Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Waffles Quest, Part I

I was commissioned by my brother, a food snob, to make batter for the waffles he's been dreaming about ever since he visited Waffle Haus on his ski trip to VT. Apparently, Waffle Haus is an authentic Belgian waffle joint created by Ingrid Heyrman and Peter Creyf, who came to the States from Belgium. I was told that their waffles are special in that they are Belgian sugar waffles called Gaufres de Liege, not those that are topped with fruit/whipped cream/syrup that you find here. How is a home cook to replicate what is supposedly the epitome of all waffles, made from pearl sugar and yeast?

Surprisingly, I was crazy enough to entertain my brother's quest for the intric
ate Gaufres de Liege. We started off with testing the plain ol'waffles topped with fruit/whipped cream/syrup combo before advancing to the Gaufres de Liege. I was going to use Martha Stewart's buttermilk waffles recipe before I realized that one batch called for more than a stick of butter and separating the egg whites from yolks. I wanted to be health conscious and also wanted the easy way out for making my first waffle batter, so I went to Alton Brown's recipe since I had watched his episode on making waffles.

I made a very good decision. Not only were the waffles tasty and rich, but their textures were also perfect - the wheat flour in the recipe gave the waffles character and the baking powder gave them the right amount of fluffiness. I made only one change to the recipe - I added vanilla extract for more flavor.

In terms of equipment, we used the Waring Pro WMK300 to make our waffles. It is a top-rated waffle iron from Consumer Research that does fancy flips as opposed to other models where you just open and close the cover. My brother loved making waffles like a professional - the experience probably made the waffles taste better in his head. We like our waffles with a crispy exterior and moist & fluffy interior, so we used the highest cooking setting (#6) and cooked them 10-15 seconds more than indicated from the waffle iron.

Next up, I'll be attempting the ultimate
Gaufres de Liege.

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