Liege waffles are made with a raised yeast, Brioche-like dough, that incorporates small Pearl sugar in the batter. The sugar only melts lightly in the cooking, leaving unexpected sweet, crunchy bits in the waffle.
1-1/2 Tbsp light brown sugar
1-3/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/3 Cup lukewarm water
2 Cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
3 large eggs
1 tsp Vanilla Paste
2 sticks (1 Cup) unsalted butter, melted – plus more for brushing
1 Cup pearl sugar
In a small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar and yeast with the lukewarm water. Allow to stand, undisturbed, until yeast mixture is frothy (about 10 minutes). Fit the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle or bread hook, and mix the flour and salt for a few seconds. Pour the yeast mixture into the flour, and mix at low speed until liquid and flour roughly combine, about 1 minute.
Add the eggs one at a time, mixing for a full minute after each addition. Melt the butter and whisk in the vanilla paste. Keeping the mixer on low speed, add the butter mixture and let the stand mixer “knead” the dough for 1 – 2 minutes. Dough will be thick and sticky. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the batter to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 90 minutes – 2 hours.
(You can do everything up to this point the night before, and refrigerate the dough before going to bed. Allow dough to come to room temperature (about 30 – 45 min) before continuing the recipe instructions in the morning).
Using a sturdy spatula or heavy wooden spoon, stir the pearl sugar into the risen waffle “dough.” Cover the bowl again and allow the batter to rest for 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 250°F. Preheat your Belgian waffle iron and brush it with the additional melted butter. Gently stir the batter with a wooden spoon to “deflate” it. Cook the waffles according to the manufacturer’s specifications until each one is golden and crisp; brush the waffle iron with melted butter as needed, as you go. Transfer the finished waffles to plates to eat right away, or keep them warm in the oven, then serve all at once.
(It’s hard to find Pearl sugar in Des Moines! If you can’t find it at Williams-Sonoma or Gateway Market, we’ve been able to find it at Amazon).