· comments  · 04-13-2015 · categories:food · links ·
The title of this post is mostly a lie. You see I love Liege style waffles so much that I basically dedicated an entire weekend to eating them in Belgium, but I had to figure out a way to make my own at home that ultimately involved as little work as possible on a weekend morning.
Spoiler: we froze them.
The shiny bits are sugar that has melted and covered the outside. It’s a crunchy, candy coated waffle. It’s excellent.
I tested a few ways to get the waffle from the freezer to my mouth quickly while still keeping as many of the desirable features intact. Those features are: delightfully crackly sugar coated exterior, steamy yeasted layers inside, and overwhelming sense of all being right with the universe.
Between the carefully nurtured yeast and the pockets of melted sugar the inside of the waffle has some delightful layers.
The recipe from a site conveniently located at liegewaffle.wordpress.com is outstanding, it’s perfection for the home waffle maker really, and got thumbs up from friends who also have fond location-specific waffle memories. The recipe takes a number of hours spread over two days and while it’s definitely A Project it’s a project I’ll happily take on. Trouble is that it calls for a last 90-minute rise before putting the dough on the waffle iron which isn’t how I want to find myself eating the waffles, which ideally is about ten minutes after I’ve woken up on a Saturday morning.
Here is what we tested, including a few deliveries to willing friends who reported back with great information:
Freeze the dough directly after the last rise and later waffle it right out of the freezer. Downside: still a little bit of work to do upon waking up, waffle iron to wash. Upside: makes the kitchen smell amazing. Result: while the exterior of our waffles were very satisfying the interiors showed signs of not quite being cooked all the way through, the dough was a little mushier than it should have been. Not unpleasantly so, mind you, just not the best.
Fully cook the waffle and freeze it. Downside: it’s just not as magical to simply defrost something. Upside: no waffle iron to wash later that day and makes frozen waffles giftable. Result: this is my pick for the way to go. The waffles were a bit chewier than just-cooked and never-frozen Liege waffles but an acceptable alternative which retained all the crunchy candy shell, yeasty goodness and feelings of universal ok-ness that were required. Heat in the oven at 275 degrees for 6 to 8 minutes (more on this below). I was honestly surprised that this worked out better than cooking frozen dough in the morning, pleased though because you can take a batch of ready-to-go frozen waffles to a friend with the reheating instructions.
Do some parbaking, or parwaffling if you will, and cook the waffles just to the golden stage, then freeze. In the morning take the formed waffles and put them back on the waffle iron and finish cooking them. Downside: you’ll end up washing the waffle iron twice. Upside: as it turns out, nothing. The texture of the waffle was the worst of the three trials. Result: it was a fun experiment but skip it.
I don’t want to take away from my aforementioned opinion of perfection for the Liege Waffle recipe that I used but considering my impatience-based needs I did make a few changes. Since all of the early tests produced overly chewy and too dense waffles I switched from bread flour to all-purpose flour. Since I was intending to freeze them I doubled the recipe and I also adjusted the amount of dough allowed to each waffle (basically from ten waffles to twelve waffles).
A note on pearl sugar: If you only have the energy to fuss over one thing with this recipe I suggest you fuss over getting the right sort of sugar. The Lars’ Own brand Belgian Pearl Sugar shown here can be found in grocery stores or ordered online (you’ll need two boxes, or just over 10 ounces total). (Also note: affiliate links.) If you’re in Seattle I’ve found Lars’ brand Belgian pearl sugar for sale in Metropolitan Markets and Red Apple Markets and it’s sold in bulk at Big John’s PFI. (Thanks for that tip, Gastrognome!)
A note on the time you’ll need to allow: This recipe includes some long stretches of letting the dough rise so I’ve called out the waiting times in the recipe below. The first day of work will need at least 6 and a half hours (most of this is waiting time) before you get the dough tucked into the fridge for an overnight rest so plan accordingly and don’t start this recipe in the evening.
Four hours later.
A note on protein content in the flour I used: I made my first three test batches with the King Arthur Bread Flour called for in the original recipe and found that our freshly made waffles were a bit more dense than the waffles we ate in Belgium, but our frozen waffles were very chewy. Too chewy. I switched to King Arthur All-Purpose Flour and while the frozen waffles were still a bit chewier than are ideal it was far closer to the waffles we remembered. King Arthur flours have a less than .2% protein difference between batches, their bread flour is 12.7% and their all-purpose flour is 11.7%, which is pretty high. Most brands of all-purpose flour fall near 10.5% so if you’re using a different brand you might consider subbing in a small amount of bread flour to boost the gluten amount.
