Belgian Waffles or Gaufres de Liège

Goffres de Liege

I remember first trying those in a university cafeteria in Geneva and their flavor and texture has stayed with me ever since. Years later, after a number of attempts, I managed to recreate a taste similar enough to the ‘gaufres’ of my memories. For dietary reasons this recipe calls for just 1 Tbs of butter which is enough to give the buttery flavor and the rest of the fat is canola or corn oil which are much better for  the arteries. I like to prepare the dough on Friday evening, refrigerate it over night and make the waffles for breakfast the next day. They can be served with honey, maple syrup or jam, but I think they taste best with nothing but a dash of confectioners’ sugar and a cup of freshly brewed coffee.

3 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup of warm milk
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
5 Tbs canola or corn oil
2 tsp of vanilla extract
1Tbs butter at room temperature
1/4 cup + 8 tsp sugar, divided
3/4 tsp salt
1 large egg

Heat the milk in a microwave for 30-40 seconds or until warm but not hot. Stir in the yeast, place back in the microwave and let stand for 5 minutes until bubbly.
In a large bowl combine the oil, butter, 1/4 cup sugar, salt, egg and vanilla, add the milk mixture and stir to combine. Add the flour and knead for about 5 minutes or until the dough is smooth. If too sticky add 1 Tbs of flour.
Cover the dough with a kitchen towel, place it in a microwave or oven, away from draft, and let rise for 90 minutes. At this point, you can either refrigerate over night or make the waffles right away. If you choose to refrigerate the dough, allow it to come to room temperature for 20 minutes before cooking it.
Divide the dough in 8 equal peaces and roll each into a ball. With your thumb make a hole in the center of each ball and put in 1 tsp of sugar. Close the hole and roll it into a ball again.
Preheat your waffle maker. Brushing it with butter is not necessary as the dough contains enough oil. Place the balls of dough in and cook until they become golden but are still soft. Whatever you do, do not overcook them or your waffles will be ruined.

Serve them simply dusted with confectioners’ sugar or a drizzle of dulce de leche.

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