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Brusselse Sugar Wafel
Serves 6 (12 waffles)
Alternative Ingredients are listed in Red
|¾||cup||Seltzer Water* (room temp, ~70ºF)|
|¾||cup||Whole Milk (120ºF)|
|1||pk||Fleischmann's Active Dry Yeast|
|1||tsp||Vanilla Bean Paste|
|Pure Vanilla Extract (double strength)|
|1 part Cake Flour / 2 parts AP Flour|
|8||oz||Unsalted Butter (melted)|
|4||oz||Larr's Own Pearl Sugar **|
|1½||oz||Mandarine Napoléon Liqueur***|
In a bowl sift together the flour, sugar and salt and set aside.
In another bowl combine the sparkling water and heated milk first. The resulting mix should end up at about 105º. Ideal for the yeast. Then add the yeast, vanilla, egg yolks and butter and mix thoroughly. Set aside.
Whip the egg whites in a separate bowl into soft peaks. Set aside.
Now add the bowl of dry ingredients (flour, salt, etc.) to the bowl of wet ingredients (water, milk, etc.) and mix just until combined. Do not overwork. A few small lumps are just fine. Now add the orange cognac and pearl sugar to the mix, and finally fold the egg whites lightly into the batter.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap let rise until doubled, half hour to an hour (depending on your water, room temp and altitude). Or for a more complex, developed flavor, let rest in the fridge overnight (better for morning waffles, unless you want to get up at 4am).
Cook in a 4x6 (pips, not inches) Belgian Waffle Iron at 375º-400º. Set on a bare oven rack covered with a towel or linen, at ~200º, to keep batches warm as you cook them.
Traditionally served plain, at room temperature. However, true-blue Americans might dust them with confectioner's sugar, pile on cold fruit and/or slather them in maple syrup. You can also freeze them for after school snacks.
Caution: Melted sugar is VERY hot. Use tongs or a fork to remove them from the iron. They will be cool enough just seconds later.
True Belgian waffles are thicker than American waffles in order to have larger, deeper depressions and a very crisp surface with a moist, sweet, chewy interior. Because of the ingredients and the way they are cooked, they end up being half way between a cookie and a cake in a waffle shape. In order to accomplish this, you not only need the right ingredients but the right waffle iron as well . . . a deep-pocket "Belgian" waffle iron.
A Belgian waffle irons CLAMP shut, not just lay shut. Because they are leavened (yeast) they rise, and therefore expand and will push a clam-shell waffle irons apart and spit and spew batter all over the counter.
* Sparkling Water is not the same thing. It's not as carbonated as seltzer and soda waters.
** "Pearl Sugar" is a tricky subject. Pearl Sugar comes in three sizes 3.2mm (#10 or C25), 6mm (#6 or C35) and 9.5mm (#2 or C45). Also known as Nib, Pearl and Hail sugar respectively. They can also be labeled as Swedish, Belgian and French respectively. Pearl (6mm or C35) is about half the size of rock salt and is used for waffles. The sugar is made by an extrusion process that causes the sugar to resist dissolving in the presence of moisture and still melt (at about 365º). Therefore, there is no substitution. Clear sugar (rock candy) could be painful to the unwitting diner, and any lessor sugar will dissolve, as if you simply dumped 8oz of sugar into the recipe. NOT good eats. P.S. Sugar Pearls for decorating cakes is NOT the same thing!
*** First, it's optional. Second, it sounds more expensive than it is. This is about $20 a liter, whereas something you're more likely to have on hand might be Grand Mariner, which is like three times as much at $65-70 a bottle. Each of these and many more can be found at you local mega-mart liquor store. Mandarine Napoleon is a blend of straight Sicilian mandarin orange liqueur and Cognac. The Cognac used is a 10-year-old edition, which is quite aged and used sparingly in the blend due to its relative cost. (do it, it's worth it)