Belgian Waffles

BELGIAN WAFFLES ARE VERY POPULAR IN BELGIUM ALTHOUGH THEY ARE CALLED BRUSSELS WAFFLES IN THEIR COUNTRY OF ORIGIN.

The "Belgian" part of the name was created in New York when the husband of the inventor realised that some New Yorkers had trouble locating Brussels.

 This tasty invention is known to French-speakers as the gaufre or gauffre, and to Flemish- / Vlaamse speakers as the wafel, waffel or suikerwaffel.


Belgian waffles are very popular in Belgium although they are called Brussels waffles in their country of origin. it is known to French-speakers as the gaufre or gauffre, and to Flemish- / Vlaamse speakers as the wafel, waffel or suikerwaffel.

 The "Belgian" part was created in New York when the husband of the inventor realised that some New Yorkers had trouble locating Brussels. 

Maurice Vermersch from Brussels, along with his wife, concocted a recipe just before World War II that used yeast as a rising agent in their waffle batter. The result was a thicker, crisper waffle with a tangy sweetness brought out by the fermentation in the yeast. The Vermersches cooked the batter in cast iron clampdown pans that had been seasoned with lard. After much success Mr. Vermersch brought his invention to the celebrated 1964 World's Fair in Queens, New York. He named the waffle the Belgian Waffle a few days into his World's Fair stay.

The 3 Types of BElgian Waffles

The waffle that most North Americans would think of as a Belgian waffle is known in Belgium as gaufre de Bruxelles, "the Brussels waffle".

Brussels Waffle

The Brussels waffle is based on a batter raised with yeast -- as opposed to most North American waffle or pancake batters, which are raised with baking powder. The yeast raising changes the chemistry of the batter, producing a tenderer crumb in the finished waffle than a baking-powder raising can. The yeast and the beaten egg whites which are folded into the batter work together to produce a light crisp waffle.

Baking powder & baking soda are faster, more reliable, and achieve (somewhat) similar results. What the American version lacked in height it made up for in convenience.

It is rectangular and usually about an inch thick, with fairly deep "dimples". When you buy it on the street or in a shop in Belgium, it usually comes dusted with a little confectioners' sugar / icing sugar, and maybe spread with chocolate or thick whipped cream. But you can also get it piled high with fruit and other goodies.



The Liège waffle

The Liège waffle is also known as the Luikse wafel in Vlaamse and as Lütticher waffeln in German.) It's more or less oval - shaped, a thinner and smaller waffle than the Brussels waffle. 

But it's also more substantial, and has a significant crunch due to the small nuggets of parelsuiker or "pearl sugar" that are added to the batter just before baking. 

These bits of sugar melt when being baked on the waffle iron and caramelize, producing a sugary crust like what's found on top of a creme brulée.

Variations

It depends on where you are in Flanders but there are regional variations which all have their own texture and taste. Worth trying warm with a sprinkle of sugar or for a touch more indulgence, try them with a dollop of cream, hot chocolate or jam sauce. 

Waffle Toppings Ideas

  • butter
  • powdered sugar
  • whipped cream
  • fresh strawberries
  • fresh pears, peeled, diced, and covered with chocolate sauce
  • Whipped cream and fruit cocktail
  • Chocolate souce
  • Fresh fruit
  • almonds

So how do you eat Belgian waffles ? According to your taste, of course :)

 In Belgium waffles are not eaten very often as a breakfast dish. But if you ask for them naturally you will get them. Belgians eat waffles as a casual snack food -- something you buy from a bakery or street stand. 

Very often you can get a mini-waffle served with your coffee.

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