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Belgian waffles – made in America by an Italian

Posted in Baking, Food & Entertaining, and Uncategorized

Voty-Announcement-14Before we get to the food, let us please indulge in a little bit of self-congratulation. Two days ago, we were notified that the piece “Doing more only to do less – do we glorify busy?” was one of the winners in the 2014 BlogHer Voice of the Year op-ed section. Being the old dingbats that we are, we submitted it months ago and promptly forgot all about it, which made the surprise of the notification even sweeter. It looks like one of us will be going to the Conference/Award Ceremony in San Jose at the end of July – very first time for us and I wish it could be the two of us (especially because the post was written by sofa girl). But I will do my best to represent the site and have some good old-fashioned fun. If you are not familiar with BlogHer, check out the site – and here is a bit of its history. And now on to waffles.

There is a waffle maker in my pantry, about 20 years old, that gets taken out every 5 years or so, when I am struck with the idea of making waffles. This ancient and heavy contraption usually induces thoughts of running to William Sonoma at the first opportunity – then I make waffles, swear for half an hour while cleaning the damn thing and forget all about it for another 5 years.

I do like waffles, but they are rarely my breakfast of choice, not even when sitting at a restaurant or cafe. Not quite sure why, because they are more interesting than pancakes and lighter than French toast.

My ancient waffle maker
My ancient waffle maker

A bit like spaghetti bolognaise, an arbitrary American name for pasta with ragout, if you go to Belgium and try to order Belgian waffles, no one will know what you are talking about. There are many types of waffles in Belgium and each recipe takes the name from their place of origin – what became popular in America (and was indeed introduced by a Belgian around the 1950s) is based on the Brussels waffle.

Waffles heading from Belgium are yeasted, while most American ones are made with baking powder. But if you are willing to commit to a few hours of rising (or, like me, make the batter the day before and leave it in the fridge overnight) the results will be astoundingly different: crunchy on the outside and deliciously soft on the inside, they are indeed heavenly.

The American version calls for whipped cream and strawberries but, even on a Sunday morning, I couldn’t indulge in such decadence, so I simply served them with blueberries and maple syrup. What didn’t get eaten, was frozen and simply popped into the toaster oven a few days later.

If you have a non-stick waffle maker, skip the butter brushing step before pouring the batter. I was more generous than usual with the butter and the clean up afterwards was a snap – no curse inducing bits and pieces stuck everywhere to be removed with a skewer. A quick wipe and the waffle maker returned to the pantry, where I promised, under my breath, now that I have the perfect recipe, it won’t be five years before the next waffle making session.

WafflesRECIPE – yields 6 to 8 waffles

2 C + 2 T Milk (230 ml)
8 T Butter (113 g)
1 scant T Sugar
1 very full ts Dry active yeast
a pinch Salt
1 2/3 C All purpose flour (165 g)
1 Egg
a pinch Baking soda

  1. Heat the milk and butter on medium heat in a small pot, but do not let it boil. Take it off the stove and add sugar and salt. Let cool to lukewarm.
  2. In a large bowl, combine 1/4 cup of warm water and the yeast. Let sit for 5 minutes until the yeast starts to bubble.
  3. Add the milk mixture to the yeast and stir. Whisk in the flour until smooth, cover and refrigerate overnight (or let sit at room temperature for a couple of hours).
  4. Heat waffle maker. Take the batter out of the fridge and let it warm for about 15 minutes, then add egg and baking soda.
  5. Generously butter the waffle maker with melted butter, using a pastry brush. Pour about 1/2 C of batter per waffle and cook until golden brown. You can serve them as you go or keep them warm in the oven until they are all cooked.
  6. Any left overs can be easily frozen.

This recipe was adapted from an original recipe by Melissa Clarke/NY Times

 

 

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18 Comments

  1. silvia
    silvia

    You can imagine how happy I am for this award. No one deserves it more than you. Congrats girls!

    May 11, 2014
    |Reply
  2. Congratulations on the award, you really really deserve it!! As for the waffles, I am not a fan (while I could do anything for a good pancake, but I guess that is just because it’s more exotic to me) but it’s true that every single city in Belgium has its own recipe. My favorite, though, is the Brussels waffle, made with whipped eggwhites to give it a certain airiness. Here’s the recipe:
    Bring to boil 250 ml of full fat milk with a quarter of a vanilla stick, leave it to infuse and put it on the side to cool. In a mixing bowl, mix together 125 grams of all purpose flour, 4 egg yolks and 100 grams of melted butter. Slowly add the milk and finish by incorporating carefully the well-beaten eggwhites. No need for yeast or baking powder. I don’t know if it’s understandable, I am not used to write recipes:) Just in case you want to try another version.xx

    May 9, 2014
    |Reply
    • This is intriguing. Maybe I can have a waffle contest: Brussels waffles against American waffles. Bet Belgium wins. Will let you know.

      May 10, 2014
      |Reply
  3. Congratulations and well deserved recognition! Now, waffles to celebrate? I think so! x

    May 8, 2014
    |Reply
    • Had the last waffle just this morning! Will have to give it a rest now.

      May 8, 2014
      |Reply
  4. Congratulations x a well deserved award x
    The waffles look so good I can almost smell them x

    May 8, 2014
    |Reply
    • Just when we needed it. You know when you question what you are doing? The universe sometimes answers…

      May 8, 2014
      |Reply
  5. Auguroni for the award. The waffles bring back childhood memories of after dinner treats while on vacation in France. I love gaufres, but haven’t had them in ages. I remember them with all kinds of toppings, including chantilly. Not sure if the French street vendors use a yeasted batter, too. This is 20+ years ago. I would like a crispy gaufre right now 😉 Kees hates them for some reason, so I doubt that I will acquire the contraption needed to make my own.

    May 8, 2014
    |Reply
    • Isn’t it funny how our significant others end up influencing what we eat? My husband hates polenta so I only make it for myself, when I am alone, as if in secret…

      May 8, 2014
      |Reply
      • I know exactly what you mean! I’m not a big fan of polenta either by the way, unless when it’s fried/grilled.

        May 10, 2014
        |Reply
    • It doesn’t hurt to be reminded to slow down…although, maybe, over there in NZ, your pace is more mellow. Wishful thinking

      May 8, 2014
      |Reply

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