liege waffles

liege waffle 0683

Liege waffles are like not like those waffles you had for breakfast over the weekend. Though they are made on the same iron as those waffles, liege waffles are unique in both flavor and texture.

Unlike your soft and fluffy breakfast waffle batter, liege waffles are made with a brioche dough that is studded with pearl sugar. The brioche dough imparts a denser texture with a buttery richness to it, while an overnight rise gives the waffles a deeper flavor with a slight tang, and the pearl sugar lends pockets of molten sweetness and the liege waffle’s trademark crunchy, caramelized exterior.

These waffles are generally made using a belgian waffle iron, however since I don’t own a belgian-style waffle maker, I had to use my regular waffle iron. The waffles came out beautifully, with the one caveat of being thinner than the traditional liege waffle. Additionally, I had to make sure to flatten the dough before placing it into the waffle iron to ensure that it baked all the way through.

Either way, your waffle iron’s “ready” alert will be useless in this case. These waffles will splatter and steam throughout their baking process as the sugars melt, caramelize, and re-melt, and re-caramelize over and over again. Your waffle iron will be a complete mess, but don’t fret. Just keep going and each waffle will be even better than the last as the melted sugars build up on the iron and impart a deeper, more caramelized flavor onto each subsequent waffle. (See my notes on how to clean up this horrible mess at the bottom of the recipe.)

Because these implore the use of a bread dough and have a crunchy exterior, these waffles yield the best flavor and texture when enjoyed warm…especially when paired with fresh sweet berries, a drizzle of nutella, and sweet whipped cream. That being said, we enjoyed them at all temperatures both with and without toppings, as breakfast, dessert, and a mid-day snack.

liege waffle 0702

liege waffle

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup whole mlk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 packet (2 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 teaspoon coarse or kosher salt
  • 14 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/3 cups [http://amzn.to/1RfuQyc Belgian pearl sugar]

Instructions

    Make the dough:
  1. Warm milk and water together until warm to the touch (between 110 and 116F degrees)
  2. Pour milk mixture into the bottom of a large stand mixer bowl fitted with a dough hook.
  3. Add sugar and yeast and stir to combine.
  4. Let rest until the yeast activates, about 5 minutes. You will know the yeast is activated when it looks foamy.
  5. Whisk eggs and vanilla into the milk/yeast mixture until combined.
  6. Stir in 2 2/3 cups flour, reserving extra 1 cup of flour for later use.
  7. Turn mixer on low and stir until combined, add the salt and continue mixing until the mixture forms a dough.
  8. With the mixer on low, add the butter to the dough 1 tablespoon at a time, thoroughly kneading after each addition to ensure the butter is incorporated. Repeat this process until all of the butter has been added, scraping down the bowl as needed.
  9. After all the butter has been worked into the dough, add the remaining 1 cup of flour and knead with dough hook on low speed for 5 minutes, or until glossy.
  10. Rest the dough
  11. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight.
  12. Take the dough out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature, about 1 hour.
  13. Once the dough has come to temperature, stir the dough to deflate it and re-cover with plastic wrap. Set in a warm place to rise for 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled in size.
  14. Knead in the pearl sugar
  15. Pour the dough out onto a lightly-floured surface and flatten slightly. Pour pearl sugar over the dough and knead the dough until the pearl sugar is incorporated. Try not to get mad when the sugar hops out of the dough and onto the counter. If you lose a few pearls, so be it.
  16. Make the waffles
  17. Heat your waffle iron. I don't ever grease my waffle iron, but if it's normal for you to do so, go for it. **Let me take one second to go on my soap box and ask that you please not spray your waffle iron with nonstick cooking spray, as the residue it leaves behind will actually ruin your waffle iron. If you must grease it, please put some oil or butter on a paper towel using silicone-tipped tongs, rub it on your waffle iron. Of course, you are always welcome to ignore my advice.** Moving on...
  18. Divide your dough ball into 16 pieces and roll those pieces into balls.
  19. When you're ready to cook the waffle, flatten the ball into a disk about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick and place it into your waffle iron. **Note:** If you have a belgian waffle maker, you may not have to flatten it. I flattened mine since my waffle maker inherently makes thinner waffles and learned this technique while making other waffley things.
  20. Press your waffle iron closed tightly on top of the dough, then release the pressure and allow the waffle to cook as per normal waffle protocol. Ignore your waffle iron's sirens (if it is equipped with such things) and allow the waffle to cook fro 4 to 6 minutes, until it is a deep golden brown. As you get further through your waffle-making some may even end up with blackened caramelized sugar bits. I like to refer to these as flavor crystals.
  21. Once your waffle is done cooking, carefully remove the waffle (I find a plastic fork to be ideal for this task, as its plastic tines won't harm your waffle iron. Silicone-tipped tongs would also work well.) and place the waffle on a cooling rack. Allow to cool slightly before enjoying. Remember that the waffles are going to be covered in molten sugar and will likely make you say unkind things when the hot molten sugar comes into contact with your precious fingertips or the roof of your mouth.

