Adventures in Baking

To Liege or Not To Liege?…That is the Question

Wandering through our beloved Sprouts grocery store, there is always a nice healthy sized basket placed ever so temptingly at the front of the store, filled with Liege waffles. These tasty morsels cost $3.99/waffle (a waffle the size of a tea cup saucer). I have broken down a few times to purchase a couple because there is something so satisfying about the crystalized crunch of the pearl sugar that eases the weary soul. Yet, I knew there had to be a way I could make these myself, but the question is: would it be worth it?

Liege waffles are beyond tasty, but they take time and a lot of elbow grease type cleanup. Not that this detoured me at all, since saving the money seemed so worth it.

My first stop was to find a good Liege recipe – and I was thankful that abountifulkitchen.com had an amazing one, with helpful tips and tricks. She uses the recipe on the back of the pearl sugar used in this recipe – with a few tweaks. After making these, I see why she tweaked them – I might even go a bit further in adding a few extras myself.

I purchased the Belgian Pearl Sugar made by Lars that was recommended on Amazon (cheaper and since that’s why I was trying to make these in the first place, why was I going to buy expensive sugar?) and I always keep a few packets of yeast on hand, since we love to make our own French Bread (recipe coming soon). I am not a huge experimenter with yeast. It intimidates me in all actuality. My sister and I tried to make cinnamon rolls one Christmas and they ended up turning out like football sized swirls of yeasty craziness. Of course we slathered them in icing and still ate them, but haven’t attempted to make cinnamon rolls again. I will …. maybe… at some point. If my pride and curiosity overtake my fear of them (insert nervous laughter).

I wasn’t going to let my yeast intimidation stop me from trying these however.

I began these the night before I wanted to make them. I am a huge lover of time management. I think that is why I love making cookies. Anything that can be structured into stages that I can conquer in adequate amounts of time, I am all for. These waffles are such a thing. You can make them all the way up to the stage where it is time to bake them in the waffle iron. Even after- they are easily reheated in the toaster!!

The recipe I am including below is from the Lars Belgian Pearl Sugar. You can follow the link for A Bountiful Kitchen’s above if you would like to follow her tweaks. I have included my opinions on the tweaks below in my tips and tricks.

So, to Liege or not to Liege? Well the consensus from my family is that we prefer normal everyday waffles that I make with applesauce and flax milk for breakfast time. These however, are by far more requested for a treat – whether topped or alone, they make a much better dessert for us than breakfast accompaniment. But smothered in melted marshmallows and chocolate chips? Who can resist???

 

Tips and Tricks

  1. You can make these ahead of time; place on a parchment lined cookie sheet and cover with cling wrap; place in the fridge till ready to use. Allow to come to room temperature (about 20-30 minutes) before popping them in the iron.
  2. Have a bowl of sifted powdered sugar ready when you are ready to put these in your waffle iron. Roll the pre-made dough balls in the powdered sugar before putting in the iron. This will add flavor, keep from sticking, and add even more of a crunch to the outside.
  3. Save yourself some hassle and buy a can of Baker’s Joy – it is a spray with flour – YES!! spray this on the iron before each waffle. If you are finding the melted sugar to be building up and burning on the iron, take a wet paper towel and with a silicone spatula rub the divots clean of the melted sugar (while the iron is hot) – DO NOT USE YOUR HAND. I know this sounds obvious…but you would be surprised what our minds think is logical haha.
  4. These are amazing with whipped cream and strawberries. Try perhaps melted Nutella or some chocolate chips and marshmallows for a s’mores wonderland. Top with peach pie filling and Cool Whip! Be adventurous!
  5. These can be made in any waffle iron, however, I prefer a Belgian waffle maker as they make a thicker and more decadent waffle. Harder to clean, but so worth it!
  6. As with all of my recipes – I have to substitute for the needs of my family. So in place of milk, I use Lactaid – still comes out perfectly!
  7. Ingredient tweaks: I would add more vanilla – try 2 tsp. and then 1 tsp. cinnamon and 1/8 tsp. nutmeg – this will give it a nice spice. If you don’t like spice, just increase the vanilla a bit. even though this contains pearl sugar, the dough itself is lacking a bit of real flavor. You could forgo the cinnamon and nutmeg and just add a nice heaping tsp of all spice!!

 

Lars’ Belgian Sugar Waffles

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 packet dry yeast
  • 3/4 c. lukewarm milk
  • 8 oz. butter (2 sticks) melted and slightly cooled
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 bag (approx. 8 oz.) Lars’ Belgian Pearl Sugar (you can use any pearl sugar, but this tastes the best)

Directions:

Dissolve yeast in lukewarm milk (about 5-10 minutes). Sift flour and set aside. Add eggs and melted butter to yeast mixture and whisk together.  In a stand mixer with dough attachment, add flour, salt, vanilla and milk mixture. Mix with dough hook for approx. 2 minutes. Feel free to add the flour a cup at a time, then once incorporated, let mix for 1-2 minutes till smooth. Let dough rise until it doubles in size (about 30 minutes). Fold in pearl sugar and divide dough into small balls of about 3 ounces each. Place on parchment lined baking sheet. Heat and grease waffle iron, roll dough balls in powdered sugar just before placing on iron. Bake to desired color. I prefer using the darker setting on my iron, but you choose what is right for you.

 

Enjoy!

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