Food by the Howells for the Howells...

Food by the Howells for the Howells...and anybody remotely related to a Howell, or who may have met a Howell at one point in their life, or...yeah, pretty-much anybody.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Real Belgian Waffles

In America, we think Belgian waffles are just waffles with big squares. While big squares are part of the equation, they are oh-so-such-a-small part of them. (I'm not sure that was proper English). Actually, there are two kinds of REAL Belgian waffles. The kind I'm going to teach you to make were invented in a town in Belgium called Liege (which Jacob and I passed through during our trip to Europe last summer). These waffles have two very special ingredients: yeast and pearl sugar. Pearl sugar is something that is difficult to find in America (you can order it at for a ridiculous price) so I suggest using something like this:
This is raw sugar which comes in much larger crystals than our typical granulated sugar. You want large crystals. They will give the waffles a slight crunch and cause carmelization around the edges. Yum! (It really stinks that it's Fast Sunday as I'm adding all these recipes).

So, here are the ingredients:

1 package of yeast (typically one package is about 2 1/2 tsp. of yeast)
1/3 cup lukewarm water
1 1/2 Tbsp. granulated white sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
2 cups 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, granulated sugar, and salt in a bowl and let it develop or sit for 15 minutes.

Place the flour in a separate large mixing bowl and make a well in the center of the flour. Pour in the yeast mixture and mix until blended on medium speed.

Add the eggs one at a time, melted butter a bit at a time, and the vanilla and cinnamon. Mix well after each addition. Batter will be thick and very sticky.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and let the dough rest until it doubles in volume inside the bowl.

Gently fold in the pearl sugar and let the dough rest for 15 more minutes.

While the dough is resting, heat the Belgian waffle iron. Spoon about a 2" ball of dough into the center of the waffle iron. This should make about a 4" waffle. (These waffles are smaller than traditional waffles, but they are very rich and that's how they make them in Liege, so that's how you should make them too).

I cooked this waffle a little too long. Don't be like me.

Recipe makes 8-10 waffles.

Top with any multitude of wonderful toppings, such as strawberries, bananas, chocolate, whipped cream, ice cream, etc.

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