Brunch is a favorite meal in our family. Whether at home or on vacation, we just love a good brunch. Waffles top the list of great brunch items, but please, no frozen toaster waffles!
On a recent trip to Savannah with Emily and Matthew we discovered a wonderful spot, Mirabelle Cafe an incredible type of waffle none of us had ever tasted, Liège waffles. The four of us devoured the yeast-based delicacies, that we’re topped with everything from strawberries to lemon curd, eating like it was the first meal we had seen in days. Within minutes Emily and I began looking for a recipe to recreate these wonderful waffles.
I learned from a bit of research that the original recipe for Liège waffles has likely been lost through the years, but many recreations exist. This particular version comes from Malin Elmlid, published by Food & Wine. The batter needs time to rise and can be partially made in advance. Plan for about two hours to allow the batter to finish rising and final prep before cooking. One specialty ingredient you’ll need to track down before starting is Belgian pearl sugar, a large, coarse granular sugar that holds its shape and caramelize slightly as it cooks. Some specialty food markets carry it, but it can be easily found online.
It may not bring the instant gratification of the aforementioned frozen toaster waffle, but good things really are worth the time and trouble. And you can sip on a cappuccino while the dough rises!
1-1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 packages active dry yeast, about 1-3/4 teaspoons
1/3 cup warm water, 110-115 degrees
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
3 extra large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon, pure vanilla extract
1 cup unsalted butter, melted plus extra for brushing the waffle iron
1 cup Belgian pearl sugar
Whisk together the brown sugar and the yeast, then add the warm water and allow to rest for about five minutes to proof. The mixture will rise and become foamy.
Using a large stand mixer, combine the flour and kosher salt. Slowly add the yeast mixture and blend together about 1 minute on medium speed. The mixture will look rough in texture.
Add the eggs, one at a time on low speed, mixing well after each. Combine the melted butter and the vanilla then slowly add to the dough, mixing on medium-low speed until fairly smooth. This dough will be thick and sticky, more like yeast bread and than traditional waffle batter.
At this point you can cover and refrigerate the dough overnight. If you’re making the waffles the same day, cover and let the dough rise until doubled, about 1-1/2 hours. Once the dough has risen, stir in the pearl sugar, it will not dissolve into the dough. (Add about 15 minutes to the rise time if the dough has been refrigerated; this will allow the cold dough time to warm up and begin to rise.)
Cover and let the dough rest and rise for another 15 minutes. Heat a Belgian waffle iron using the medium setting. Once hot, lightly brush the surface with melted butter. Stir down the dough and add about ¼ cup to each section of the waffle iron.
Cook for about 3-4 minutes or until the waffles are crisp and golden.
Keep the cooked waffles warm on a baking sheet in a 250-degree oven while you cook the remaining waffles. (To keep the waffles from getting “soggy” on the bottom, place them on a wire rack, resting over a baking sheet.)