Sunday night. Ahhh…these bittersweet hours.
I was talking to someone recently who was heading to Belgium. Maybe it’s because I’ve been hankering for a European vacation something fierce as of late, especially with the recent passing of Oktoberfest (Best. Party. EVER.), but hearing about his trip made me hella-jealous and got me thinking about my times there.
I first went to Brussels for a law school trip and then a few months later went to Bruges with Tomato and Soybean. While we had great intentions of hitting all the Bruges hot spots, the tourist map that we followed took us from one dead end to another. I’m pretty sure that it was a tourist joke map since neither the “best” waffle stand, the “best” chocolate shop, the “best” beer hall nor the “best” bakery were open for business, or even in the location as directed by the map.
The good thing about our wandering around Belgium is that we didn’t have to look far and wide to find any of the aforementioned treats, with chocolate shops and waffle stands planted on every corner. To refresh, the characteristics that distinguish Belgian waffles from your IHOP variety are 1) the use of yeast and 2) the special Belgian pearl sugar dotted throughout the batter. Since I already did the plain Jane variety (not that there’s really anything plain at all about Belgian waffles), I figured I’d changes these up by putting everyone’s favorite topping, Nutella, in the batter itself. I couldn’t decide if I should dollop actual Nutella in the batter, or use the component ingredients to make the whole waffle one big chocolate hazelnut canvas. I chose the latter, and folded in ground up hazelnuts and chocolate chips into my gluten-free batter. The result was well received at work, to say the least.
I will apologize for all of my non-gluten free friends because in this instance, I busted out some of the “weird” flours I keep in my pantry that you may not have in yours. I just wanted to try it out, and did so successfully. However, if you want to just adapt the original recipe, use 1 cup ground hazelnuts and 1 cup all-purpose flour. It’s that easy.
- 1 (1/4 ounce) package active dry yeast
- 1/3 lukewarm almond milk (just warm to the touch, but not hot)
- 2 TB white sugar
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 ½ cups whole hazelnuts, roasted with skins removed
- ½ cup chocolate chips
- ½ cup sorghum flour
- ¼ cup potato starch
- ¼ cup almond flour
- ¼ tsp xanthan gum
- 3 eggs
- 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/8 tsp coconut extract
- 1 cup pearl sugar
- Mix the yeast, milk, sugar and salt in a bowl and let it develop or sit for 15 minutes.
- In a food processor, add the hazelnuts and pulse until finely ground. Measure 1 cup and set aside. Reserve the remainder for another use.
- Back into the food processor, add the chocolate and pulse until finely ground. Add to the hazelnuts. Add the almond flour, sorghum flour, potato starch, xanthan gum, salt and sugar. 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 coconut oil, coconut extract and vanilla. 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.
- Regular dairy milk works fine.
- If you don't want to use coconut oil, you can use melted butter
- If you don't want to make this gluten free, use 1 cup of all-purpose flour in place of the sorghum, potato starch, almond flour and gum.
Of course I topped mine with some salted caramel and whipped cream. Of course I did.