My friend Mikey brought this brilliant technique for dry caramelizing sugar to my attention last week. We decided to try it out last night at the Treehouse. With the joint suddenly smelling like an enchanted cookie forest, conversation turned to Liège waffles. For those who don’t eat them daily, Liège-style waffles are infused with this magic caramel produced by a fancy sugar
They’re sufficiently difficult that even I leave them to the professionals.
So here’s a riff on my favorite yeasted waffles (the yeast makes a more flavorful and smoothly textured waffle), using this fabulous new dry caramelized sugar. You can use brown sugar, too, and still have a great waffle. It just won’t be inspired. And really, don’t we all need a little inspiration with breakfast? Being for actual Belgian waffles this recipe is meant to be made in a Belgian (deep hole) waffle maker. For thinner waffle makers, I prefer to use my brown butter pancake recipe.
Anything more than whipped cream, and perhaps a drizzle of my dark chocolate sauce, is gilding the lily when it comes to topping these babies.
This recipe makes about a dozen 6-inch waffles.
Caramel Belgian Waffles
730g whole milk, warmed to body temperature
580g a/p flour
20 grates of nutmeg
7g instant yeast (1 packet)
3 eggs, separated
170g browned unsalted butter, cooled to no more than 100º
100g dry caramelized sugar or dark brown sugar
Prepare browned butter, as described in this cookie recipe that you should also be trying, an hour before you plan to mix the waffles.
Heat milk to about 100º, or the temperature you’d use for a baby’s bath, and set aside.
Weigh yeast into a small bowl and add 60g warmed milk. Stir to combine and set aside.
Combine flour and nutmeg in a bowl and set aside.
Beat the egg whites to soft peaks in a clean bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together yolks from separated eggs with 60g warm milk, sugar, salt, vanilla, and cooled browned butter. Whisk in the yeast mixture.
Add a third of the flour to the milk and egg mixture, then gently whisk until only pea-sized pockets of dry flour remain. Add half of the milk and gently whisk in until just incorporated. Add another third of the flour, mixing as before, then the rest of the milk, and finally the last of the flour. With a large spoon or rubber spatula, fold in the egg whites until barely combined. It’s okay if a few streaks of egg remain.
Cover the bowl with a plate or plastic wrap and aside for an hour. The yeast will cause the batter to double in size. This is good and normal!
About forty five minutes into the hour of rest you give the batter, get your waffle iron warming up. Carefully rub the inside of the iron with a clean paper towel and a little vegetable oil after the waffle iron cycles the first time. Always follow your manufacturer’s instructions when using your waffle iron!
Add enough batter to the waffle iron to come almost to the top of the peaks in the lower half, spread quickly to even, and close the iron. If you don’t have a waffle iron with a built-in sensor, you can tell they’re done when only a little bit of steam is coming out from the maker, usually about four minutes.
Waffles are best eaten immediately, and I promise, your guests will be happy to wait to get one fresh and hot from the waffle iron. Subdue the crowd with mimosas if they get rowdy.