First of all, some of you may be wondering what the heck a Belgian liege waffle is, so I will explain that before we move on to anything else ;) Liège waffles are crunchy on the inside from the embedded sugar pearls and perfectly crisp on the outside from that same sugar that melts to form an incredible caramelized shell. Liege waffles are unforgettable to say the least, but I did not just stop there. I gave our liege waffles the loveliest seasonal twist by infusing gingerbread flavors and serving them up with thick vanilla yogurt and sweet orange marmalade. And let me tell you guys, these gingerbread Belgian liege waffles are most definitely one of the best things that have come out of the Ful-filled kitchen this year!
I first experienced the greatness of gingerbread with citrus marmalade a couple of years ago when I made gluten-free gingerbread scones. The brightness of a citrus marmalade combined with the warmth of gingerbread spices equals the dreamiest flavor combo. Ever since trying it, I cannot eat gingerbread anything without the presence of citrus…what can I say, they just belong together.
Now, making liege waffles does not have to be complicated. The yeast dough does need two rises, much like a bread would, but you can simplify the process by letting one of the rises take place in the refrigerator. Once the dough has finished rising, the pearl sugar gets kneaded in – no, this is not the conventional way that waffles are made, but remember these are not conventional waffles ;) A ball of waffle dough gets pressed into the waffle maker (this is the one we have) and after about 5 minutes, the whole time of which you’ll want to eat the air in your kitchen because it smells so good, you are rewarded with one of the best waffles you will ever have the pleasure of eating.
These gingerbread Belgian liege waffles are really the best served still warm from the waffle maker, so if you plan on having any leftovers, cook them 1 minute less so that they will not get to dark when you re-heat them in the toaster. Don’t forget the citrus marmalade, we used sweet orange because that is what we had, but lemon or even kumquat would be perfect substitutes. And to balance the sweetness, we love a big dollop of thick yogurt along with the marmalade (we used Siggi’s whole milk vanilla yogurt).
Hopefully by now I have convinced you of just how wonderful these waffles are – they will for sure go down in history as one of the best waffles we have ever eaten.
- 1 1/2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1/3 cup lukewarm water
- 3 tbsp molasses
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 tsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 12 tbsp unsalted butter, melted - plus more for brushing
- 1 cup Belgian pearl sugar
- In a small bowl, whisk the brown sugar and yeast into the lukewarm water and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle, mix the flour with the salt and all of the spices.
- Once the yeast is foamy, add the molasses to the yeast mixture and stir until thoroughly combined.
- Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in the yeast mixture. Mix at medium speed until shaggy, about 1 minute. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing for 20 seconds between each. Whisk the vanilla with the melted butter. With the mixer at medium-low, gradually mix in the butter until smooth; the batter will be thick and very sticky.
- Cover the bowl and let the batter rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour and 45 minutes.
- Stir the pearl sugar into the risen batter. Cover again and let rest for 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 250°. Preheat a Belgian waffle iron and brush it with melted butter (if your non-stick coating is in good shape you can skip this step).
- Gently stir the waffle batter to deflate. Using about 1/4 cup of batter for each waffle, cook the waffles according to the manufacturer's directions until they are golden and crisp (about 5 minutes); brushing the waffle iron with melted butter as needed.
- Transfer the waffles to plates or keep them warm in the oven, then serve.
- The batter can be prepared without adding the pearl sugar and refrigerated overnight. Bring batter to room temperature the next day, stir in the pearl sugar and proceed with cooking the waffles.
*adapted from Food and Wine