Thursday, September 17, 2015

Trying My Hand at a "Real" Belgian (Liege) Waffle

Hi there! Yep, it's really me. I hope you didn't give up on me. I really have no excuse for my silence other than to say that I just needed to take some time off, have some fun and pretty much shirk my blogger responsibility for a couple of months.

This post is one that I have wanted to do for a very long time. I have heard of Belgian waffles my whole life, but I have never had a real one, made by a vendor in Liege or Brussels, so I never felt experienced enough to blog about them.

Since I've never really had an authentic Belgian (or Liege) waffle, how can I write a post about them you might ask? I would like to think that because my waffle iron boasts that it is a Belgian waffle baker that qualifies me, but something tells me that just because Rival says it, doesn't make it so. So, what is a girl to do with a 6 ounce package of pearl sugar that she is dying to use? Answer is to make the best American Belgian/ Liege waffle that I can.

I found several recipes for Belgian waffles. Some of them were SUPER involved and time consuming, and if you know me, you'll know that that's not what I'm all about. I also found some that were very simple, which I suspected might not do justice to this iconic dish. Right in the middle is the couple of recipes that I decided to base mine on.

First, there was the one on the package of pearl sugar that I bought (at Sur la Table for $5.95), and then there was the one I found on Smitten Kitchen, which I always trust. Besides adding in vanilla bean paste instead of vanilla extract and adding a little (1/2 teaspoon) bit of cinnamon, I pretty much followed her recipe as written. Click here to see the recipe.

The first thing I found surprising about Belgian waffles is that they are really nothing like American waffles. They start from more of a bread recipe instead of a batter, and take a couple of days to be ready to cook, but the effort is definitely worth it. On this beautiful Colorado day, we had our windows open and my husband reported that coming home from his morning walk the whole neighborhood smelled like a bakery as these were cooking.

The only other thing I have to say about these waffles is to put away the butter and maple syrup. These waffles have all their flavor built in. Now, if you want to guild the lily, whip up some lightly sweetened whipped cream and serve on top. Yum, yum!

Knead the sugar pearls into the dough.

Divide the dough into 16 equal size portions.

Please don't judge me with the ugly appearance of my waffle iron. After reading several blog posts about what the sugar pearls will do to a waffle iron as they caramelized, I pulled out my old crappy one, and boy am I glad I did. This will "ef" up a girl's appliance. Oh sure, it will come off with some elbow grease, but go steal your grandma's or buy one at a garage sale and save yourself some aggravation.

It is totally not necessary, but a little whipped cream will take these waffles to a whole new level. With fall around the corner, I can just see my family munching on these inside by the fire as the wind howls outside. There has to be something good about winter weather.

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