When we lived in Vermont, there was some really fun places to ski. The mountains are smaller, but they’re no less fun for it.
One place that we used to go was Okemo Mountain. And if you know anything about skiing in Vermont, then you know that you don’t go to Okemo mountain without skiing into the Waffle Cabin.
Yes, skiing into. It’s a waffle pit stop right on the mountain, and if you don’t ski, then you still find a way to get one of their waffles, because they’re incredible.
They serve liege waffles at the Waffle Cabin, and they’re the real thing. Liege waffles are not regular breakfast waffles…no matter how good regular breakfast waffles are. Liege waffles are transcendent. Yeasty, fragrant, sugary, irresistible.
Nothing like any waffle you’ve ever had before.
For 6 years, since we left Vermont, I’ve pined for liege waffles. Yes, I could have made some from one of the many online recipes, but I was missing one key ingredient.
A few weeks ago, I was to a local market and came across these gorgeous little sugar pearls. I knew immediately what they’re used for, but I’ve never been able to find them before, so you can imagine how excited I was!
These sugar pearls are the secret to liege waffles. I’ve seen some recipes using various other techniques of adding sugar to the waffles, but the effect is never quite the same. Basically, what I’m telling you is that if you don’t have these bad boys, you gotta go get some, like, yesterday.
Now, I researched liege waffles like crazy when I first found these pearls, and what I established was that most of them were completely not really liege waffles, or they were so time and labor intensive, that no one would be interested in bothering.
I mean, we’re talking two days worth of working and waiting before the dough is even ready to cook. No, thank you.
In the end, I narrowed the ingredients down from several recipes to see what the differences were. In all honestly, there were a lot of differences; bread flour vs. all-purpose, plain sugar vs. brown, 2 eggs vs. 4 eggs vs. 1 egg, and on and on. I took all the info, thought back to the waffles I’d had before, and used my own personal experience to create this recipe. And I made it fast and simple. Yay!
Then, I made them all molassesy-gingerbready. Because I rock your world like that. Or something.
First of all, rather than use milk and water, like many recipes do, I cut the water all together and increased the milk instead. Second, I eliminated about half a million steps by combining all of the wet ingredients separately from the dry.
In a measuring the cup, I heated the milk until it was hot, then I stirred in the softened butter until it was completely melted. Next, I added the eggs and lightly whisked, then stirred in molasses and vanilla extract.
Trust me when I say that this was far faster and easier than any other recipe I came across, which mostly involved stirring this or that in, resting, then stirring in some of whatever, and resting again. Talk about tedious.
At this point, all I had to do was add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients that I’d already combined in my mixing bowl, and knead the whole thing for a few minutes.
Once the dough is ready, transfer it to a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
See? Easy, right?
When the iron is ready, spread a piece of the dough (about 4 ounces) on the iron. Don’t worry about spreading it all the way to the edge or anything like that; these are meant to be rustic, and they’re all the prettier for it.
Cook each waffle for about 2 to 3 minutes, and enjoy. Immediately.
These waffles are crisp on the outside, with all the melted sugar, and soft and yeasty inside, with little burst is sweet crunch from the sugar on the inside.
Now, if you’re really feeling frisky, mix up some chocolate maple syrup, drizzle it over your waffles, and sit back and bask in the glow of adoration that everyone is bestowing upon you (you think I’m exaggerating, but my boys spoil me rotten every time I make any flavor of liege waffles).
Gingerbread Liege Waffles
Makes 7 waffles
1/3 cup (about 83 ml) hot milk
1/2 cup (1 stick or 113 grams) unsalted butter
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon molasses
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
2 cups (254 grams) bread flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
1 1/4 teaspoon (or 1 packet) instant yeast
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup pearl sugar
To make the waffles: In a medium bowl or measuring cup, heat the milk until it’s hot enough to melt the butter. Stir the butter into the milk until melted. Add the eggs, whisking lightly. Stir in the molasses and vanilla extract; set aside.
In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer with the dough hook attached, combine the flour, brown sugar, yeast, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the warm milk mixture in a slow steady stream. Increase speed to medium and mix until the dough barely sticks to the bowl, about 7 to 8 minutes, scraping the sides as necessary. Transfer the dough to a very lightly oiled bowl, cover, and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Once doubled, turn on the waffle iron. Knead the pearl sugar into the dough and set aside to rest while the iron heats.
Divide the dough into 7 4-ounce pieces. One piece at a time, spread the waffle dough in the hot iron. Cook until deep golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Serve warm, plain, or with chocolate maple syrup or other garnish.
Chocolate Maple Syrup
3 ounces semi-sweet or dark chocolate, chopped roughly
3 tablespoons maple syrup
In a small bowl, combine the syrup and chocolate. Heat in the microwave for 15 seconds. Stir the ingredients to start melting the chocolate. Heat for another 15 seconds, if needed, to melt the chocolate until smooth.
Recipe by Darla