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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

liege waffles.

These waffles embody the saying that butter is better. Or perhaps specifically, more butter is even better. It's a heart attack the size of your heart, with about 25g of golden fat packed into each waffle. Scary, yet what can be better?

I had my first liege waffle in Belgium and the very first one was the best I've ever tasted. I say that because... I had five liege waffles over four days. I was an aspiring whale, trying to develop blubber to shield me from the harsh below 0 temperatures. That first waffle was handed to my numb fingers, piping hot and with a buttery aroma. I took a bite after handing over my euros. It was crunchy and caramelized on the outside, gooey and a little chewy on the inside. I could have died there. I have to make this when I get back home, I told myself resolutely. And sure enough, even though it has been 9 months since, I have.

When researching for a recipe, I found two distinct methods. One calling for incorporating melted butter, a knead-less method and the other something akin to a brioche method. But both recipes listed down 1 cup of butter. I wanted to recreate that gooey waffle so I though melted butter would be a better bet. Hence, I chose the first recipe which can be found here.

sorry for the horrible photos- i was trying to snap them quick while they were still warm

I didn't have any pearl sugar, so I bashed up some sugar cubes and sifted through it to retain only the larger chunks. I was worried that the vanilla would mask the butteriness of the waffle because the smell was quite obvious but I shouldn't have worried because it hardly showed up in the end. The vanilla went towards eliminating the egginess.

I thought the waffle was pretty good, but not close enough to the one in Belgium. It wasn't as buttery and gooey- perhaps I could have underbaked it a little. It wasn't the same taste-wise either. It's quite hard to put in words. Nevertheless, these waffles are worth a go if you've not tried the authentic one. Once you tried the real thing though, it's hard to go back.

P.S. Your waffle iron will turn into a nightmare- butter will ooze out of the dough, on the iron and then out from the sides and sugar will caramelize and stick stubbornly between the ridges. Just giving you the heads up.

Liege Waffles
makes 8 to 10

1 (1/4 ounce) package yeast
1/3 cup lukewarm water
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
2 cups plain flour
3 eggs
1 cup melted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
1 cup Belgian pearl sugar

Mix the yeast, water, sugar and salt in a bowl and let it sit for 15 minutes.

Place the flour in a separate large mixing bowl and make a well in the center of the flour then pour in the yeast mixture. Mix until blended on medium speed. Add the eggs one at a time, pour in melted butter slowly, and the vanilla and cinnamon, making sure to mix well after each addition to the batter. It will be very sticky.

Let the dough rest until doubled in size. Gently fold in the pearl sugar and let the dough rest for 15 more minutes.

While the dough is resting, heat your waffle iron. Spoon about a 2 inch diameter ball of dough into the center of the waffle iron. The waffles will take 3 to 5 minutes to bake on level 3. If you want lots of gooeyness, try underbaking them. They should just start to take on a bit of colour.

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