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Liège Waffles

Though my dad came to Canada from Belgium when he was a kid, I’m no expert on the Liège waffle, except to know what I like when I eat one. Liège waffles aren’t like other Belgian-style (thick? round?) waffles – they’re dense and chewy, yeast-raised, with a dough like brioche but studded with ultra-coarse pearl sugar that melts and caramelizes on the outside as they cook, creating a slightly crunchy exterior with plenty of crispy bits. (Depending on where you live, you can usually find it at gourmet shops and stores that carry more baking supplies than others. I got mine at Duchess Provisions in Edmonton, which is now closed, but it was only $3 – not pricey.)

Liege Waffles

I love working with rich dough like this – many recipes call for a cup of butter for this quantity of flour, but as I was running low I didn’t use as much, and it was just fine. Make sure you err on the side of tacky – it should be quite tacky, but not so sticky that you need to scrape it off your hands – and keep in mind that it will swell and smooth out as it rests. Don’t worry about timing it precisely – it needs a good couple hours to rise, and can hang out for longer or go into the fridge overnight – this version is streamlined and not at all high-maintenance. No one wants to stress out over waffles – even the Liège kind.

(Pardon the blue cast on these photos – I took them in the early morning, while I was packing for New York – I wanted to get the recipe up before I left, so I’m typing this in the airport! Enjoy!)

Liege Waffles
Liege Waffles

Liège Waffles

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May 19, 2019

Ingredients

3/4 cup warm milk

2 Tbsp sugar

2 tsp active dry yeast

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup butter, softened

2 large eggs

1 tsp salt

1/2-1 cup pearl sugar

icing sugar, for serving (optional)

Directions

1Put the milk into a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer) and add the sugar and yeast. Let sit for 5-10 minutes, until it gets foamy.

2Add almost all the flour (I usually hold back about 1/2 cup) along with the butter, eggs and salt. Stir or use the dough hook until the dough comes together, adding more flour if it's very wet and sticky. Keep stirring or kneading until it's smooth, but still very tacky - it will smooth out as it rests. Cover with a tea towel and let rise for a few hours, or refrigerate overnight and take the dough out in the morning and leave it on the counter for an hour or two to warm up and rise a bit.

3Punch the dough down, flatten it out a bit and sprinkle with some of the pearl sugar, fold it over itself and knead the sugar in, adding a bit at a time until it's all worked in. I specified a range because bags of pearl sugar can vary - most recipes call for a lot of pearl sugar, but if you don't have an entire cup, that's fine - and it always seems like a lot. The sugar will start to draw out some of the moisture from the dough - don't sweat it. Divide the dough into about 10 balls and let them sit on the countertop for half an hour or so.

4Preheat your waffle iron, place a ball of dough in the middle (they won't spread to the edges), press down (they will rise, so I like to be forceful at first) and let them cook until deep golden. Serve warm, sprinkled with icing sugar, if you like. Makes about 10 waffles.

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13 comments on “Liège Waffles

  1. Cindy
    May 22, 2019 at 3:41 pm

    These look lovely and thank you for sharing your heritage!

    I would like to remind the previous commenter that a person’s blog is not unlike their home – don’t invite yourself over and then complain about what you are served. If you really want to change people’s food choices, go find some like-minded angry people and picket a 7-11. I’m sure you could find some awesome pictures to scare kids straight, e.g., “before Pez” and “after Pez”.

  2. Nadia
    May 24, 2019 at 2:03 pm

    Thank you for sharing your waffle recipe, just had one a couple of days ago in Switzerland and now I can make them at home in Canada

    • Julie
      May 30, 2019 at 7:39 am

      So great to hear it!

  3. Colleen
    May 25, 2019 at 5:07 pm

    I usually don’t comment until I have made a recipe but these look so lovely, I couldn’t resist.

    I also couldn’t resist agreeing with Cindy. There is no need for anyone to come in and make such a rude comment. Don’t like it? Don’t stop and just cruise on by.

  4. Meta4
    May 26, 2019 at 1:58 pm

    Sometimes you can find Pearl Sugar at IKEA.
    This recipe I will try, looks yummy!
    Hang in there JVR…don’t let pi**y people rain on your parade.??

  5. Meta4
    May 26, 2019 at 1:59 pm

    Sometimes you can find Pearl Sugar at IKEA.
    This recipe I will try, looks yummy!
    Hang in there JVR…don’t let pi**y people rain on your parade.??

    • Julie
      May 30, 2019 at 7:39 am

      IKEA! That’s awesome!!

  6. Gloria Webber
    June 7, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    These sound delicious! I always like to bake something when I babysit my granddaughters .. they love to help and have so much fun! Would these be good to keep left overs? I find regular waffles are dry and crumbly when reheated the next day ? Thanks

    • Julie
      June 13, 2019 at 3:23 pm

      To be honest these don’t keep very well – you could always freeze them though?

  7. Nicole
    June 11, 2019 at 5:58 pm

    You used to be able to get Pearl Sugar at Edelweiss in the NW https://www.edelweissimports.com

    • Julie
      June 13, 2019 at 3:23 pm

      Yes! thanks for the reminder!

  8. Brier
    June 21, 2019 at 3:18 pm

    Any tips on how to clean the sugar out of a waffle iron afterwards?

    • Julie
      June 23, 2019 at 12:04 pm

      Damp cloth? Mine has never stuck, perhaps because it’s nonstick? I believe most modern waffle irons are. Sugar should be easy to dissolve with a wet cloth though..

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