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.
- 1 (1/4 ounce) package yeast
- 1/3 cup lukewarm milk (not too hot, it'll kill the yeast)
- 2 TB white sugar
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 2 cups cake flour
- 3 eggs
- 1/3 cup butter, melted
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 cup pearl sugar cubes
- Mix the yeast, milk, sugar and salt in a bowl and let it develop or sit for 15 minutes.
- 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.
- 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.
- Let the dough sit and let it double in size. Fold in the pearl sugar and let dough rest 15 more minutes.
- 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.
- If you can't find pearl sugar, pound some sugar cubes with a rolling pin for the same effect.
Check out the shiny crystal-ly sugar! Mmmm…………..