Gaufres de Lieges (Belgian waffles from Lieges)

By • August 10, 2011 18 Comments

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Author Notes: The success of Belgian cuisine in America never fails to surprise me. Don't get me wrong: I lived 12 years in Belgium, and my wife is Belgian, so I KNOW Belgian food is amazing. But the reason why a cuisine which is (wrongfully) ignored in the rest of Europe is so successful in America escapes me.

Now, In every restaurant in the States you will find "Belgian waffles" offered for breakfast. These are good, but they are what in Belgium are known as "Brussels waffles", i.e. the soft kind that you actually DO NOT eat for breakfast, and that you can find aplenty sold at the shops and cafes around the Grand Place in Brussels.

But there is another kind of waffles, which is actually more ubiquitous in Belgium, and yet seems to be unknown here in the US (although in New York there is a food truck selling just that), which is called "Gaufres de Liege", waffles from Liege. These are much thicker in texture, much tastier if you ask me, and have a sublime crunchiness due to the use of pearl sugar. Pearl sugar is actually what makes these little beasts amazing, although there is a trick in case you don't find it. (Read on).

These "waffles from Lieges" are often found at State fair, sold by yellow trucks.

This recipe is a treasure belonging to my wife's family (she is Belgian). You will not find it in books, and it is as authentic as it gets. So mark it down and just make it. You will need to prepare two different batters, which sounds like a lot of work, but it actually goes VERY fast.

Serves 10 waffles

Batter 1

  • 2 1/2 packages of active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (60ml)
  • 1 cup all purpose flour (120g)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 large egg beaten
  • 1/3 cup warm milk (not boiling)

Batter 2

  • 9 tablespoons unsalted butter (130gr), at room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons of all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 ounce of vanilla sugar (you can make your own by adding vanilla pods to normal sugar...) - optional
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup pearl sugar (100-120gr) (*read the last paragraph of the instructions if you can't find it)
  1. Batter 1: dissolve the yeast in the warm water in a bowl, adding 1 tablespoon of flour and the sugar (NOT the pearl sugar, the regular one). Let it rest for a few minutes, until it foams.
  2. Sift the remaining flour into a large bowl. Make a volcano crater in the center and add the yeast foamy mixture, the eggs and the milk. Mix everything together until you have a smooth batter. Cover it and let it rest until the batter has doubled or tripled in volume. This may take some time, depending on the temperature in your kitchen. Or you can take the shortcut (which is what we do, and the results are amazing): you heat an oven up to 150F -200F (70-100 C), turn it off, and then put the bowl in it, with the door closed. The batter will rise in 15 minutes...
  3. Batter 2: mix the butter, the flour, the salt, the vanilla, the baking powder, the vanilla sugar, the cinnamon, the normal sugar, the pearl sugar until all the elements are well incorporated.
  4. Incorporate Batter 2 into Batter 1 with your hands, until they form a well mixed single batter. Shape the dough into 10 balls and flatten them so that they have the same size of a slider burger. Dust the patties with flour.
  5. Bake the balls in a waffle iron for 3-4 minutes, until they are golden brown (see photos). We have a 11$ waffle iron we bought at Target, and it works perfectly.
  6. Put the waffles to cool on a rack and serve them either lukewarm or at room temperature. They will keep for a few days in a tipper ware, if - for some mysterious reasons - you will not devour them.
  7. (*) Pearl sugar is used in many Belgian pastries. Its main feature is to remain crunchy after baking. You can find it on Amazon. If you don't find it, or want to make this recipe today, you can "make" your own pearl sugar by taking sugar cubes and crashing them in pieces of approximately the size of a pistachio. It won't be the same thing, but it won't be too far off. The important thing is not too crush the pieces too small.

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Comments (18) Questions (1)


8 months ago Anne

Can this recipe be doubled successfully? I have a big family!


12 months ago Veronique Delaunois

Being a Belgian, those are my favorite waffles and when I go to Belgium, I always bring back pearl sugar as it is truly a key ingredient for these waffles. To me they taste best warm and bring a lot of memories from home.


about 2 years ago Julianne Owen

I made this recipe as well as the recipe I found at http://www.madewithpink... for dessert for a small dinner party tonight. Both were well loved, but the consensus was that the other recipe was fluffier and better as a dessert. To make this recipe I had to add a generous additional amount of flour to reach the consistency described in the recipe, as I've noticed several others who've commented have as well. While still totally delicious (not to mention the heavenly aroma of yeast+vanilla+cinnamon) they came out a bit denser than I prefer. Still, a good recipe especially if you're looking for a bit heavier waffle.


about 2 years ago tuscanfoodie

Hi there, thanks for trying the recipe. you are surely right that these waffles are not fluffy. They are not supposed to be, and they are not supposed to be eaten like a dessert. They are street food and breakfast material, and they must be dense.

As for the flour issue, I think it depends on the gluten content of your flour and on the fact that I gave you the recipe in cup/table spoons, that are never precise.


over 2 years ago skm818

I'm obsessed with these. Also lived in Belgium. Out of pearl sugar now...but I made before and froze. Still have some in freezer; nothing like Brussels waffles. Love them! I used this recipe & they looked like yours http://liegewaffle.wordpress.... Wish I had a waffle iron with heat controls!


about 2 years ago tuscanfoodie

Glad to hear!


over 2 years ago clementinebakes

These were very good; my husband loved them. They weren't quite the same as the waffles I remember eating from the street vendors in Belgium, but maybe I had a Brussels waffle instead of a Liege waffle. I do remember the ones I ate had a crispy, caramelized sugar coating. Anyway, the batter/dough did not turn out as thick as you stated. I would have had to add 1 1/2 C more flour to be able to actually patty the waffle batter. Instead, I added about 1/2 - 3/4 C more flour and just dropped the thick batter on the waffle iron. Additionally, in step three, what is that mixture supposed to look like? Thanks for the recipe.


about 2 years ago tuscanfoodie

Hi there - I am glad you liked them. The problem with the flour may be due to the different level of gluten in various flours (they vary a lot) and to the fact that I gave you the recipe in cups/tbsp: they are never precise. A cup of flour for me may be 170gr, for you, if it is less packed, it may be 130gr.


over 3 years ago Measure mince

I made this recipe for breakfast this morning. The family loved it. Thank you for sharing your recipe.


over 3 years ago tuscanfoodie

Happy to hear this!


over 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

I finally made these today! I used 1 packet of active dry yeast, which worked perfectly. I needed to add a bit more flour to the final mixed batter to work with it. I used a 1/4 cup measure to portion the batter, and got 9 waffles. They are just like the Liege-style waffles they serve at the "Waffle Window" in Portland. Thanks for sharing this recipe!


over 3 years ago tuscanfoodie

Glad they came out well!


over 3 years ago Measure mince

How much normal sugar is added to batter 2? The instructions to batter 2 indicates to add normal sugar, but the normal sugar is not listed in the recipe. I am anxious to make this. My pearl sugar arrived in the mail today. Thanks for sharing your recipe and I am looking forward to our response.


over 3 years ago tuscanfoodie

No normal sugar in batter 2: my mistake in mentioning in the instructions, forget about it, and my apologies.

Let me know how they turn out for you! We just made them two days ago and we finished them in 2 hours...


about 4 years ago Sagegreen

I had these in Liege, but was not aware of all the nuances. Thanks for the recipe!


about 4 years ago tuscanfoodie

Let me know how they come out if you try them!


about 4 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Sounds amazing and a technique I have never heard of. The waffles look fabulous!


about 4 years ago tuscanfoodie

I promise: they taste better than they look!