Recently we sold our house in Atlanta where some of you may have picked up product years ago. Maybe you even picked it up on the porch from the fridge and left your payment in the lock box out there when I wasn't home. That place was truly the beginning of Country Cakes and Bakes! And while it was a little emotional to move from there, where we live now has an amazing kitchen that makes me wonder how I ever was able to produce what I did at the old place for the farmer's markets and other orders. But like with any new piece of equipment, new person or new process, I just do it until I absolutely can't anymore and a lot of times you don't know what was missing until you have it. Anyways, in our new place, I've been doing a lot more cooking, baking and recipe testing and this is one of my newest obsessions, Belgian Waffles.
To show my nerdy side, I am also so excited to live back in the South Central Power district because along with it comes their fun magazine, "Ohio Cooperative Living". It has a lot of local stories, educational information about power and recipes. That is where I found this recipe and my mouth was instantly watering.
Before I share the recipe, here are some things to know about it. First, you want to get some of the Belgian pearl sugar for these. Typically if I don't have that "one" key ingredient, I just improvise. But these really need that sugar to send them over the top. I ordered some from amazon, I'm not sure if it's in the stores and really, if you want to try it out and just need the 3-4 ounces, let me know, we can get you some at the bakery. Next this recipe takes a little planning. The dough has to sit for 30-60 minutes as it is a yeast dough and full disclosure, mine sat for 2 hours once because I got busy on another project and it turned out just fine. Like I've said before, I don't have a stand mixer at home so I just used my hand mixer and it worked fine. My hand mixer does have these solid paddle attachments which are probably best if you have them. The dough does want to climb the paddles, but just push it down occasionally. As long as the dough is moving around and mixing, it will mix and develop the gluten which is the point anyways!
Lastly, I don't have a belgian waffle iron, actually I didn't have a waffle iron at all. So I just borrowed my mom's that she's had for probably 25 years and it works perfectly. Don't buy a new gadget that your neighbor or family member for sure has shoved in their cupboard, just borrow one! And then if you too become obsessed like I am with these, maybe treat yourself and get your own. Here's the recipe with anything in parentheses added by me because sometimes I think it would be helpful to know why your doing something in a recipe instead of just following a checklist. Enjoy!
BELGIAN WAFFLES (from "Ohio Cooperative Living" by Catherine Murray)
Prep: 30 minutes---Cook: 30 minutes---Proof(time the dough needs to sit):30-60 minutes---makes 10 waffles
- 3/4 cup warm milk (not hot)
- 1 packet active dry yeast
- 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temp
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted but not hot
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 1/2 cups flour
- 3-4 ounces Belgian pearl sugar (this is folded in after the dough is made and rests for 30-60 minutes)
Pour warm milk into the bowl of a stand mixer or just a large bowl if using a hand mixer. Sprinkle yeast and brown sugar on top and let sit for 5 minutes until the yeast begins to foam. (Heat, but not too hot and sugar feed the yeast and wake it up so it is ready to raise your product) Once the mixture is bubbly, mix in the eggs, melted butter, vanilla and salt on low to combine.
Slowly incorporate the flour with a dough hook if you have it or paddle attachment works well too. Mix dough for two minutes. Gather the dough into a ball and grease the sides of a bowl, placing the dough in the middle and cover with saran wrap or a damp towel. Set somewhere warm until dough is doubled in size. (I really just went with time here, one hour and rocked and rolled)
Heat waffle iron when ready to cook. Set a medium if it has temperature setting. (mine does not, I added a little cooking time after the light went off to get desired color, just check it and cook accordingly). Lay dough onto a lightly floured surface and flatten a bit. Sprinkle pearl sugar over the dough and fold in. Divide the dough into 10 evenish balls. Grease waffle iron with cooking spray. (do this each time you cook a waffle). Place a piece of dough in the center of the iron, close and cook 4-6 minutes or until the color turns a toasted brown in the center. If sugar begins to burn, turn down heat. Set on a wire rack to cool. Cooked waffles can be frozen up to two months. (trust me, they probably won't make it to the freezer)
**Caution (from me)--As you cook the waffles, you will notice a pool of carmelized sugar starting to form around the edge of where the waffles are. Just keep putting the dough in the center and this will stay on the edge. This is where some of the pearl sugar is directly exposed to the waffle iron and melts. This melted sugar is lava hot and will stick immediately to your skin and burn you. Please use a pair of tongs or spatula to get the waffle out, NOT your hand. This melted sugar also needs to be cleaned out of your waffle iron while it is still a little warm or else it cools like hard tack candy!
Last time I made two batches to share and try to save as my family loves them and they are lightyears better than Eggos. It really is amazing what different combinations of the simplest ingredients and a little bit of magic can create.
As far as waffle size, the waffles if you are using a regular waffle maker, will not fill the iron completely. This is perfect because then they are small enough to fit in your toaster for reheating and they are so decadent that you wouldn't want them any bigger anyways. They are perfect eaten as is, dusted with some powdered sugar or maxed out and topped with butter and maple syrup. I also love adding peanut butter because honestly, peanut butter and maple syrup are a match made in heaven! (get the real syrup if you can, it's just next level) I'd love to hear if you try these out!