Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Easy Liege Waffles

I've noticed that desserts go in trendy waves,
which is pretty hilarious, but also pretty fun if you like to try new stuff!
First it was froyo, then it was crepes, then waffles, now donuts/cronuts
 (or doughnuts? How do you know which way to spell this word??).
All I know is the last three desserts can deliciously be combined into one overpriced food truck item: the liege waffle.

Liege waffles are waffles, but chewier and almost like a croissant in texture and a donut in richness. They will run you anywhere from $5-9, depending on the toppings you choose.
Tonight we made 14 waffles, complete with berries and fresh whipped cream, for less than $10 total - something that would have cost over $100 at a food truck!
And they really do taste (and smell! that smell!) like the real thing, guys.
Trust me.

So now, for the recipe!
I started using this recipe from Smitten Kitchen, but quickly realized I did not have the patience to wait TWO DAYS for my dough to rise. I also did not have the patience to wait two months for pearl sugar to arrive from Europe.
So, I didn't!
So here's my lazy version!

Easy Liege Waffles
Yield: about 14 waffles, four inches across

1/2 cup milk (I used 2%, you can use whatever you have on hand!)
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons rapid-rise yeast
2 large eggs at room temperature
3 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp coarse salt (or any salt, really)
14 tsbp unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 cups "pearl sugar" **

**I used a food processor (a blender would also work, or a wooden spoon and arm strength) to break up sugar cubes into small (as small as you can get them!) lumps. I actually only did about 1 cup worth, because I didn't want my waffles to be too sugary, so the amount of sugar you add is up to you! The less sugar, the more your waffle will taste like a croissant, which isn't a bad thing ;).

Warm the milk and water to lukewarm, and place in a medium/large bowl. Whisk in sugar and yeast, and set aside for 5 minutes; the yeast should be foamy.
Whisk in eggs and vanilla, then stir in all but 1 cup flour using a spoon. Add salt and mix to combine.
Transfer mixture to a Kitchen Aid (or anything with a dough hook), and using the dough hook add the butter one spoonful at a time, allowing each spoonful to mix in completely before adding another until all the butter has been mixed in. Be patient, this may take a little while!
Add the remaining flour and knead with the dough hook on low speed for five minutes, or until the dough is even and glossy.
Cover dough and set on counter to rise for at least two hours (or 1.5 if you're in a hurry like me!). The dough should double in size!
Before cooking the waffles, knead in the pearl sugar using your hands. Don't worry that it looks weird and the sugar lumps seem giant! They will melt and caramelize.
To cook the waffles, pull off a ball of dough slightly larger than a golf ball, but smaller than a baseball, and place in greased waffle iron on medium-medium/high setting, depending on your iron.
Cook until golden brown on top, or darker if you want some crunch.

My favorite topping combo is Speculoos/Biscoff Spread with berries and homemade whipped cream! We make our whipped cream by mixing 1 pint of heavy whipping cream with 1 tsp vanilla (you could also add almond extract, yum!) and about 1/2 cup of sugar (more or less depending on how sweet you want it to be!) in a Kitchen Aid until stiff peaks form.
Other favorite toppings include Nutella, bananas, cinnamon & sugar, or vanilla ice cream. Tonight my waffle was so delightfully good that I ate it completely plain! So that's always an option too :)

Clean Up:
I have heard clean up can be difficult, which is why I recommend greasing the iron every waffle or two! The sugar lumps can caramelize on your iron, so it may take some scraping to get off. Ours wasn't too bad, but definitely took longer than cleaning up normal waffles.

Bon appetit!

Pregnancy and life update

Weeks: 29! I seriously cannot believe in just 11 weeks (at the most!) our baby will be here. He's kicking me in excitement at this moment!

Comfort Level: Still comfortable, except for bending over! And riding a bike (I probably shouldn't be doing that haha). Jason and I try to do yoga a couple times a week and some of the poses are also getting a little tricky!

Symptoms: HEARTBURN! Oh my. I forgot to mention this one last time, but I've had heartburn basically since I discovered I was pregnant around five weeks. It's gotten a little better (which is weird because usually it gets worse for people as their pregnancy goes on) but I am definitely popping Tums like they're going out of style! I've also been having a harder time falling asleep than normal, which is getting old. Come on body, let me rest while I still can!

Cravings: Frozen yogurt! Yogurtland's pistachio with graham cracker crumbs on it always sounds good. Cereal is still up there as well! Other than that, I'm eating all the same stuff I ate before I was pregnant.

What I'm Looking Forward To: Meeting my friends' babies! Jason and I have almost a dozen friends having babies in June, July or August (we're due at the end of July) and it has been so so fun! There have been lots of baby showers to go to and I love seeing so many of my friends entering this new phase of life with me!

In other news, I started a one-sentence journal (inspired by The Happiness Project -- read it!) so here is a little recap of the past week.

5/4: Today one of my wildest dreams came true: Jason got me a dustbuster.
5/5: I can no longer see my toes over my pregnant belly.
5/6: I’ve had a lot of good honeydew lately, which is weird because honeydew isn’t usually very good.
5/7: I came home and Jason was taking on some serious reorganization projects… I think he’s nesting!
5/8: Never, ever let a pregnant lady buy a box of vanilla Joe Joe’s for herself.
5/9: Sometimes you just want a bean burrito for breakfast, you know?
5/10: My personal goal of no social media on Sundays is proving to be extremely worthwhile. Also, it’s mother’s day and I sure love my selfless mom!
5/11: Today I saved a bird from drowning in the pool and saved our house from catching on fire from the barbecue.

Oh! And one more thing...

A few weeks ago I went outside to visit my dead garden (may it rest in peace until Labor Day), and to my surprise, growing through the JUNGLE of weeds were these beauties!

I had totally given up on these, and seeing them pushing through the weed jungle just warmed my little gardener heart.
I transferred two small artichoke plants into the garden last September, and I thought I must have planted them incorrectly or something because they weren't making any progress
(or so I thought).
They just needed some time.

May that be a lesson to me, that there really is a time and season for everything.

Also, beware not to let your artichokes grow for too long... or this will happen!

That's why three of my artichokes are starting to look pretty funky.
But I love them anyway.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Two years of newlyweds

I heard a lot of things about marriage before I actually experienced it for myself,
and I must say that after two years, most of what I heard about the newlywed phase 
(which should have worn off by now, right?)
was totally bogus.

So don't listen to them.

Marriage can be great, I tell you.
It can be fun, spontaneous, and fulfilling.
It does not have to be frustrating, routine, or boring.

I have a lot of feelings about marriage.

And even after two years, they're all still good ones.

(and endless thanks to our eternal photographer, Lizzy Early)