About the Waffles:
Gaufres de Liège (Belgian Sugar Waffles)
Liège sugar waffles are rumored to have been invented during the 18th century by the chef to the Prince of Liège, a city with a rich history in the eastern part of Belgium. This type of waffle has been hugely popular in the streets of Brussels ever since the 1960’s. Unlike the more commonly known Belgian waffle (which is batter based), the Liège waffle is made from a yeasted dough, similar to brioche dough, that is primarily sweetened by the addition of pearl sugar which is mixed in the dough. When the waffle is cooked on a specialized waffle iron, the small, pea-sized sugar pearls melt inside the dough and caramelize on the outside. This produces a highly aromatic product with a soft, moist crumb and a slightly crisp outside that is partially covered with a thin coat of caramelized sugar.
Marc developed his recipe for Liège waffles over a 10-year period from his memories of the texture, taste and smell that he experienced as a kid while growing up in Brussels, Belgium. Early versions of the waffles were made for family and friends and then in 2013, Marc and his daughters started making waffles at Hobbs, a local coffee shop in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. With most of the clientele made up of college students who would park their laptops for hours and be willing to eat anything, Hobbs was the perfect test bed for fine tuning the recipe which went through many iterations including a sour-dough version. With expert critical feedback from his wife and daughters, the recipe finally morphed into its current form. While we would love to claim the recipe originated from a distant Belgian relative related to the Prince of Liège, our recipe certainly has its own unique family history.
Our dough is made over a 36-hour period using several fermentation steps to give our product its distinct flavor and texture. The dough is rolled out each morning before the market to sprinkle a few more pieces of pearl sugar and allow the dough to rise one last time (its third proof). Cook time is typically 3 minutes. Waffles need to cool on a rack for 1-2 minutes before they can be eaten. Sugar waffles taste best right out of waffle iron, as in the streets of Brussels, but they also are delicious warmed up in a toaster.
Ingredients (by weight):
King Arthur Special Patent Flour, Pearl Sugar imported from Belgium, Water, Eggs, Butter, Vanilla, Honey, Baker’s Special Dried Milk, Yeast, Salt and Malt Powder.
Making Liège Waffles
Waffles being cooked on a waffle iron at Hobbs coffee shop.