These Copycat Waffle Love Liège Waffles are made from a rich, yeast-based brioche dough with Belgian pearl sugar kneaded into it to create a crunchy, caramelized sweetness around the individual pockets and ridges of each waffle. Top them with Biscoff cookie butter, a big scoop of freshly whipped cream, raspberries and sliced strawberries for an incredible dessert or a super decadent breakfast!
I’m guessing many readers of this blog may have already heard of or even tried a Liège waffle at one of any number of food trucks in foodie meccas like NYC, LA or Provo (hmm, maybe Provo is only a foodie mecca for BYU alums but I’m going with it). If you have tried one, then I’m guessing I don’t need to sell you on how incredibly delicious and amazing these yeasty, sugary waffles are and you are welcome to jump straight to the bottom of this post where you can get the recipe. But if this is the first you are hearing of liege waffles, stick with me!
I fell in love with Liège waffles a few years ago when I was visiting Utah and stopped by the Waffle Love food truck to see what all the hype was about. Because I was hearing about them all over Facebook and Instagram. As near as I can tell, the Liège waffle craze in the U.S. started around 2007 in New York with a waffle truck called Wafels & Dinges which still serves up both Brussels and Liège waffles in the NY area. Then Waffle de Liège truck started up in 2010 and Waffle Love followed in Provo in 2013. Now there seem to be waffle places in most major cities and at least in San Francisco there are a number of brick & mortar stores where you can get your Liège waffle fix.
A Liège waffle (also known as gaufre de liège) is a chewy, dense waffle totally unlike American waffles. Where American waffles (and even the so-called Belgian waffles that you can get anywhere in the U.S.) that are made with a batter that is poured into a waffle maker, Liège waffles are made from a rich, yeast-based brioche dough that raises for an extended period of time to develop a unique flavor, then has Belgian pearl sugar kneaded into it before cooking each waffle in a Belgian waffle iron. The Belgian pearl sugar is absolutely essential to true Liège waffles – they create little pockets of crunchy sweetness and some of them melt to create a caramelized coating around the individual pockets and ridges of the waffle. It’s easier to get your hands on that you might think, too. You can always order it on Amazon (affiliate link, if you purchase through this link I would earn a small commission at no extra cost to you) but I can pick it up at Sur La Table, so if you have one of those close by you might check there.
The Liège waffles are delicious all by themselves, maybe sprinkled with a little powdered sugar, but I’m obsessed with the “Red Wonder” version from Waffle Love where you spread some Biscoff cookie butter over the hot waffle, top it with a big scoop of fresh whipped cream and load on the raspberries and sliced strawberries. Paul liked the churro version which is just sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. These copycat Waffle Love Liège waffles can be topped any way you want!
I have tried making copycat Waffle Love Liège waffles over the past few years but they haven’t turned out just the same as the ones from Waffle Love. The recipe I used was based off the back of the Belgian pearl sugar box and while they were okay, they just weren’t quite what I knew they could be. So after our most recent trip to Utah and a date night at Waffle Love with my BAE while my sister watched our girls for us, I decided I had to try again!
And guys, these Copycat Waffle Love Liège waffles are just like the ones you can get at Waffle Love (or Wafels & Dinges in NY or Waffle de Liege in LA or Bruges in Provo). I’ve got to give credit to Chef In Training for her Liège waffle post because my research for a better recipe led me to her post which had such a perfect copycat recipe that I can’t think of anything that needs to be adapted or changed other than a few clarifications in the instructions.
The dough gets mixed in a stand mixer and then kneaded until it is a nice, smooth ball. After raising for 3 hours on the counter, you punch it down and then stick the dough in the refrigerator to slowly rise at a cold temperature for another 6-8 hours (or longer, if you need it). After the slow rise in the fridge, you knead in the Belgian pearl sugar and divide the dough into small clumps. If you are planning on having these for breakfast, start them the night before. If you want them for dessert, make your dough first thing in the morning and you will be good to go.
Copycat Waffle Love Liège waffles take a little preparation, but none of the steps to make these waffles are difficult and they are completely worth it. And really, they are perfect for entertaining because you do the bulk of the work ahead of time. I even get them to the point where I knead in the pearl sugar and divide the dough into individual portions then stick it back in the fridge so that when we are ready for dessert it’s just a matter of cooking the waffles, which doesn’t take long at all. Then everybody gets to top their own however they like!
- 1/2 cup whole milk, lukewarm
- 1/3 cup water, lukewarm
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 3 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 4 cups bread flour
- 1 1/2 cups Belgian Pearl Sugar
- 3 cups heavy whipping cream
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- Cookie butter
- Cinnamon & sugar
Combine the milk, water, sugar and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer and stir together. Let the yeast proof for 5 minutes without stirring.
Add the eggs, honey, vanilla and salt and use the paddle attachment to beat everything together on medium speed until combined.
Add the brown sugar and softened butter and beat again for with the paddle attachment for 1-2 minutes. The butter will not entirely combine with the other ingredients but don't worry just yet.
Add in 1 cup of the flour and beat for 2 minutes with the paddle attachment until a smooth batter forms and the butter and flour have combined with the other ingredients. Add another 1 cup of flour and beat until it is incorporated, then switch to the dough hook and add the remaining 2 cups of flour. Knead the waffle dough until it comes together in a smooth ball on the dough hook and is no longer sticking to the sides of the bowl.
Lift the dough from the bowl of the stand mixer and lightly grease the bowl, then return the dough to the bowl. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let it sit on the counter at room temperature for about 3 hours to rise, until doubled in size.
Punch down the dough (literally, just make a fist and stick it way down into the center of the dough), then cover it with plastic wrap again and stick it in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours but anywhere up to 14-16 is fine.
Heat your waffle iron on it's lowest setting. While the iron is heating, knead the Belgian pearl sugar into the cold waffle dough. This will take some effort as the dough will be quite stiff but don't worry if it all the sugar doesn't seem to want to go into the dough. Just leave it in the bottom of the bowl and after dividing the dough into 10-12 individual portions, you can roll each portion in the remaining sugar to use it all up.
Shape each portion of dough into a disc and set it on the hot waffle iron. Press the iron down and cook the waffle until golden brown. On my waffle iron, I can cook four waffle at a time and it takes about 4 minutes but you might need to adjust based on your particular waffle iron and heat setting. I do not recommend cooking these on the higher temperature settings of your waffle iron.
Remove waffles from the waffle iron and top with Biscoff spread, whipped cream and fruit (or whatever toppings you want) or keep warm in a 200 degree oven until ready to serve.
In the clean bowl of your stand mixer, beat the heavy whipping cream on high speed with the whisk attachment, gradually adding the sugar and vanilla, until whipped cream forms. You want it more on the stiff side so it should be able to easily hold it's shape and support the weight of berries once it is scooped onto each waffle.
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