Mini Liège waffle dipped in melted chocolate
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Liège waffle: brioche based waffle with pearl sugar, rumoured to have been invented during the 18th century by the chef to the Prince-Bishop of Liège.
Haven't had a burger in anything but a brioche bun in the last decade? This waffle is for you and all your brioche loving friends. Belgium has many varieties of waffles but today is the "Liège", brioche dough cooked in a waffle maker with pearl sugar.
Antonin Carême. 1784-1833
Early versions of what is now the Liège waffle were a brioche base with crushed block sugar on top as a garnish; then a nod to Antonin Carême, the famous Parisian chef has several waffle recipes with crushed/pearl sugar. However, a full recipe for the gaufre de liège (liège waffle) wasn't published until quite late in 1921.
For today's recipe you will need pearl sugar.
Pearl Sugar a beet sugar compressed into uneven nuggets.
Pearl sugar is paired most frequently with brioche, like these mini loaves I baked previously. The pearl sugar even though it has been baked keeps it's shape.
Baking along with a talented group of bakers that are a part of ABC (Avid Baker's Challenge), this month was the 'Liège Waffles' from Smitten Kitten.
The ingredients and changes I made to this months recipe in bold....
1/2 cup (120 ml) milk, whole is ideal (replaced whole milk with water, milk, particularly whole milk makes dough heavier)
1/4 cup (60 ml) water
2 tablespoons raw sugar, brown sugar or honey (used golden syrup to build to the caramel/burnt sugar flavour, in Australia our tablespoons are larger so I used 1 1/2 tablespoons)
1 packet (7 grams or 2 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast ( I used instant yeast same weight, in changing yeast the method also changed)
2 large eggs, ideally at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 2/3 cups (460 grams) all-purpose flour, divided (plain flour for Australians)
1 teaspoon coarse or kosher salt (I used Maldon)
14 tablespoons (200 grams or 7 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 cups pearl sugar (cut the sugar amount, scooped out a half a cup of pearl sugar and sprinkled on top of scoops of the dough rather than incorporating into the dough)
flour mixture with golden syrup and water
The method I had to change because of using instant yeast. All the flour and instant yeast were whisked together, then the salt whisked through, water and golden syrup added. Popped the bowl onto the kitchen aid and using the dough hook and speed 2 until I had a rough dough.
Eggs were added in, then well softened butter added a spoonful at a time still using the dough hook until incorporated. Well softened butter means the butter holds it's shape but if you touch it ever so lightly it will smear . Seven minutes mixing on 2 and it's all done.
not as silky as typical brioche dough, it's firm.
I should have cut down the flour measurement somewhat, not keen on the tight texture. More fluid or less flour would have been good to improve the hydration in dough. There is a couple of rises at this stage. For the full original recipe and method see Smitten Kitten.
You'll need to have your waffle iron ready and pre heated, stove top or electric, the deeper Belgian waffle makers are the perfect choice but recipe will work in standard waffle makers too. Mine is the 'Cuisinart 4 Slice Belgium Waffle Maker'.
Here is a scoop of waffle mixture... literally just used a dessert spoon and scooped spoonfuls of room temperature brioche dough onto oiled waffle maker. My shapes weren't really the traditional oval, more of a plump round oval (there is so such a thing!!) shape. They took 4 minutes on setting 2 to cook.
Why oiled when it's non stick? Always oil your non stick cookware if the recipe contains a high sugar content or low fat mixture like sponge. Using the pearl sugar with oiled waffle plates meant clean up was a breeze. I made 28 waffles all up in this sizing.
Youtube clip from 'The Hostel Girl' blog she is in europe talking and eating waffles.
Liège waffles are a street food, food truck food, something you would grab at a market as you were walking around. Usually eaten plain they can also be plated with a chocolate sauce. They are meant to be eaten warm and immediately, you may wish to half recipe. They don't keep well and you will have to reheat in microwave and wrapped in oven to freshen them. Brioche does freeze well, but because of the sugar topping you will get sugar weeping/stickiness on defrosting.
Lets have a look inside... yep, it's brioche, fluffy plus crisp and crunchy due to the pearl sugar and waffle iron. The pearl sugar topping has almost totally smashed and melted. They are more substantial than a standard waffle, they are enriched bread and are not meant for giant stacks with lots of toppings. Although you could if you wanted to, maybe you like brioche and whipped cream and chocolate and cherries on top.
Mine were served with cups of melted chocolate and strawberries for dipping, great with coffee but would be fabulous with champagne for a celebratory brunch. Do you make a wickedly good hot chocolate? Hot chocolate to sip on or dip the waffles in would be great too. Spice with the traditional cinnamon, or try a dash of cardamom or saffron to spice things up. Consider serving with berries to provide an acid component to clean palate and don't be afraid to keep a bit of your favorite enriched dough aside when baking and try it out in your waffle maker.
Happy Baking :)
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