Undaunted I made my own dough, with a generous, possibly too generous swirl of butter and cinnamon sugar.
If like me, you're going to stuff your dough like a turkey, take care not to overheat the waffle iron or all that gorgeous caramel will turn to carbon, in a blink.
When they came out of the waffle iron, I had an "Ah-ha!" moment. For years I had been buying my favourite sugar crusted "Belgian" waffles from the bakery section of a supermarket, and let me tell you, they are not cheap!
I had tried time and again to replicate these bakery waffles at home but never managed to get the same crunchy exterior and spongy crumb. Didn't matter if the batter was thick, runny, yeasted, unyeasted, instant or fermented all night, the result was always disappointing. I finally surmised that even if I'd gotten Jean-Claude Van Damme to make them for me, they wouldn't have turned out as desired.
As it happens (what would we do without Google?), there are two types of waffles to be found in Belgium - the Brussels waffle and the Liege waffle, the Brussels version made with a yeasted batter lightened with whisked egg whites, and the Liege, made with a hardier yeasted dough studded with nubs or pearls of sugar. The Brussels model comes out of the waffle iron rectangular, crisp outside and slightly gooey inside because of the higher moisture content of the batter, while the Liege tends towards circular or ovoid, is crusty from the lightly caramelised sugar nubs and spongier inside owing to the relative dryness of the dough. These days, it's a fairly common practice amongst the Belgians to make waffles using baking powder instead of yeast. Apparently, I had been lusting after the Liege, while stirring up bowl after bowl of frothy, meringue lightened Brussels waffles.
You know, I really feel kinda dumb; I and my years of cooking, eating, training, reading, writing about food, food, FOOD! Hoodwinked into parting with untold dollars for something I could so easily have done at home, had the fairly obvious, been obvious to me. *Sigh* The irregular shape and sturdiness of the Liege, should've clued me in to the fact that I needed to ditch all my batter based waffle recipes and start sniffing out dough based ones.
You keep hearing it bandied about, that learning is a lifelong process, but I think those who utter it, rarely mean it or feel the import of what's coming our of their mouth, as it comes out of their mouth. It's true though, if you're curious, or greedy, you keep learning stuff, whether you mean to or not, until you're pushing up daisies or snug in your urn. Well, I can tell you, I mean it when I say that supermarket is not getting any more of my waffle dollars and that's consolation enough to sooth my battered ego. Naaah. Who am I kidding? I'm going to need a few more waffles before I feel better...
Oh, by the way, there is no such thing as a "Belgian" waffle, unless you're looking for one outside of Belgium. Don't believe me? Google it!! ;)
cinnamon swirl biscuit waffles
prep 20 mins cook 6 - 8 mins makes 8 small waffles
300 g (3 cups) plain or all purpose flour
2 tsp cream of tartar (sieve if lumpy)
1 tsp baking soda (sieve if lumpy)
1/2 tsp salt
75 g (1/2 cup) cold firm butter, cubed
180 ml (1 scant cup) cold milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
50 g (1/3 cup) soft butter
60 g (1/2 cup) soft brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt.
Cut in the butter cubes with two knives or a pastry blender/cutter until mixture is coarse and crumbly, with lumps of butter still visible here and there.
Stir together milk and vanilla and pour mixture all at once into the flour and butter. Quickly and lightly stir together with a spatula until mixture comes together in a shaggy dough.
Gather together into a cohesive dough and turn out onto a lightly floured board or work surface and pat or roll out to a rectangle measuring about 25 cm (10 in) by 12 cm (5 in).
Spread dough with soft butter. Stir brown sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle evenly over the butter. Starting from the longer edge, roll dough up tightly like a Swiss roll and pinch seam to seal securely. Preheat waffle iron on low to medium setting.
Place seam side down and cut across roll (I used scissors to cut vertically) into 8 even slices. When waffle iron is ready (mine beeps) place a roll, sugar swirl side up on each section of waffle iron. Close and press down very firmly until there is no gap between the the bottom and lid of waffle iron.
Cook for 3 - 4 minutes or until waffle iron beeps. Remove waffles, transfer to cooling rack and repeat with remaining rolls.
Serve warm with extra cinnamon sugar, butter and maple syrup (strictly for sybarites) or a dusting of icing (powdered or confectioner's) sugar and coffee.