Notes

* You can find belgian pearl sugar on [http://amzn.to/1RfuQyc amazon] or in the baking section of your local Sur la Table.

*I always advise against spraying your waffle iron with nonstick cooking spray, as the residue it leaves behind will actually ruin your waffle iron. If you must grease it, please put some oil or butter on a paper towel using silicone-tipped tongs, rub it on your waffle iron.

*To clean my waffle iron, I usually soak a dish towel with water, press it in the iron, and let the steam do its work. I found that in this case, it was actually easier to let the iron cool and use a wooden skewer to gently scrape off the burned-on sugar, which popped off with ease. If yours is giving you a hard time, use a warm, damp rag to gently wash off the hardened on sugar. Don't despair, remember that sugar dissolves in water. So even though it may take some time, it will get clean.

http://wee-eats.com/2015/06/08/liege-waffles/

[ Recipe from Smitten Kitchen ]

thursday things – we went to san francisco!

san fran bridge

I totally typed up a post for Thursday Things last week, then I got onto a plane and flew to California and woke up Thursday morning and instead of hitting “Publish” I got into a car and drove from San Francisco to Napa and forgot all about my Thursday Things post. So sorry, guys. Really.

But now I have all new things to tell you about because, in case you weren’t paying attention up there, I WENT TO SAN FRANCISCO! For the first time ever. With Mr. Eats and my bestie.

We did a lot of things, but mostly we ate. We ate so much that I was in pain about 99% of the time. We ate so much that I didn’t even have a chance to think about getting hungry in between meals. We ate SO MUCH that we actually had to give away leftovers from our $50 chicken to a (presumably) homeless guy on the street. Because we could not eat it and had too many more things to eat.

We ate a lot.

10 things I learned in San Francisco:

1. Sharing is caring. Just kidding, I already knew that, but it really lets you try more things. Three of us meant we could each order an item and all of us could try each other’s food. Of course, some applications were better than others, but all in all it worked out.

2. Eating early (even at super hyped up restaurants) will always get you a table. Just eat with the old people, it’s not so bad, really. You don’t really get the ambiance of dining with a crowd, but you don’t get the wait either. *Alternative crowd-avoidance tip* (Almost) everywhere delivers, and if they don’t deliver they offer take-out.

3. A rental car can be worth it – everything you read about SF will tell you not to rent a car. Honestly, I don’t know what we would have done without our rental, particularly because we spent a day up in Napa, and renting the car for 1 or 2 days costs almost the same as renting it for our entire trip so we just went for it and I don’t regret it. *Pro Tip* DO NOT get your rental from the airport – find a place NEAR the airport and save yourself a couple hundred on your rental.

4. If you do have a car, remember that whole part in driver’s ed about parking on hills? Remember how you are supposed to turn your wheels in case your brakes fail? Well, apparently they ticket for that in SF. So, now you’ve been warned.

5. If you travel to SF, go to Yountville. You’ve already traveled that far so for the love of God GO TO YOUNTVILLE AND EAT AT ONE (or all) OF THOMAS KELLER’S RESTAURANTS. Maybe you can’t afford to drop hundreds of dollars at The French Laundry, but you can dine prix fixe for less than $60 a person at Ad Hoc or get a $16 lunch from Addendum.

muir woods 2

6. Now that you’ve rented a car and driven to Yountville, take a half day to take a trip to Muir Woods. I’d never heard of this place, but since Mr. Eats had never seen a redwood tree in his life he really wanted to check it out, so we did. As an added bonus, on the drive back I learned that “Otter Crossing” signs are a thing and that basically made my life complete.

7. Go to China Town. It’s enormous and chaotic and impossible to find parking (so take an uber) but make sure you GO TO CHINA TOWN. It’s ridiculous. They sell fresh rainier cherries for less than $2.00 a pound, there’s a dim sum shop and asian bakery on every corner (and in between every corner), the streets are filled with people, and even their Walgreens sells fish sauce.

