liege (noun) – a feudal lord entitled to allegiance and service
Liège (place) – a province in eastern Belgium; Capital: Liège
Liège Waffle (food) – a rich, dense, sweet and chewy waffle; invented by the chef of the prince-bishop of Liège in the 18th century as an adaptation of brioche bread dough, it features chunks of pearl sugar, which caramelize on the outside of the waffle when baked in a waffle iron.
Ever had a liege waffle? If you had, you’d remember it. They’re sweeter and more dense than a regular waffle, and have a distinctive sweet crunch to them. That tell-tale crunch is the result of pearl sugar, which is added to the waffles at the last minute, producing a sweet, crispy crunch with every bite. Liege waffles take more time and effort than the usual ‘straight out of the Bisquick box’ version we’re used to, but they are so worth it. Once you’ve tried them, you may never want to go back to ordinary waffles again. Yes – they are THAT good. TCP and I had these in Belgium and the Netherlands, and we’ve never been able to forget them. Not that we’d want to. Ever.
Enter TCP. He made them for breakfast Sunday. That’s right, folks. The Complete Package lived up to his moniker, and found a recipe for crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside waffles with that tell-tale sugar crunch. And so, without further ado, here is TCP’s version of homemade Liege Waffles. Oh, and he took all of his own photos. Let’s start with the ingredients.
TCP’s Liege Waffles:
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
one packet of rapid-rise yeast
1 1/4 cups of butter, melted
7 ounces of cold water
1 1/3 cups of pearl sugar (we used turbinado sugar)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
fruit or toppings of your choice
whipped cream (preferably homemade)
This recipe calls for 2 eggs at room temperature. If you’re not comfortable with leaving eggs out, just set them in a bowl of water for a few minutes before using. Sift the flour into a mixing bowl and make a well in the middle; set it aside. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter; set it aside to cool to lukewarm. In another bowl, beat your eggs until light and fluffy; add the melted butter and yeast, mixing well. Add the water and mix again.
Pour the egg/butter/yeast mixture into the flour along with the regular sugar, vanilla & almond extracts, and ground cinnamon. Using a mixer with a paddle attachment or dough hook, mix on low speed to combine all ingredients. Turn the mixer to medium speed and beat the waffle dough for 10 minutes. The batter will be sticky, which is why you need the paddle attachment or dough hook. This stuff will climb regular beaters like a spider monkey.
Once beaten, cover the bowl and allow your waffle dough to sit in a warm place to rise for 30 minutes. Heat your waffle iron prior to using. See ours? It’s 30 years old, and still going strong. It could tell a thousand waffle stories. When your dough and waffle iron are ready, stir in 1 cup of the pearl sugar. Spray your waffle iron lightly with cooking spray to prevent sticking, and drop spoonfuls of waffle dough onto the hot iron. Sprinkle lightly with additional pearl sugar and close the waffle iron. Allow each waffle to bake until golden brown.
You can serve these with any of your favorite toppings. We chose fresh strawberries macerated in a little sugar, with a dollop of homemade whipped cream on top. Another favorite of ours is melted dark chocolate poured over the top. It reminds us of the waffle we ate in Amsterdam. Have mercy.
Don’t let the process prevent you from trying these gorgeous waffles. There’s a reason they have legions of fans across the globe. They are by far the most memorable waffles you’ll ever eat. And you’ll find yourself dreaming of them again and again. Trust me. This one from Amsterdam still haunts me to this day.
‘Don’t you wish your waffles were hot like these? Don’t you wish your waffle was a beast like these? Don’t cha. Don’t cha.’ Go ahead… sing the waffle song. You know you want to.
Recipe credit: TCP found this recipe at EuropeanCuisines.com