I learned something while making these waffles. I learned the difference between a standard American waffle and a Belgian waffle and I thought I'd share that information with you as well. I always thought that Belgian waffles were the same as American waffles just thicker, but that's only part of it. American waffles are raised solely with baking powder while Belgian waffles get their rise from yeast. The yeast also lends a tangy flavor and lightness to the waffle. Since the Belgian waffles are thicker, the grooves are deeper which accomodate all kinds of fruits syrups and sweetened whipped cream.
We've made these waffles several times since discovering them in Williams-Sonoma's Breakfast book. This is also the same cookbook that I found the delicious Sour Cream Coffee Cake. The first time we made them we only made one batch, which didn't last very long. Now when we make them, we double or triple the recipe and freeze the leftovers- they reheat wonderfully in the toaster. You noticed I said "we" right? That's right, Mr. H likes these so much even he helps make them. I heat the wet ingredients and he measures and stirs out the dry. We're a good team when it comes to making waffles.
This is a triple batch of waffles.
One of the things that I like about these waffles, other than the taste, is that most of the prep work is done the night before you make them. Overnight, the yeast mingles with all the other ingredients and does it's thing, making the batter light and airy. In the morning all you have to do is whip up the egg whites and fold it into the batter and breakfast is done in no time. These really are the best waffles I've ever made or eaten. If you try them, I hope you love them as much as we do!
Belgian Waffles from Williams-Sonoma's Breakfast
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- 1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
- 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup sparkling mineral water
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and still warm
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 large egg whites
- pinch of cream of tartar
The next morning: Preheat a Belgian waffle iron. Whisk the egg yolk into the batter. In a large clean bowl, using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the egg whites and the cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Thoroughly stir about one-third of the beaten whites into the batter, then fold in the remaining whites, without overmixing.
When the waffle iron is hot, ladle 3/4-1 cup of batter into each waffle section and spread with a wooden spoon so the grids are evenly covered. Close the iron and cook according to the manufacturer's instructions until the waffle exterior is golden brown and the inside is light and springy, 4-5 minutes. (The first waffle may not be perfect. Adjust the amount of batter and cooking time if necessary.)
Keep waffles warm in a low oven. Serve with whipped cream, fresh fruit or maple syrup.
Makes about 2 large waffles.
Happy, happy waffles!