These are right up there with Eddy Merckx and Chocolate as the best things to ever come out of Belgium. These waffles are to me as cocaine is to Tom Boonen (I may have a problem!) They are nothing like any other kind of waffle and if you’ve never had one, you need to!
We first discovered these in a tiny, hole in the wall, Belgian restaurant in down town Salt Lake City, called Bruges. The place is barely big enough to fit the two large photos that decorate the interior: one of Eddy and one of their royal majesties of Belgium but it is the BEST waffle you will ever have! The owner is jovial (and always more generous with toppings than his employees!) and I’ve never left that place without a very big smile on my face. They are more dense than a regular waffle and slightly doughy, but the REAL magic is in the specially imported Belgian Pearl Sugar. It caramelizes as the waffles cook. Need I say more?
When I was pregnant with Lilly (like 10 days before she was born!) we took my brother-in-law and his wife there. It was after this trip that I decided “I bet I could make these!” but, being very pregnant and therefore not cooking much, I put that idea on the back burner for a while. Last year, for my birthday, I got an email from Matt and Kerry that simply said “We got you the SWEEETEST birthday gift ever!!” A couple of days later a package arrived and inside? 5 lbs of Belgian Pearl Sugar!!!
I had already researched recipes and knew which one I wanted to make. It looked the most authentic. Matt had, in fact, tried several and corroborated that this was by FAR the best. (He also had crushed up sugar cubes in place of the pearl sugar once and said it worked pretty well, so if you don’t want to spend the money for specially ordering pearl sugar you could do that.) The recipe is not difficult but it is time consuming. I finally decided that Andy’s birthday breakfast was the perfect time to give this a try. I made a triple batch. If you’re going to take that much time for something, you may as well have some for later! I placed some of the dough in the freezer for later use. These turned out absolutely perfect! This won’t stop me from going to Bruges from time to time, but it DOES mean that I don’t HAVE to drive 45 minutes for waffle perfection if I prefer to have it at home. 🙂
This recipe is from: http://liegewaffle.wordpress.com/liege-waffle-recipe-liege-gaufre-recette/ I will be cutting and pasting his directions and inserting my photos of each step of the process. I inserted my own cooking experience into step 11 which is denoted in italics.
makes 5 Gaufres Liège
• 1 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
• 1/4 cup scalded whole milk at 110-115 degrees
• 2 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. of water at 110-115 degrees
• 2 cups King Arthur Bread flour
• 1 large room temperature egg, lightly beaten
• 1Tbsp. + 1 tsp. light brown sugar
• 3/4 tsp. salt
• 8 1/2 Tbsp. soft room temperature unsalted butter
• 1 Tbsp. honey
• 2 tsp. vanilla
• 3/4 cup Belgian Pearl Sugar
1. Place yeast, milk, and water into the workbowl of a stand mixer. Stir for a few seconds to moisten the yeast.
2. Add the egg and 1/3 of the total flour. Mix to blend. Scrape down sides of bowl.
3. Sprinkle remaining flour over the mixture, but do not stir it in. Cover and let stand 75-90 minutes (at the end of that time, you’ll notice the batter bubbling up through the cover of flour).
4. Add brown sugar and salt to the workbowl of a stand mixer. Mix on low speed – just to blend.
5. With machine on low, add honey and vanilla. Then add 2 Tbsp. of butter at a time. Mix 4 minutes at medium-low speed; scrape down sides once or twice in that period. Let the dough rest for 1 minute and then continue to mix for 2 minutes. If you measured your ingredients perfectly, the dough will be sticking to the sides of the bowl in the last minute of mixing and then, in the last 30 seconds of so, will start to ball-up on the paddle. If this does not happen, let the dough rest for 1 more minute and mix for another 2 minutes. Whatever the outcome of the extra mixing, proceed to Step 6.
and all balled up on the paddle of the mixer.
6. Scrape the dough into a large bowl, sprinkle lightly with flour, cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for 4 hours. This step is crucial for developing the flavor.
7. REFRIGERATE FOR 30 MINUTES BEFORE PROCEEDING TO STEP #8. This is essential. The yeast respiration must be slowed before continuing.
8. Stir the dough down (meaning: gently deflate the gases from the dough, by pressing on it with a rubber spatula), scrape it onto a piece of plastic wrap, and then use the spatula to press the dough into a long rectangle. Fold that rectangle over on itself (by thirds – like a letter) so that you have a square of dough. Wrap it in plastic, weigh it down a bit (I put two heavy dinner plates on top of it) and refrigerate overnight.
9. The next day, place the cold dough (it will be quite firm) in a large bowl and add all of the pearl sugar to a bowl. It will seem like a lot of sugar, but it’s supposed to be Mix it into the dough by hand until the chunks are well-distrubuted. Once mixed, divide the dough into 5 pieces of equal size.
10. Shape each chunk into an oval ball (like a football without the pointy ends) and let it rise (covered loosely in plastic wrap) for exactly 90 minutes.
11. If you have a professional waffle iron (meaning: it’s cast iron and weighs over 20 pounds) cook at exactly 365-370 degrees (the max temp before sugar begins to burn/decompose) for approximately 2 minutes. I do not have a professional waffle iron, but my regular Belgian Waffle maker worked just fine. I did find the the back of my iron seemed to be hotter than the front, so I turned off the heat after the first minute or two so the back waffles wouldn’t be overdone. When I took them out I turned the heat back on to finish up the front two. Each waffle iron will probably have it’s own quirks, so just play with yours to see what works best. Give each waffle a few minutes to cool slightly before eating. No syrup or toppings are needed, unless you’d like to add some fruit or a dusting of powdered sugar; they’re quite sweet on their own.