A note on the waffle iron: I bought myself a stovetop waffle iron specifically because I wanted something that would be easy to clean. (Conveniently it also takes up less storage space in my tiny kitchen.) Friends who have made Liege style waffles report back that cleaning up after making them in an electric iron isn’t too much work, any sugar that melts out will harden when it’s cool and your waffle iron won’t be much harder to clean than usual. I bought the NordicWare stovetop waffle iron that is nonstick and made of cast aluminum but I’ve also had my eye on a cast iron stovetop waffle maker sold by Waffleburger (scroll down). I’ll report back if I get my hands on the cast iron one.
A note on the thermometer: Since I am, as you might have noticed, a little bit obsessed with getting these waffles right I found that an infrared thermometer was essential in getting the temperature of the waffle iron to the correct range. I bought a midpriced one (it’s nicely sturdy) at a hardware store and it’s worked great. It’s also really handy when you temperature of things around you house to try to figure out why your bedroom always seems ten degrees colder than the rest of the house.
This is step #3, its pretty dramatic.
Liege Waffles for Freezing
Recipe adapted from the Gaufre de Liège Recette Blog, which is excellent.
Makes 12 waffles.
- 3 tsp. (8 g) active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup (120 g) whole milk at 110-115 degrees F (43-46 C)
- 5 Tbsp. and 1 tsp. (80 g) water at 110-115 degrees F (43-46 C)
- 4 cups (480 g) King Arthur all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature and lightly beaten
- 2 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. (40 g) light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp. (9 g) salt
- 17 Tbsp. (240 g) room temperature butter (just over two sticks)
- 2 Tbsp. (30 g) honey
- 4 tsp. (20 ml) vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cup (300 g) Belgian Pearl Sugar
1. Put heated milk and water in the bowl of a stand mixer, sprinkle yeast over the top and stir to moisten.
2. Add the eggs and about 1/3rd (160 g) of the flour, mix to blend.
3. Sprinkle the remaining flour over the top of the mixture but don’t stir it in. Cover the bowl and let it stand for 75 to 90 minutes at room temperature. You’ll see the yeast mixture bubble up through the flour.
after 90 minutes
4. Add the brown sugar and salt, mix on slow to combine everything in the bowl. (I just go ahead and use the dough hook.)
5. With your mixer on low speed add the honey and the vanilla. Add 2 Tbsp. (60 g) of butter at a time. Mix everything for 4 minutes at medium-low speed, scrape down sides a few times. Let the dough rest for 1 minute and mix again for 2 minutes. Do this again a few times until the dough starts to want to stick mostly to the dough hook.
6. Transfer the dough into a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let this rise at room temperature for 4 hours.
after 4 hours
7. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. This step is for yeast respiration, it will slow it down which you’ll need to do before the next step.
after 30 minutes
8. Using a silicone spatula press down on the dough to deflate it. Scrap this onto a piece of plastic wrap, stretch into a long rectangle and then fold into thirds. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and weight it down with dinner plates. Refrigerate overnight.
after an overnight rest
9. Divide your pearl sugar in 12 equal piles, about 2 Tbsp. (25 g) each. Divide the dough into 12 pieces (about 88 g each). Mix the pearl sugar into each part of dough, I usually flatten the dough, sprinkle sugar on top and fold it over a few times.
10. Shape each waffle into an oval lump, cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for 90 minutes.
after 90 minutes
11. Spray your waffle iron with cooking spray. Heat until it registers at 365-370 degrees F (185 – 187 C). (Hotter than this and it will burn the sugar.) Cook until the waffle is dark golden brown and you can see the sugar melting and coating the outside. If you’re using a stovetop waffle iron I recommend turning it over every 90 seconds or so to keep the temperature on both sides up and allow for as much sugar to coat the exterior as possible. Carefully transfer the waffles to a wire rack to cool — be aware that the hot sugar will drip and can burn your fingers (ask me how I know) so use tongs and a flat spatula or small plate to help you move them. When cool tuck each waffle into some parchment paper and freeze in an airtight container. When you are ready to cook them preheat an oven to 275 degrees F and place the waffle directly onto the wire rack. Heat for 5 to 7 minutes, carefully transfer to a plate, maybe line the plate with that strip of parchment paper.
I recommend the oven over a reheating in a toaster because I don’t want hot sugar to drip into your toaster. A friend reported that even at the lowest heat setting the waffles burned in her toaster oven. So, regular oven it is.