8. Don’t go in the summer (well, not in this time of year at least). It’s cold and foggy and windy and, hey, did I mention the fog? Apparently it’s something about the ocean and the valley and high and low pressure, but just be prepared for coldness and fog. So much fog. Luckily we had a few minutes with sunshine that we were able to (sort of) catch a glimpse of the Golden Gate bridge. Unfortunately, we couldn’t actually get out of the car to take the picture because the ten parking spots were full and the street was jammed with everyone else who was waiting to snap the perfect pic of the bridge. Here is what it looked like most of the time we were there…

Collage 1

9. Check out the farmer’s market at the Ferry Building downtown. All of the produce I consumed while in San Francisco was beyond amazing, and the farmer’s market was no exception to this.

10. I want to live inside the Ferry Building. Just saying. It has Blue Bottle Coffee, Miette, Humphrey Slocomb, Dandelion Chocolate, and a bajillion more places.

Best things I ate in San Francisco:

1. Everything at Ad Hoc – The menu is different every day (hence the name – “Ad Hoc”) and ours included a chef’s salad, chicken wings, pork chops with polenta and wilted spinach, cheese course, and a chocolate cupcake with peanut butter frosting.

ad hoc 1 col

ad hoc col 2

2. The fried chicken at Addendum – For $16 you get an entree (chicken, pulled pork sandwich, or ribs) and two sides. Get the chicken. Drinks are extra (their strawberry lemonade is delicious).

tk fried chicken

3. The brisket and broccoli at Mission Chinese (excuse the photo – this place is not only poorly lit but it is poorly-lit with red lights). Also recommended: sour chili chicken and spicy beef chow mein.

*Pro Tip* The restaurant is identified by a tiny 8 by 10 piece of paper taped to the window that says “Mission Chinese” – The actual sign says “Lung Shan Restaurant”

mission chinese

4. Totopopos at Nopalito – Everything tortilla chips have ever dreamed of being. They are a bit spicy so grab a horchata or cocktail to cool down your mouth.

totopopos

5. The Cruffin at Mr. Holmes Bakehouse - This is a very elusive pastry that requires waiting in line not at the bakery’s opening time but about 45 minutes before the cruffins are served. In our case, Sarah was super into the cruffin and took on this task all on her own. After suffering through the line all by herself she was such a kind and generous person that she actually shared some of her cruffin with me (God bless her).

*Pro Tip* There are two lines – the cruffin line and the bakery line. If you go for the cruffin and want another pastry, they will make you go back to the end of the regular bakery line for your non-cruffin baked goods. This is a dick move, but they recommend you “go with a friend” so they can wait in the regular line while you wait in the cruffin line. Cruffins only have 1 flavor daily so you get what you get.

Also recommended – any of their donuts

cruffin

6. The Dandelion Chocolate Chef’s Tasting – we were so full that we even split this three ways and were satisfied.

Also recommend: S’more, Praline Mousse, Nibbun

dandelion chocolate

7. Zuni Cafe’s roasted chicken “for 2″ – Which can actually serve way more than 2… It’s like a whole freakin’ chicken guys.

*Pro Tip* The chicken takes an hour to make (after you order it) so grab a caesar salad and/or some fries to share while you wait.

zuni chicken

8. Bi Rite Creamery – Creme Brulee – Also recommend: TCHO Chocolate, Blue Bottle Coffee, Cookies & Cream, Brown Sugar with Ginger Caramel Swirl (but really, all are good)

*Pro Tip* Just east (like a couple yards) of the Bi Rite shop on 18th Street is a Bi Rite window that serves soft serve. They have two ice cream flavors, toppings, cones, and a specialty “sundae of the day” – you will want to check this out also.

bi rite creamery

 Honorable mentions:

  • Blue Bottle Coffee – several locations
  • Humphry Slocomb – Salted Caramel, Secret Breakfast, Cinnamon Brittle, Eton Mess (again, all are great)
  • Bouchon Bakery (Yountville) – Bouchon “Oh Oh”, Chocolate Eclair, TKO, any of their coffee drinks
  • Saint Frank – Coffee Flight
  • Jane Bakery – Chocolate Chip Toffee Cookie (also available at Saint Frank coffee)
  • Plow – French Toast (If the wait is super long, go ahead and skip it)
  • Boccalone Salumeria (Ferry Building) – cured meats and sandwiches – Prosciutto Cotto hot sandwich (*Note: We all regretted not trying the salami cold sandwich)

 

jeni’s spinalong – watermelon lemonade pops

watermelon popsicle 0747

I can’t believe it’s already been three months since our last Jeni’s Spinalong post. For this spinalong, we decided to go with the a “summer” theme, as it is rapidly approaching. We played it fast and loose with the base recipe, having only one requirement: that the base involve fruit of some kind.

