Saturday, December 22, 2012

Liege Waffles with Speculoos Spread

The waffle is a beautiful thing.  I just discovered this last year on a holiday trip to New York.  We were shopping at the holiday markets which we love to do at Christmas and wanted a little snack.  The Wafels and Dinges truck looked appealing to the hubby, but I was not so sure.  Waffles in my experience were just not so great which is, in large part, due to the fact that waffle and Eggo had been synonyms to me up to that point.  I am a bit of a sucker for dessert though, and when he returned with a warm, golden brown waffle topped with spekuloos (also spelled speculoos) spread and whipped cream, I had to give it a try.  I took a bite, and suddenly my entire opinion of waffles was tranformed.  This was no Eggo waffle, my friends.  This was something delicious.  Crusty and sugary on the edges, thick, warm, and wonderfully brown.  I have since discovered that these waffles are not made with any ordinary batter.  They are Liege waffles created using a yeast batter made special by the addition of pearl sugar (that's where the crunchy, sugary crust comes from).  

The spread on the waffles was speculoos which tastes like gingerbread cookies or graham crackers ground into a paste.  I could eat it by the spoonful.  I won't, but I could.   

See those glistening edges?  That's from the crushed sugar cubes.
After this year's trip to New York and the reminder (by way of the first bite) that these waffles truly are spectacular, the hubby decided to do a little research on the batter.  He also ordered the spread online from Wafels and Dinges (although you can also purchase other brands of speculoos spread).  We even went out and purchased a Belgian waffle iron just for the occasion.  And oh, what an occasion it was.  A taste of the Big Apple at Christmas right there in our tiny kitchen.  Delicious!

So, let me tell you a little about this waffle dough.  It requires a little time since it needs to rise, but it is well worth it, and it is very simple to make.  You essentially activate your yeast with a little sugar and warm water, mix it with flour, cinnamon, eggs, and melted butter, and let it rise for about an hour.  At that point, you mix in pearl sugar.  Now, I could not find pearl sugar no matter where I went (and I live in a place where it's pretty easy to find unusual ingredients), so I had read that you could coarsely crush sugar cubes and mix those in at the end.  It worked beautifully.  They got nice and melty on the edges of the waffle, creating the desired crunchiness, and they formed little pockets of sugary goodness within.  So, if you can't find pearl sugar, I would advise this route. 

You can see the crushed sugar cubes in the batter.  You want to make sure you allow these waffles to brown enough so that you melt that sugar and create crunch. 
I wanted small waffles since they are so rich once topped with the spread, so I scooped 1/4 cup of the batter into the center of my waffle iron which, of course, did not fill the entire thing.  That was fine.  It gave me small, round waffles about 4 inches in diameter.  I then topped two of them with spekuloos spread, sliced banana, and whipped cream, and I am a little embarassed to admit that that was dinner.  But remember, it is Christmas, and I'm pretty sure that makes waffles topped with cookie spread okay. 

Liege Waffles- makes approximately 10 (4 inch) waffles
adapted ever so slightly from Food and Wine

  1. 1 1/2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  2. 1 packet active dry yeast
  3. 1/3 cup lukewarm water
  4. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  5. 1/4 tsp salt
  6. 3 large eggs
  7. 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  8. 1 tsp cinnamon
  9. 2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
  10. 1 cup pearl sugar or coarsely crushed sugar cubes
In a small bowl, mix the sugar, yeast, and water.  Let stand 10 minutes until the yeast the mixture begins to foam.  Mix the flour, salt, and cinnamon in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Turn the mixer on to rotate the paddle to create a small well in the flour mixture.  Pour in the yeast mixture. Mix at medium speed to moisten. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing between each addition. Add the vanilla and mix.  With the mixer on low speed, slowly drizzle in the melted butter until incorporated.  The dough will be thick and very sticky. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the batter rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Stir in the pearl sugar or coarsely crushed sugar cubes.  Allow the dough to rest for 15 minutes.
Preheat a Belgian waffle iron and brushed with additional butter if desired. Scoop 1/4 cup of batter into center of waffle iron (may need to adjust the amount of dough depending on the type of waffle maker being used).  Cook the waffles according to the manufacturer's directions until they are golden and crisp which will take anywhere between 3 and 5 minutes (mine were perfect after 4).  Serve topped with spread of choice, syrup, fruit, and/or whipped cream.   

Printable Version

No comments:

Post a Comment