Breeeakfast!! Yasss!! I think I’ve said it two or three times already, but hot damn I love breakfast. Hands down favorite meal, and I’ll have breakfast food any time of day. I’ve been thinking about eating big breakfasts lately (seriously) because I love food and that’s the kind of thing I do with my mental spare time. I’ve been thinking about Belgian waffles in particular, so we’re making some today.
I grew up eating Eggo waffles more than any other waffle out there, a fact I am neither ashamed of nor regret. But in my later and savvier years, I’ve come to prefer Belgian waffles (and the occasional waffle cone complete with ice cream and toppings). Belgian waffles are defined by their light texture and larger and deeper squares. Think of them as American waffles’ older, beefy brother. Just to throw a little trivia ammo into the mix, Belgian waffles were first brought to us thanks to a, you guessed it, Belgian named Walter Cleyman in the early 60’s (1962 to be exact).
Now some of you may be questioning me for including a waffle recipe in a self-proclaimed baking and pastry blog, and to you I say this: 1. It’s my blog and I’ll post what I want, please and thanks. 2. Not only can Belgian waffles be used in a lot of dessert applications, the method is really just a loose cake batter, so by making them you not only get to eat delicious waffles, you can improve your pastry technique too! Win-win!
Ok so to make Belgian waffles you need a Belgian waffle iron. Big surprise. Luckily these can be super cheap and still give great results. And they’re relatively small and compact and can be tucked away neatly in a kitchen until it’s waffle time. Point being: go ahead and get one!
The reason I use a touch of brown sugar in my batter is simply for a hint of the molasses malt flavor brown sugar has. I also choose to use cake flour as opposed to the all-purpose flour many recipes call for. AP flour will get you a fine waffle, I just prefer cake for a little extra lightness (thanks to the weak protein content of cake flour. Remember: low protein = low gluten development).
I always hate giving yields since there are so many variables that can determine your true yield, but I’ll say that with my waffle iron making waffles about 6-7in in diameter my recipe yields five of them.
The first waffle you make in your waffle iron is what I like to think of as the Chef’s share. It will always be the worst of the batch since the heated iron hasn’t been previously tempered by batter and also because you may need to adjust the heat. I eat the first crummy waffle and then give the rest of the good ones to my guests.
Lastly, waffles are at their best just after coming off of the waffle iron, and get soggy quick. To fight this, I turn my oven to between 275-300F/135-149C and place a sheet pan with a glazing/cooling rack inside. As soon as I pull a waffle off of the iron I place it on the glazing rack in the oven to keep warm and crisp. Since the waffles are quick to make in the iron, any waffles in the oven won’t have enough time to cook or dry out waiting in the oven before they get served.
85g butter unsalted
60g egg yolks
5g vanilla extract
15g light brown sugar
185g cake flour
8g baking powder
4g baking soda
135g egg whites
1g cream of tartar
There are a few things to do before getting started with the recipe. Bring the buttermilk and egg yolks to room temp. Heat the butter until melted but not hot and reserve it to use later. Last, combine and sift the baking powder, baking soda, salt and cake flour and reserve that, too.
Combine the buttermilk, egg yolks, melted butter and vanilla extract, whisking well to combine.
Add the brown sugar and mix well until the sugar is dissolved.
Add the sifted dry ingredients to the liquid mixture and mix until just combined. Let the mixture sit and thicken while you whip up your meringue.
Whip the egg whites with the sugar and cream of tartar in a stand mixer with a whip attachment until nearly at stiff peaks.
Fold the meringue into the batter.
Ladle the batter into your waffle iron and cook as instructed by the manufacturer. To be honest, though, I actually let my waffles sit in the iron a little longer, just to get them crispier.
At this point you’re ready to top your waffles with whatever you damn well please: fruit, whipped cream, powdered sugar, chocolate, fried chicken. Generally I’m a purest and prefer a strong dose of real maple syrup (we don’t mess with any of the Log Cabin junk).