As I was flipping through my Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams book for inspiration, I wanted something light, refreshing, and summery. One recipe in particular jumped out at me: Watermelon Lemonade Sorbet. It was like taking everything I love about summer and spinning it into a delicious dessert. What more could a girl ask for?

Shannon chose their Riesling-Pear sorbet and kicked it up several notches, turning it into grilled cantaloupe sorbet. She freaking grilled ice cream, people! That girls is a food wizard, people, I swear.

I immediately had visions of summer cookouts and pool parties, ice cold melon, refreshing lemonade, grillled things, and summer sun… I honestly couldn’t think of better recipes to welcome summer with. Since this watermelon-lemonade recipe was perfect as-is, I resisted my usual urge to tinker and made only one single slight modification: I made them portable. Because summer just screams “popsicles” doesn’t it?

watermelon popsicle 0749 2

Some popsicle-making tips:

1. Don’t fill it all the way. Remember that water expands when it freezes, so leave about 1/4 inch or so at the top of your mold.

2. A lot of people will tell you to partially freeze your popsicles before adding the sticks, this has to do with them moving around when it begins the freezing process. While probably helpful, it’s not something I bother with because I’m the type of person who will forget to add the stick and end up with popsicle-shaped sorbet ice cubes instead.

3. Try to make sure the popsicles are level when they are freezing, or you may end up with lopsided pops. Still edible, but not as pretty.

4. To help ease the release of the popsicle from its mold, wrap a damp, warm cloth around the popsicle you would like to remove. After about 30 to 40 seconds, gently start to wiggle the popsicle stick to free the popsicle from its mold. Don’t be too aggressive or you might pull the stick out and end up with… a popsicle-shaped sorbet ice cube.

5. If you aren’t sure which mold to use, I have this one and have no complaints. They’re all about the same, what it mostly comes down to is what you want the shape of your final product to be.

watermelon lemonade pops

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups watermelon puree - from 1 (3-lb) watermelon
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice - from 2 to 3 medium lemons
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup

Instructions

  1. Puree watermelon (without the rind) and measure out 2 1/2 cups of puree. Pour puree into a a medium bowl. If you have extra puree, you could make some margaritas
  2. Fill a large bowl with ice water.
  3. Heat lemon juice, sugar, and corn syrup in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Continue boiling, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  4. Whisk the lemon mixture into the pureed watermelon and pour into a 1-gallon Ziploc bag. Close the bag and put into the ice water bath until chilled. Let chill at least 30 minutes.*
  5. Pour sorbet into your ice cream canister and spin according to manufacturer's directions until the sorbet reaches the texture of softly-whipped cream.
  6. Spoon sorbet into popsicle molds**, insert popsicle sticks, and place into the coldest part of your freezer. Freeze for 8 hours, or overnight.
  7. To release popsicles from the mold, wrap a damp, warm dish towel around the popsicle you would like to release. After about 30 seconds or so, begin to gently wiggle the popsicle until it releases from its mold. See notes below if you don't plan to enjoy your popsicles immediately.

Notes

* If you're not going to spin the sorbet immediately, dry off the bag and place it in your refrigerator until you're ready to spin your sorbet.

** This recipe filled my popsicle mold and still had about 1/4 to 1/2 cup leftover, which I froze separately just as regular sorbet.

*** If you aren't going to enjoy the popsicles right away, after releasing the popsicle from its mold immediately wrap it in plastic wrap and place into a gallon-sized freezer bag and return to the freezer. Repeat with other popsicles, wrapping individually in plastic wrap and adding them to the gallon-sized freezer bag for storage.

http://wee-eats.com/2015/06/01/jenis-spinalong-watermelon-lemonade-popsicles/

[ Recipe from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home ]

[ View Shannon’s Grilled Cantaloupe Sorbet here ]

fruity pebble meringues

fruity pebble meringue 0740

I’ll admit that I have always been a cereal girl. Left to my own devices, I would eat cereal every day: morning, noon, and night. I’m the reason they are still releasing crazy new flavors, because I buy just about every single one. You’re saying that my favorite peanut butter is now a cereal? Sold! What’s that? There’s a cookies and cream cereal? Don’t mind if I do.

If there is a new cereal on the shelf, there’s a darn good chance I’m going to be bringing it home with me.    Continue reading

thursday things

too hot

 

There’s not a whole lot happening here in the desert. We officially hit triple digits for the first time this year and I cried so hard, or would have if the tears didn’t immediately evaporate out of my eyeballs.

And, since it’s May already let me take a moment to pimp our next installment of the Jeni’s Spinalong, which should be up in early June! Are you excited? I’m so excited.

Arizona Restaurant Week is rapidly approaching, so that’s another exciting piece of news. In other food news…

Continue reading