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
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
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!

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