We are endless travelers… so, we occasionally run across some great food. Actually, it happens quite a lot! However, when we were passing through Belgium we knew we needed to try the waffles. So, when we made it there we spent some time in Bruges and Brussels and learned that there are two main types of Belgian waffles:
Brussels waffles: light, fluffy, and rectangular
Liege waffles: dense, sweet, and rounded
You can see the difference between the two below.
Also, just about any time we have ever had “Belgian Waffles” in the United States, they have been Brussels waffles. Thus, when we made it to Belgium and tried both kinds, we were simply in tastebud heaven every time we had a Liege waffle! Thus, our favorite of the two is obvious: No Contest - the “Liege Waffle” is the best waffle on earth! And yes, we tried quite a lot of them – including a variety at the grocery store.
A friend of ours even connected us with a expat friend of hers to show us around Brussels - and to our delight, she brought us to the very best place in Brussels to get a Liege waffle! Yes, the best place to get the best type of waffle in the country known for waffles. We were so lucky! You can find them at the Jean Gaston booth at the Stockel Market in Brussels.
Actually, we thought we were so lucky… because not long afterward we were in Munich, Germany and we saw “Belgian Waffles” on the menu. Needless to say, we had to have some more! But oh my goodness - they didn’t measure up at all! These were about as good as the grocery store ones we had purchased and we were craving that special liege waffle from ***** in Brussels! Sadly, our tastebuds were sad for months as we continued on to Greece, then Egypt, and then South Africa. After nearly 4 months, and a number of different recipes, we finally decided to make alterations of our own and we discovered how to make waffles that were almost as good. So, without further ado, here’s the recipe! Enjoy :)
EASY BELGIAN LIEGE WAFFLE RECIPE
Yield: 20 Small Sized Liege Waffles
OR 10 Regular Sized Liege Waffles
⅓ cup water (room temperature or slightly warmer)
½ cup whole milk - or your favorite non-dairy alternative (warm)
2 large eggs - or your favorite non-dairy alternative (beaten and at room temperature)
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 ½ to 3 teaspoons of instant yeast *
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
2 ⅔ cups of bread flour (1 additional cup needed below)
2 sticks (8 ounces) of unsalted butter, cubed and very soft (at room temperature)
1 more cup of bread flour (separate from the 2 ⅔ cups above - total of 3 ⅔ cups of flour)
1 ½ cups (8 ounces) of broken up sugar cubes** (see pictures below for size of pieces - they are the large white chunks in the dough)
*some recipes call for as much as 3 teaspoons of instant yeast for a batch of this size. If you are using 3 teaspoons, make sure that you are using better quality bread yeast!
Use a large bowl and a fork (or mixer with a dough hook if you have one) to mix together the water, milk, eggs, honey, vanilla, yeast, sugar, and salt. Blend well!
Now, slowly blend in the 2 ⅔ cups of flour until the mixture becomes quite doughy.
Wash your hands well, and then add in a few cubes of the butter - mix together with hands (or a mixer on low speed if you have one). Continue adding a few cubes of butter and mixing them into the dough until all of them are mixed in well.
Next, add in the additional cup of flour and mix well until dough is smooth and elastic (low speed for blenders).
Remove the dough from the bowl and place the dough in a clean spot (we set it on wax paper). Wash the bowl, dry it out, and then slightly butter the inside of the bowl (some oils can be used, but be careful as you may not want your waffles to taste like certain oils - such as olive or coconut. We avoid this issue by using butter). Place the dough back into the buttered bowl. Cover tightly and place in refrigerator overnight (8-12 hours).
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and bring it back to room temperature (approximately 60 minutes). Stir/Mix to deflate. Let the dough sit and rise for an additional 1 ½ to 2 hours.
When you are ready to cook, knead in all of the broken sugar cube pieces.
If you have a Belgian Waffle Iron (this one has removable plates!), break the dough into 10 equal sized balls. Cook approximately 4-5 minutes until waffle reaches a deep golden color all over (see your waffle iron instructions for additional assistance).
If you don’t have a Belgian Waffle Iron, you can use a regular waffle iron. Break the dough into 20 equal sized balls and cook approximately 3-5 minutes until waffle reaches a deep golden color all over (see images below).
Carefully remove piping hot waffle with a fork or tongs and serve immediately. If not serving immediately, place in a warm oven or toaster oven at 90ºC (or 200ºF). If not served warm, the sugar chunks will become hard and crunchy.
You must cook all of the waffles now as the dough will not stay fresh in the fridge or freezer. However, you may freeze leftover waffles and reheat to 90ºC (or 200ºF) when ready to eat (make sure they are warm all the way through).
While traditional Liege Waffles are served plain (no toppings) you may get quite creative in what toppings you use for your waffles. We like ours plain, but occasionally we add strawberries, bananas, nutella, Speculoos butter (belgian gingerbread cookie), whipped cream, ice cream, chocolate sauce, or cinnamon sugar.
If you’ve tried this recipe, let us know what you think by commenting below or taking a photo and tagging #eatwanderexplore in the caption! We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!
If you are interested in all things Belgium, check out the amazing Belgian Beer Tour! Additionally, it’s worth checking out the BEST VALUE Belgian Tours or simply considering the Brussels Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing bus!
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Jenny & Bradley of EatWanderExplore