Europe Recipes

B for Belgium (Belgian waffles)

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Belgian waffles are known and famous all over the world. Unlike our classic heart-shaped waffles, they are thicker and juicier. Due to their deeper indentations, they are perfect for holding syrup, cream, fruits, and other toppings.

However, before you learn more about Belgian waffles, here is some general information about Belgian cuisine and breakfast in Belgium

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Belgian Cuisine

Belgian cuisine combines influences from neighboring countries France, Germany, and the Netherlands. In Flanders, the influences from French cuisine are strong, while in Wallonia, German and French cuisine play a more significant role.

Overall, Belgian cuisine is hearty and down-to-earth. A very well-known dish is Stoemp. This is mashed potatoes mixed with vegetables such as carrots, leeks, Brussels sprouts, chicory, onions, etc. It is served with pork, sausage, black pudding, bacon, or even a fried egg. There are many creative variations of the recipe. Anything the pantry has to offer is allowed!

Carbonnade Flamande is a type of beef stew in a very flavorful beer and gingerbread sauce with brown sugar. The name is derived from "charbon" (French for "coal"), on which the meat was traditionally cooked. Traditional side dishes are French fries and salad.

Carbonnade Flamande

A propos Pommes Frites: They are also a classic of Belgian cuisine and are known worldwide. Belgian fries are fried twice to achieve perfect crispiness. By the way, in Belgium, fries are often enjoyed with mussels (Moules-frites).

The best fries in Brussels can be found at Maison Antoine:

Maison Antoine

Also Beer has a long tradition in Belgium. The country produces numerous different varieties. Particularly well-known are Trappist beers, Lambic, Gueuze, and Dubbel.

Beer selection in Belgium

Sweet tooths also have a lot to enjoy in Belgium. The country is famous for its high-quality chocolate and pralines. Brands like Neuhaus, Godiva, and Leonidas are internationally renowned.

Store window at Godiva in Brussels

Breakfast in Belgium

For breakfast, typically fresh baguette with butter and jam or honey is served in Belgium. Typically Belgian, also known internationally, is the Lotus Biscoff spread. This is a delicious sweet cream made from speculoos cookies.

Those who prefer a savory breakfast in the morning opt for cold cuts, cheese, or eggs (boiled, fried, scrambled).

Instead of baguette, another popular option for breakfast is Pain d’épicesIts taste is reminiscent of the Dutch Ontbijtkoek. You can also find a recipe for Ontbijtkoek on my blog, specifically here.

Also typically Belgian is Cramique, a type of brioche bun with raisins.

Due to its proximity to France, for breakfast in Belgium, you'll also find Croissants and Pain au Chocolat.

But fresh fruit and cereal with milk or yogurt are also indispensable parts of the Belgian breakfast table.

My definite breakfast favorite, however, is Belgian waffles! Belgian waffles!

Belgian waffles

Belgian waffles (French gaufres, Dutch wafels) are known worldwide.

They are larger and thicker than the classic German heart-shaped waffles. Characteristic are their deep indentations, which are perfect for holding various toppings.

There are two main types of Belgian waffles - the Brussels waffle and the Liege waffle.

Both types of waffles are equally popular and well-known. They taste best fresh and warm straight from the waffle iron. In that moment they are particularly crispy.

Brussels waffles

The Brussels waffle is rectangular and made from a soft batter. There are recipes with and without yeast. The yeast version takes longer but results in a light and airy waffle.

According to legend, the Brussels waffle was not invented in Brussels but in Ghent. Therefore, they were initially called "Flemish waffles." Over time, the name "Flemish waffles" disappeared, and the waffles were referred to as "sponge-dough waffles." Finally, a baker in Ghent started selling the waffles under the name "Brussels waffles," and this name remained popular.

Liege waffles 

Unlike the Brussels waffle, the Liege waffle is not rectangular but oval in shape. Additionally, its yeast dough is noticeably denser and richer due to the addition of a significant amount of butter. Before baking, pearl sugar or nib sugar is mixed into the dough. This gives the Liege waffle a much sweeter taste compared to its Brussels counterpart. As the pearl sugar caramelizes during baking, the Liege waffels get its characteristic crunchy texture.

According to legend , Liege waffles were invented in the 18th century. A Prince of Liege asked for a pastry with lots of pearl sugar. Thus, his baker mixed lot's of pearl sugar into a dough similar to brioche and baked this mixture in a waffle iron. The Prince was very pleased with the result, and thus the recipe became a specialty of the Liege region.

Liege waffle

I thought for a long time whether I should try a recipe for Brussels or Liege waffles for this post. Finally, based on the recommendation of a very good friend who has been living in Belgium for a long time, I opted for Liege waffles. And I have to say, it was a very good decision!

Toppings

Before I forget: Belgian waffles taste delicious not only plain with powdered sugar but also – according to personal preference – with various toppings (such as fresh strawberries and bananas, whipped cream, chocolate sauce, jam, syrup, nougat cream, ice cream…). There are no limits to your creativity here.

Liège waffle with topping

Well, now have fun baking! And:

Enjoy your meal! Bon appétit! Eet smakelijk!

Belgian waffles (Liège waffles)

Course Dessert, breakfast, cake, street food
Cuisine Belgian
Servings 15 pieces

Ingredients
  

  • 500 g flour
  • 200 ml milk (lukewarm)
  • 20 g fresh yeast
  • 2 eggs
  • 40 g brown sugar
  • 200 g Butter (room temperature) cut into cubes
  • 7 g salt
  • 150 g Pearl Sugar

Instructions
 

  • Pour milk (lukewarm) into a mixing bowl and crumble in the yeast.
  • Add flour, salt and sugar.
  • Mix the dough gently. This goes best with a food processor.
  • Add eggs and mix the dough again.
  • Add butter in small portions and continue stirring until an elastic dough is formed.
  • Use a dough scraper to position the dough in the center of the bowl.
  • Cover the dough and let it rest in a warm place for about 1.5 hours until it has doubled in volume.
  • Carefully work the sugar into the dough with your hands. The dough should only be kneaded briefly and lightly.
  • Be aware: The dough is pretty sticky. That's perfectly allright.
  • Divide the dough into approx. 15 portions with your hands and let it rest on baking paper for approx. 20 minutes.
  • Bake the dough portions one after the other in the preheated waffle iron for a few minutes until the waffles are golden brown and crispy.
  • Garnish with toppings as desired (e.g. powdered sugar, cream, chocolate sauce, chopped fruit, etc.)

Notes

Of course, the waffles taste best fresh and warm – straight from the waffle iron.
However, you can also freeze thew waffles and defrost them in portions in the oven or microwave.
The waffles taste great plain or with a topping of your choice (e.g. powdered sugar, cream, chocolate sauce, maple syrup, chopped bananas, fresh strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, kiwi, etc.). There are no limits to your creativity.
 

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