12. If you are freezing the dough to cook later: Transfer the sheet with your dough directly into the freezer and let the dough chill for at least half an hour until set. Wrap each lump of dough in plastic wrap and place together in an airtight container in the freezer. When you are ready to cook follow the directions above for cooking. I remove as many ovals of dough as I want to make and place them onto the hot waffle iron, pressing the iron down slowly to flatten them out as they thaw. If you freeze the dough on parchment you can cut around them and use that parchment when you wrap them up, it will peel off cleanly before putting them in the waffle iron.
· comments  · 03-13-2015 · categories:food · freezerpantry ·
Mandarinquat, Limequat, and Centennialquat | Go Mighty. I have recently become enamored of the mandarinquats being sold at a local market.
Hack Together a DIY Cold Smoker Gun for Less than $20 at Science Fare. I feel like I’ve linked to this before and if so please forgive me.
Melissa Clark’s Braised Beans with Bacon and Wine – The Wednesday Chef. Via Orangette.
A bottle of wine, a pot of ragu « Tea & Cookies. I have had this experience with the annual block party that Tea talks about here. Seattle can be weird and isolating if you let it so bravo to Tea for disrupting the norm.
Biang Biang Noodles – The GastroGnome. I had the pleasure of learning how to make dumplings at the dining room table in this video. These noodles look like a project but a very worthy project. And Naomi? That girl knows her noodles. I’m going to try these very soon.
Lifesaver Noodles – With Cabbage & Carrots » delicious:days. I’ve already made this three times and it’s become a recipe I’ll keep around, and it makes very yummy cold leftovers. If I buy cabbage and an onion I can manage to make it with a bunch of those Dorot frozen herbs I’ve talked about before. Napa cabbage is a good substitute for the pointed cabbage in the recipe if you, like me, cannot find pointed cabbage in your usual grocery store.
Fuchsia Dunlop’s Sichuanese Chopped Celery with Beef – The Wednesday Chef. I chose this as a simple option when my cookbook club did a Fuchisia Dunlop book and it very quickly became a go to weeknight dinner in my house. After I had the fancy vinegar and the Sichuan chili bean paste in my pantry (so so good) and some cooked rice in my freezer it turns out that a very tasty dinner is as easy as picking up fresh ground beef and celery at the market. It’s like magic.
Giant Creamy White Beans with Kale – at Food 52. This recipe is from Heidi Swanson’s first cookbook Supernatural Cooking and it remains my favorite recipe worthy of seeking out and soaking gigante beans. Yum.
· comments  · 02-25-2015 · categories:food · links ·
· comments  · 01-22-2015 · categories:food · links ·
The other day I found myself caught between being hungry and lazy. (You know how to know when you’ve become an adult? When you no longer have foodstuffs that don’t require thirty minutes of cooking and other ingredients to make them edible. That’s how.) We had almost nothing to eat in our house but I just couldn’t get myself to put on pants that were respectable enough to go to the grocery store. And then (!), accompanied by rays of sunlight and angelic music, I found a jar of homemade tomato sauce in the back of my freezer. Suddenly (or with ten-ish minutes of effort) I’d gone from So Hungry to eating delicious tomato sauce on polenta (always stock corn grits for times like this) topped with an egg. I ate this again for lunch since new food hadn’t magically appeared in my fridge. Having this tomato sauce in my freezer made me feel like a genius. Or at least somebody who is occasionally able to feed myself with dignity.
This sauce I refer to is Marcella Hazan’s tomato sauce with onion and butter. Its an amazingly simple and delicious recipe so if you’re already familiar with it then high five, and if you’re not already familiar with it then you’re in for a treat. This is how it goes:
– a 28-ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes, with the juice
– one onion peeled and cut in half
– 5 tablespoons of butter
– a pinch of salt if needed
Simmer uncovered for 45 minutes. Done.
Ok, there is a little more than that. You let the whole thing simmer slowly for about 45 minutes and near the end crush the tomatoes with the back of a spoon. Discard the onion before serving. Done and done.
For a more detailed version of this see Orangette, or Amateur Gourmet, or Smitten Kitchen.
For this recipe I make a double batch. Doubled it fits in a 4-quart dutch oven nicely and I freeze the leftovers in portions for later. I’ve been using small canning jars (note: affiliate links) with the very handy plastic screw caps lately for freezing foods, it’s easy to take of the lid and thaw the whole thing in a microwave. Or at least I find the jars less fuss than I anticipated them to be. I bought a bunch of jars a few years back expecting they’d eventually be cycled out of my house when giving food gifts to friends and I’ve honestly been surprised at how much I enjoy using them for dry food storage and freezer storage. The caps, though, make all the difference. They are easier to remove and clean and keep track of and won’t rust.
