BELGIAN WAFFLES

Tomorrow is a special Sunday in our house. Why? Because I have decided to make Belgian Waffles! It never ceases to amaze me how many people do not know what real Belgian Waffles are. For years, I had no need to make my own. There was a brand you could buy in the frozen food case at the market. Now while they were the required thickness, and almost light enough, they came in handy 4X4 square size that fit into a sleeve that you popped in the microwave for a few seconds. So they satisfied me and they were easy to boot. But one day they disappeared from the shelves, never to return. So I was on a quest. My stepson invited us to come over one Sunday morning – he had just gotten a new “Belgian” waffle maker and we were going to do brunch. I was quite excited. I had not wanted to get one myself and go through all that hassle. But it is not like I ate them every Sunday. And I knew we could count on a brunch from him once a month or so. Alas, they were large and round, but not thick. Strawberries and whipped cream on top do not a Belgian Waffle make. So finally, I was forced to get my own Belgian Waffle maker (The Belgian Waffler from VillaWare is the cheapest I found). You will find they sell mixes and there are a hundred of recipes out there, but after much experimentation, I think you will find this recipe to be excellent: 

  • 1 pkg. active dry yeast
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 ¼ c. lukewarm milk (110 to 115 degrees)
  • 1 ¼ c. sparkling mineral water at room temperature
  • 3 c. all-purpose flour (SIFTED SIFTED SIFTED!)
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 7 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 egg whites
  • Confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 c. heavy cream, chilled and whipped
  • 1 pt. fresh strawberries, washed and hulled

In a small bowl sprinkle the yeast and a pinch of sugar over 1/2 cup of the lukewarm milk. Let the mixture stand for 2 or 3 minutes, then stir to blend the yeast and milk thoroughly. Set the bowl in a warm place for about 5 minutes, or until the yeast bubbles up and the mixture almost doubles in volume.

Sift the flour, the remaining sugar and the salt into a deep mixing bowl. Pour in the yeast mixture and the remaining lukewarm milk and the sparkling mineral water, and with a large spoon stir until the batter is smooth. Then thoroughly stir in the egg yolks, vanilla, and butter. Cover the bowl loosely with a kitchen towel and set aside to rest in the warm place for 30 minutes.

Following the manufacturers’ directions, preheat a waffle iron to moderate. With a wire whisk or a rotary or electric beater, beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Stir the batter with a rubber spatula, add the egg whites and fold them into the batter gently but thoroughly. Pour some of the batter into the center of the hot waffle iron Don’t fill it – no more than say ¾ of the iron. Reduce the heat to moderately low, close the iron, and bake for 5 minutes, or until the steaming stops and the waffle is a golden brown on both sides. (You can peek at the waffle to check its color after 3 minutes or so, but do not open the cover earlier or the waffle may stick to the grid.)

Serve at once, sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar and accompanied by separate bowls of whipped cream and strawberries.

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