Have you ever eaten something so amazing, so absolutely wonderful that you can’t get it out of your head? You might go back for “just one more” or even better yet, want to make it at home. Well for me, these waffles are just that! I discovered Liege Waffles on a trip a to New York City a few years back. I ate an embarrassing amount of waffles in my few short days in the city.
I recently came across pictures from that trip, remembered the waffles, got excited and HAD to make them. So I went on a quest to find a good waffle iron and some pearl sugar (more on that later). After searching many stores, doing lots of research and two Amazon orders later, I’m all set!
It’s been quite the journey creating the perfect recipe for these waffles. If you aren’t familiar with Liege Waffles, they are a type of Belgium waffle, but with uneven edges. The batter is made with yeast, and they have a chewy texture with pockets of caramelized sugar. The caramelized exterior of the waffle comes from the pearl sugar. What is pearl sugar? Well, pearl sugar is pea-sized pieces (pearls) of sugar that have a higher melting point than granular sugar. So when it comes in contact with the hot waffle iron, the sugar caramelizes instead of burns. How’s that for food science?
Sound complicated to make? Do not fear! These waffles can be in reach by tackling the recipe below. I’ve added a lot of notes and tips to ensure waffle success. Give them a try- enjoy!
Yields: 10-12 waffles
Recipe adapted from: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/liege-waffles
- 1 1/2 tablespoons white sugar
- 1 packet active dry yeast (7 grams)
- 3/4 cup lukewarm milk (temperature between 105 and 115 degrees F)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup Belgian pearl sugar
1.) In a small bowl, combine the granulated sugar, warm milk and yeast. Whisk until yeast is dissolved and let rest for 5 – 10 minutes, until foamy.
2.) In a large bowl of a standing mixer, mix the flour and salt together. Pour in the yeast mixture and mix about 1 minute until shaggy.
3.) Add the eggs, one at a time until well incorporated, mixing for 30 seconds after each addition. Mix in the vanilla extract.
4.) At medium speed, mix in the softened butter 2 tablespoons at a time. Blend until the dough is very smooth (it will be slightly sticky).
5.) Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap and let batter rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour and 45 minutes.
6.) Once the batter has doubled, take a spatula and mix the dough to deflate it. Slowly fold in the pearl sugar so it is evenly distributed in the batter. Let dough rest for 15 minutes. While the dough is resting, heat up the waffle iron.
7.) Preheat the waffle iron to medium high heat. Drop 1/4 cup of batter onto the hot iron. Cook waffles until golden brown and the pearl sugar melts and caramelizes. Cool waffles on wire rack. Enjoy plain or with your favorite waffle toppings.
Notes and Tips:
- There are multiple kinds of dry yeast out there so be sure to use active dry yeast for best results.
- When you bloom the yeast, measure the temperature of the milk to ensure it is between 105 and 115 degrees F. If it’s too cold, the yeast won’t bloom properly. If it’s too hot, it will kill the yeast. Once bloomed, the yeast should be nice and foamy on top.
- Be patient with the dough while it’s rising. I created a makeshift proofing drawer by heating a cup of water for two minutes in the microwave and then placing the bowl of dough in the microwave while it was still warm. This helps to create a more controlled environment for the dough to rise.
- I went on a wild goose chase to find pearl sugar in the stores in my area and I was not successful. I ended up purchasing it online through Amazon.
- Be careful when taking the hot waffles out of the waffle iron. The pearl sugar gets very hot! I purchased a waffle fork to help remove the waffle and save my fingers.
- I found it easiest to clean the melted sugar out of the waffle iron while it was still warm with damp paper towels.
- Speaking of waffle irons, most waffle makers will work for this recipe but those with the deeper pockets will work best to accommodate the pearl sugar. Bonus points if you have an iron where you can control the temperature!
- Feel free to enjoy these waffles for breakfast or dessert. Topping suggestions: whip cream, berries, bananas, cherries, hot fudge, lemon curd, powdered sugar… but I would not suggest maple syrup because the waffles are sweet on their own.