This is a little tip I learned somewhere that I cannot recall. (I think Cook’s Illustrated?) If you want to break up whole canned tomatoes with as little mess as possible use kitchen scissors to cut them up while they are still in the can. This recipe doesn’t require you break up the tomatoes first but I do it anyway because I can get a little obsessive over smashing the tomatoes later on and I like to give myself a head start. I’ve read that when deciding whether to buy whole or diced or crushed canned tomatoes it’s better to buy whole because there is less processing time before the tomatoes hit the can so they are fresher. I’m not sure if this is true but it’s good to keep in mind. Maybe a taste test is in order?
While I’m here let me just say that I’m totally in love with my no-sharp-edges can opener. I know there are not exactly breaking news but every time I open a can I find myself being gushingly appreciative of not being able to cut my fingers on anything sharp. (Because I did, every time.) I own the Zyliss and have no complaints. Sweethome recommends the OXO Good Grips version. In conclusion: not having the culinary equivalent of a throwing star weapon in your trash is good.
Ok, go, make the easy sauce and feel like a genius.
This post is part of an occasional series that I consider my Freezer Pantry. Here is the link to the category: Freezer Pantry, and here is a list of all the previous posts:
· comments  · 01-12-2015 · categories:food · freezerpantry ·
· comments  · 12-15-2014 · categories:food · links ·
· comments  · 11-26-2014 · categories:food · links ·
I’m so utterly thrilled to announce this collaboration with Brit+Co to create a DIY kit for my tiny gingerbread houses that sit on the edge of a mug!
The kit includes two cookie cutters that are 3D printed (!!!) and each kit comes with a mug, a pen for decorating or personalizing the mug and recipes for gingerbread and royal icing. May I suggest that the kit would make a wonderful holiday gift? Even if just for yourself?
They’ve created a complete DIY tutorial for baking and assembling the house.
I couldn’t be more pleased, go have a look!
· comments  · 11-17-2014 · categories:christmas · food · holidays ·
· comments  · 11-13-2014 · categories:food · links ·
· comments  · 10-7-2014 · categories:food · links ·
The Best Sweet Use for Your Smoker? Smoked Ice Cream | Serious Eats.
What We Really Taste When We Drink Wine : The New Yorker. “Do we actually want to eliminate expectation and create an experience of tasting that approximates blindness? Galloni doesn’t think so. Having spent a big part of his career as a critic in blind tastings, he now fully embraces context as one of the major parts of his enjoyment of and appreciation for wine.”
ciao samin: All I Want to Eat. Cold dressings for cold foods.
Where to Eat Outdoors in Seattle, 2014 Edition | Serious Eats.
The best beer in baseball – Washington Post. “Seattle sells beers from 20 breweries based in the state of Washington, the highest number of in-state offerings in Major League Baseball.” Via Metafilter.
Cheesy Stuffed Poblanos | How Sweet It Is.
The Complete Guide to Burger Blends | FirstWeFeast.com. Via Kottke.
Muhammara Recipe – 101 Cookbooks. “It’s a traditional red pepper spread originating from Syria made with a beguiling blend of red peppers, walnuts, olive oil, pomegranate molasses”. Yum.
How to Make Pocky at Home at Food 52. Via Craftzine.
· comments  · 08-28-2014 · categories:food · links ·
Padrón peppers are delicious and they are also like a little game of surprise – most of these are mild but ever fifth one is hot. This can be especially amusing if somebody at your dinner is likely to break out into hiccups when they bite into a spicy pepper. (Ahem, Scott!)
Traditionally these are fried in a skillet but we find them just as delicious when tossed with a little olive oil and grilled. Add some good salt to finish and that’s all you need. They practically melt in your mouth, yum. If you have not encountered these yet, I somehow got to adulthood without being introduced, I recommend you seek some out soon.
A shout out to Maggi who introduced me to these a few years back! Also Shishito peppers are similar, every tenth one is hot.
· comments  · 07-8-2014 · categories:food ·
Happy almost Independence Day! A few of the links below are Fourth of July themed, the rest are yummy:
What to Drink on July 4th | Serious Eats. Mostly I’m eyeing the Campari-laced version of the Starfruit Sangria here, the slice of starfruit is such a simple decoration for the Fourth.
The Scientific Way to Cut a Cake – YouTube. By Numberphile. A very clever way to slice a round cake so that you can keep it as fresh as possible day after day, and the suggestion is from 1906! Via The Morning News.
Sprinkle Bakes: Crème Brûlée Filled Strawberries. So tiny and so fancy.
