Do you know how good real Belgian waffles are? I hope you’ve had the chance to eat one at least once in your life. No, I’m not just talking about the big, size-of-your-face waffles you get at diners, though those are, indeed, delicious. I’m talking about Liège waffles, which are made with yeast and, best of all, pearl sugar, which are hard little pebbles of sugar that don’t melt as easily as regular granulated sugar, leaving perfect little caramelized pockets in each bite of waffle. It’s heavenly, really, and yeah, you’ve got to go to a specialty baking store or order it online to get it, but it’s worth the effort for an extra special treat. I have honestly have a small container of pearl sugar in my cupboard for over a year, waiting for the right time to make real Liège waffles. Well, today’s the day, folks. Kramer and I couldn’t stop eating these things. I had to throw the rest away because we were making ourselves sick on waffley goodness. There’s something irresistible about them. They don’t even need syrup, making them the perfect hand-held breakfast, if you can keep enough leftovers from Sunday brunch to actually make them into your breakfast-on-the-go the next morning, but really, I doubt that’ll happen. Spread a little Nutella or cookie butter on these things for the real Belgian experience, or maybe even some whipped cream if you’ve got it. If you’re a waffle or pancake lover, I implore you to get yourself some pearl sugar and give these bad boys a try. You’ll be hooked.
The reason I made these waffles was because I was invited by Google Photos to go to an event with Wafles & Dinges, a legendary food cart turned actual restaurant in NYC, and play some games with their photo app. As it would just so happen, this was perfect for me, because I am an Android user and I actually do use Google Photos on a daily basis. It makes searching for photos easy, so I can find that photo I took three weeks ago of my fried egg sandwich to post on my social media accounts, and it also has some great editing tools to make my photos pop. When I went to the event, they were having a contest to see who could find images of specific things the fastest on their phones with the app, which really made me see how it categorizes photos for you. For example, I was supposed to find a picture of a cat, and I was scrolling through my already sorted photos that Google identified for me, but of course, I had a whole folder labeled “dogs” but nothing with cats because as it would turn out, I had zero photos of cats on my phone. Dog person for life! But anyway, despite being cat-photo-free (sorry, Amanda), I got a free waffle which I took to Madison Square Park to eat and chill out for a few minutes on what turned out to be a beautiful summer day. While this post is sponsored by Google, I heartily endorse this photo app and, as an Android user, can truly say that I think it’s a good product. SO THERE. Dogs for life and Android for life. That’s me. Now go eat a waffle and thank me later.
Make your batter, let it rise, add the sugar and then let it rest one more time.
Heat up your trusty waffle iron and get to waffling.
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- ⅓ cup warm water (about 110-115 degrees F)
- 2¼ teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup Belgian pearl sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- Whisk together your warm water and brown sugar. Add in the yeast and let sit for 5 minutes or so, until foaming (if your yeast does not foam, it's old and you will need to start over).
- Add in your flour and salt and beat until well combined (I used my mixer for this, but by hand is fine, too). Beat in your eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated (the batter will be thick). Add in the melted and slightly cooled butter and the vanilla and mix until well combined. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot to rise for about 2 hours.
- Once the dough has risen, mix in the pearl sugar and the granulated sugar, then set it aside to rest for another 30 minutes (I promise, it's worth it).
- Heat up your waffle iron and brush it with extra butter and/or non-stick spray. These waffles are typically served smaller, so what would normally be one large waffle will actually be four small waffles, as you can see from the photos. Each smaller waffle was made with about 2-3 tablespoons of batter. Add your batter to the waffle iron and cook for 2-3 minutes, being careful to check as the sugar will cause these to easily burn.
- Keep the extra waffles warm in the oven, if you like, while you finish out the batch. Serve with powdered sugar, maple syrup, or really, all on their own, because they are just that good.