No waffling on theses waffles: Belgium’s finest

I’ve been to Belgium a handful of times. It’s a lovely country and the fact that it is known for mussels, chocolate, fries and waffles is no farce.  I love the food there so much and could very happily eat my way across the country, stopping at every chocolate shop and every waffle stand along the way.

Spending a mere week in the Benelux region, there was not enough time to make all of my Belgian favorites, so I had to settle for the best: the waffles.  Now, I like waffles, but I LOVE Belgian waffles.  I got my first taste of them my freshman year of college when my writing professor, who was Belgian, invited my class over to her house for a Christmas party, and served waffles made from scratch.  Heaven in my mouth.

What makes a waffle Belgian is not simply using a round rather than square waffle iron.  Rather, Belgian waffles have a yeast base and have pearl sugar crystals, specific to Belgium, strewn throughout.  When the waffles are cooked, the sugar gets all crystal-ly and somewhat caramelized.  Like I said, heaven in my mouth.

Typically, I’m not a huge fan of using yeast. In my opinion, it’s very time consuming, and if I can make an item without yeast, I’d rather do that. However, there’s a reason these waffles are the best, so the yeast step was necessary.  Between the rising and the waiting, the dough took a little over an hour.  The result was well worth the wait.  As for the sugar crystals, since I wasn’t going to spend bank on imports, or go to Belgium myself to collect them, I simply used sugar cubes, and pounded them a bit so they were in pearl-ish sized.  Thank for the tip, Rachel Ray.

These waffles are fantastic enough to stand alone.  In my gluttony, however, I had mine with a bit of chocolate and ice cream, which just makes them better.  I implore you to give these a try.

Belgian Waffles
Yields 8
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Ingredients
  1. 1 (1/4 ounce) package yeast
  2. 1/3 cup lukewarm milk (not too hot, it'll kill the yeast)
  3. 2 TB white sugar
  4. 1/8 tsp salt
  5. 2 cups cake flour
  6. 3 eggs
  7. 1/3 cup butter, melted
  8. 1 tsp vanilla
  9. 1 tsp cinnamon
  10. 1 cup pearl sugar cubes
Instructions
  1. Mix the yeast, milk, sugar and salt in a bowl and let it develop or sit for 15 minutes.
  2. Place the flour in a separate bowl and make a well in the center of the flour. Pour the yeast in the middle of the well and blend on medium speed with the mixer.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, blending well after each addition. Slowly add the melted butter, vanilla and cinnamon. The batter will be pretty sticky.
  4. Let the dough sit and let it double in size. Fold in the pearl sugar and let dough rest 15 more minutes.
  5. Heat waffle iron according the manufacturers directions. Spoon 2 inches of dough in the center of the waffle iron and cook about 3-5 minutes.
Notes
  1. If you can't find pearl sugar, pound some sugar cubes with a rolling pin for the same effect.
The Hungary Buddha Eats the World http://thehungarybuddha.com/

Check out the shiny crystal-ly sugar! Mmmm…………..

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3 Comments

  1. My food photos are better than yours ;). Having said that…I wish I was there for waffles when you made them. Best waffle I vet had was while walking towards the non existent Hello Bridge…

  2. After reading your blog, I was inspired to make waffles. I made whole wheat waffles from a box for early dinner with yeast and the pounded sugar cubes mixed in. I only let the batter out for a couple hours so it’s not yeasty. The sugar crystals did make the waffles crispy and very tasty!

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