Southwestern Coleslaw Recipe | Simply Recipes. We’ve been making this a lot lately, it’s tasty and very simple to make if you have a food processor with the shredding attachments. Also, this is a very simple vinegar and olive oil dressing for those of you who like a more simple cole slaw.
Smoky and Spicy Yogurt-Marinated Chicken Kebabs | Serious Eats. If you can remember to make them early enough to allow for the time to marinate them these are easy and really delicious.
See also: Marinades for Chicken | Ask MetaFilter. Lots of great suggestions and regional options I’d never heard of.
· comments  · 07-3-2014 · categories:food · links ·
Pitcher Drinks: Sparkling Grapefruit Sangria With Lillet Rosé | Serious Eats. Yum.
Sprinkle Bakes: Fresh Watermelon Cake. What a clever idea!
A Beer Beginner’s Guide to Hops of the World | Serious Eats.
Star Wars Macarons Prove the Force is Delicious at i09. Ok, those are cute.
The Rise of the $8 Ice Cube at Priceonomics.
“Miracle Fruit,” America’s Oldest New Food Trend at Gawker. I was really hoping this story was going to reveal that the Victorians threw scandalous miracle fruit parties, but no. Gawker means this goes all the way back to 2007. I would like to point out that I was one year off on my Mircale Fruit party invitation, I said 2008. Oops.
How to Make a Good Salad Without Dumb Leaves – The Awl. “So let us forgo leaves. Let us not require our salads to rely on our least-favorite ingredient. Let us shape our own salad destiny.”
· comments  · 06-5-2014 · categories:food · links ·
Recently King Arthur Flour gathered a group of PNW bloggers and we all made dinner for a shelter here in Seattle. It was part of their Bake for Good initiative to encourage and help people reach out to their communities in various ways. In addition to getting food to those in need, baking for community events and bake sales to raise money they also have a Bake for Good Kids traveling tour that helps kids learn to bake and work with their communities. In addition to all this King Arthur Flour is an employee owned company where each employee donates time each year to volunteering and helping the community. You know what? There’s been a lot of gloomy stuff going on in the news lately and being a part of the Bake for Good tour reminded me that there is plenty of goodness out there and sometimes you have to create it.
(The image above is from the King Arthur Flour website. The pictures below are all from my aging iPhone, the days were so packed with flour and butter and dishwashing that I didn’t pull out my camera.)
(My bread was a little lopsided but bascially worked. The one here looked so pretty I took a picture of it instead.)
We spent some time in commercial kitchens which was a thrill for me. On the first day we made braided white loaves, dinner rolls and apple pies.
We braided white bread dough, you start from the center and braid down, then flip it over and braid down again. Not as easy as it sounds, at least the first time.
It rose! And got brown and pretty!
I’ve never been able to get a handle on pie dough. I’d seen plenty of demonstrations on cooking shows, I’d done the vodka thing, the food processor thing but I never had any success and basically gave up on it. Turns out some hands on learning with a cheerfully helpful teacher is what I needed.
What I learned? Half of the butter bits need to be way larger than I suspected. And one of these large plastic scrapers is oh so handy. Seriously, I won’t ever make pie dough without one of these again. It’s particularly great if you don’t have cold hands because it can mix and fold with minimal contact from your hands. It’s also great for scooping up chopped vegetables, even easier to use than a metal bench scraper. There you, my new favorite kitchen multitasker.
In my notes I have VB, which stands for Visible Butter, something you want during the last stages of putting your pie dough together. When you are gathering it to chill before rolling out you want the dough to be both shaggy and crumbly, not too dry but just wet enough to hold together. Right, I’m not going to do any good telling you about it, go find a pie person and practice!
The next day we made salad, macaroni and cheese, chicken and a few other vegetable side options. I appreciated the oversized tools.
We had a tour of the shelter and it was pretty sobering. Everybody there was a good soul caught in a difficult situation. It made me feel very grateful for what I have and like I could be doing a lot more to help out in my community. I’ll be seeking out as many opportunities to volunteer as I can.
If you like to cook I do have a suggestion for helping out in your area, look up your local VA hospital and see if they are seeking volunteers to cook dinner for the caretakers of patients who are living there are on a short or long term basis. Here in Seattle the Fisher House is one of those spots, this is something my friend Fresh Picked Seattle organizes from time to time so all credit goes to her. In addition to cooking they have room for people to come and hold craft nights, garden, organize outings or teach a class.
Alright, let’s go out and do some good.
· comments  · 05-30-2014 · categories:food · misc ·