There are waffles, and then there are Belgian waffles. A regular waffle can run through a range of possible flavors and textures – from light and crispy, to hearty and filling – and can be any of a variety of shapes, according to the type of waffle iron that you own. A Belgian waffle is always light and it is always made in a deep waffle iron that maximizes the amount of batter exposed to the griddle for maximum crispness of the finished waffle. Their deep pockets are ideal for collecting syrup and butter, and while all types of waffles are good, there is nothing quite like a good Belgian waffle.
Getting the right waffle iron is only part of the battle when making Belgian waffles. The rest is getting the batter made to ensure that the waffles have the desired lightness to them. A really good Belgian waffle should be crispy and browned on the outside, and moist and soft inside. It should be fairly lightweight, and only fill you up because it’s so big – not because each bite is so filling.
I find that there are a couple of important components in getting a good Belgian waffle. The first is to use cake flour, since it will develop less gluten than all purpose and make for a more tender waffle. The second is to use a fairly generous amount of butter, which will add flavor to the batter, as well as contribute to browning and ensure that the waffles both get crispy and stay that way. The third is to use quite a bit of leavening in the batter. I don’t find that separating the eggs and folding in beaten egg whites necessarily produces a better product, so I don’t usually include that step in making this type of affle. The final element is to use a batter of medium thickness. I’ve heard arguments for both thick and thin, but I’ve always gotten the best results when the batter is only slightly skewed towards the wet ingredients (milk(s), eggs, butter, etc.)
These waffles fit the bill nicely, especially when hot off the grill. The recipe works just fine for waffle irons of all sizes, though you might need to use less batter for smaller irons, producing a consistently light and crisp waffle. I always toss in a little vanilla and nutmeg for flavor, but varying things with some ground cinnamon or ginger would be nice, too. Serve with maple syrup, or with strawberries and whipped cream if you’re feeling indulgent!
2 cups cake flour, sifted (7-oz)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup milk (low fat is ok)
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch ground nutmeg (optional)
2 large eggs
1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled
Preheat your waffle iron while you make the batter.
In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar.
In a large measuring cup or a medium-sized bowl, lightly beat together buttermilk, milk, vanilla, nutmeg, eggs and melted butter until smooth. Pour into flour mixture and whisk only until just combined and no obvious streaks of flour remain. Batter should be slightly lumpy.
Use a 1-cup measure or a large spoon to scoop batter into the waffle iron, lightly greased if your iron requires it. Cook as directed by your machine (mine makes a loud beeping when waffles are done).
Serve immediately, with butter and maple syrup.
Makes 4 Belgian waffles