-making. The little light just turned off and Mr Waffle Maker died. Disaster.
So I cooked the rest of the dough in the jaffle maker. FAIL. It was raw in the middle. Don’t try this at home.
These waffles are made with yeast and the dough requires some growing time. If you want to make them for breakfast, make the dough the night before and refrigerate it, covered overnight. It will slowly grow in the fridge and be ready for you to cook in the morning.
1 packet of dry yeast (7g, 1/4oz)
1/3 cup lukewarm water
1 1/2 tbsp white sugar
1/8 tsp salt
2 cups plain flour
220g unsalted butter, softened (1 cup)
1 cup of pearl sugar
This is pearl sugar.
Mix the dry yeast, water, sugar and salt together in a small bowl and set aside for about 15 minutes to let the mixture develop.
Place the flour into a large bowl or into the bowl of your electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Make a well in the flour and pour in the yeast mixture. Begin to knead.
Still kneading, add the eggs, one at a time. Then add the butter about 2 tablespoons at a time, mixing until each addition is incorporated. The final dough will look like a mixture between cake batter and bread dough.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise until it doubles in size.
Gently mix in the pearl sugar and let it rest for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, heat your waffle iron.
Once the waffle iron is hot and the dough rested, scoop a couple of tablespoons of dough onto each waffle plate. I used an overfilled ice cream scoop.
Look at all that golden, melted, caramelized pearl sugar.
Cook the waffles for about 5 minutes, until golden brown, crunchy and caramelized. Pull one apart and see how amazing it is inside.
Serve warm with a dusting of icing sugar. Makes about 12 medium-sized waffles.