LOLz aAwesome post!
SARAH!!!!!! I am salivating at the mere sight of these babies. I will have to have my chef whip these up tomorrow. P.S. Where do you get the sugar pearls?
They were a birthday gift from my brother and sister-in-law, but I know you can order them on Amazon. Just make sure they are the Belgian kind. Swedish pearl sugar is much smaller and does not yield the same results (so I’ve been told).
So, do you think this will work with my super old-fashioned, non-Belgian type waffle maker? Dad would love to see me give these a try.
You could give it a try. Let me know how it goes. I would watch the cooking time though since they will be so much thinner. Or maybe make the little balls of dough a little smaller? If you’d like a Belgian waffle maker you could ask Santa!…I’m just sayin’ I could put in a good word. 🙂
You are amazing! And how is it that with all your amazing cooking that you and Andy aren’t 200 lbs like the rest of America?!?!
Haha! Thanks!! 🙂
I’m impressed you got the dough to ball-up properly on the paddle. When I wrote the recipe, I always hoped people would be able to see that step happen; you clearly measured everything perfectly! Nice to see they made good “birthday waffles” in that last shot! – Adam (from http://liegewaffle.wordpress.com)
Angel Sierpina said:
any chance you have a fabulous recipe for pumpkin scones to share with us??
Now that Fall is in the AZ. air and Starbuck’s is serving Pumpkin spice lattes…you get my drift.
I will try to get one posted soon! I also have an excellent pumpkin waffle recipe! There are so many recipes I want to do and I just don’t have enough time. I have to remind myself I don’t have to do ALL of them immediately. I can post more next time it’s fall or winter! 😉 I’ll try to get that pumpkin scone recipe posted within the next week.
FYI there is a store in SLC that carries Lar’s Own Belgian Pearl Sugar:
The Old Dutch Store
2696 S Highland Drive
Salt Lake City, UT 84106
(801) 467-5052 or (800)673-0028
How many waffles would a 1lb bag of pearls make? I know you said 3/4 cup per recipe, but do u how much does that weighs?
I just measured and weighed mine and 3/4 cup weighed 4 oz. So a 1 lb bag should make 4 batches of waffles. Each batch makes 5 waffles. Hope that helps!
Andrea Merrill said:
Did u double the recipe in these photos?
I tripled it. I figured if I was doing that much work I should get more than 5 waffles out of it! 🙂 One recipe makes 5.
Andrea Merrill said:
I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the detail that u put into on this. How did your mixer hold up x3 the recipe? Did you store the waffles, and if so how did they hold up? Have you made any savory sandwiches with these waffles?
Thank you!! My mixer held up well. I remember at one point thinking it seemed to be working kind of hard but there weren’t any problems. If I made them with great frequency I would probably keep it to double batches to go easier on the mixer. I did freeze five of the dough balls with sugar in them and they turned out well when I thawed and made them. I think if I were doing it again I would try freezing the dough before adding the pearl sugar and seeing how they turn out that way. If you try it be sure to let me know! I’ve never made any savory sandwiches with them but I imagine there could be some fun combinations. Sea salt and Herb with small pieces of cheese them? Also let me know if you try out anything like that!
Andrea Merrill said:
Made them for a party last night and they were dee-lish. I prepared some of them with Swiss, cheddar, and a ham slice on top. Some I served with fruit. Next time I am going to try a caprese salad on top. I had one like that from a waffle cart and loved it. Could not have done it without your pics.
Oh good!! That is awesome! I’ll have to keep savory in mind to try some time. Thanks for the feedback!
Im from Brazil. I love Waffles, actually, Im working with that.
I really love your post about liege Waffles. The pictures are great!!
And so well explained…
Tks. Now, Im your fan!
Thanks! I hope you give them a try. They are truly delicious. In fact, we haven’t made them in a long time and now I am craving them! 😉
Love your blog! Just a quick question if you don’t mind sharing. What brand/ kind of Belgian Waffle maker do you have?
Thank you! Glad you like it, and I have a Krups. If I were buying a new one, with these waffles in mind I might go for something a little heavier duty, but it has really done well for us overall. I hope that helps!
I was just in Bruges, Belgium for my birthday weekend (I’m an Air Force wife stationed in Germany) and fell in love with those waffles, esp with strawberries and whipped cream! Can’t wait to try this recipe, I’m sure the pictures will help a lot!
Nice! I wish I could pop over to Belgium for a weekend! 🙂 I hope you enjoy the recipe.
So I found this on pinterest and finally made them…OMG they were amazing! Loved the texture of the waffles! Told myself I’d have a quarter of one and 2 waffles later… anyway, absolutely delicious! Only question is how to clean my waffle iron?
Good! I’m so glad you loved them! The waffle iron? I know, major pain. I use a paper towel and chopstick (to get in the grooves) to help get the sugar out. If sugar has really crusted on and won’t come off you can use a measuring cup to pour some water into the grooves and let it sit. The sugar should dissolve and be able to be poured off. I hope that helps!
hello these waffles look like a dream.. now i want to know how can i make a two docen of this, in a row with a kitchen aid mixer, i means if can i just quadruple the quantities of the ingredients
I think quadrupling would be too much for your mixer to handle. You would probably need to make two double batches. Good luck!
you have reason, Thanks for the advice
Annabella Guardia said:
Thank you for the detailed recipe. Just two questions.
1) Is it better the paddle instead of the hook to prepare the dough?
2) Do you grease the waffle maker before putting the dough?
I would love to try them soon
Hi Annabella, I have never used the dough hook but you could try it! I do grease the waffle maker. I hope you enjoy!