Medieval origins of the Belgian Waffle recipe

Belgian waffles are versatile snacks that have been satisfying palates and stomachs since the Medieval ages. Originating from the word “wafel”, which meant “honeycomb” (in reference to the patterns produced by early versions of the waffle iron), waffles have since spread all over the world, resulting in many different variations of the Belgian waffle recipe.

Woman heating a waffle iron above a fire
Woman heating a waffle iron above a fire

In fact, what is commonly known as the “Belgian waffle” is in fact more formally known as the Brussels waffle: a light, dense, large-pocketed waffle compared to Belgian contemporaries such as the Liege waffle (Gaufre de Liege) and the Bergische waffles.

Belgian waffles differ from the conventional American waffles in the sense that they are lighter when compared to the latter. This is because special steps are taken in order to ensure that the batter used for Belgian waffles is particularly light, resulting in an air-filled waffle that has a crunch one cannot simply achieve with commercial hotcake or waffle mix. These include: separating egg yolks from whites, whipping and folding the whites into the batter, using yeast and making the batter rise, and so on.

Essentially there are just two authentic recipes for making homemade waffle batter: a recipe with yeast and one without yeast.

Sweet, Spicy, Savory

As stated above, one famous claim to popularity of the Belgian waffle is its versatility. Their dense crispiness, combined with just the right hint of sweetness, allows them to be served alongside an amazing variety of ingredients.

The conventional way of serving Belgian waffles is with nothing more than a light dusting of confectioner’s sugar, just to enhance the sweetness it has. Through the years, however, people have broken free of the convention time and again, resulting in Belgian waffle recipes that include toppings such as whipped cream, chocolate spread, syrup and fruits (both fresh and preserved) among other things.

Belgian waffle with extra topping
Belgian waffle with extra topping

Great for breakfast or as a quick snack, they are even sold now by street vendors such as ‘Wafels & Dinges’ in New York.

Even the main courses themselves are not free from the influence of Belgian waffles, as they are nowadays also served alongside roast or grilled beef with a little barbeque sauce or gravy on the side. These deceptively simple culinary wonders can also substitute for puff pastry or bread in most dishes, such as open-faced sandwiches, melts, pizzas and so on.

Some people go one step further in their experimentation with Belgian waffle recipes by adding different ingredients to the batter itself. Choices include:

  • sweet vegetables such as pumpkin, corn, or squash;
  • spices such as nutmeg or cinnamon;
  • flavored oils such as vanilla extract and lemon extract;
  • other choices such as melted cheese, cocoa powder, dessicated coconut, etc.

Including any of these ingredients results in waffles that are in differing instances sweet, spicy, salty or even savory. This make them versatile enough to make a delicious pairing with almost any food items imaginable.

With so many options available, Belgian waffles can indeed be one of the easiest, yet most versatile foods you can find yourself cooking. To help you get started with your ideas on this wonderful snack, our website contains a wide range of different recipes to help you as you go along. Who knows, maybe someday you will be able to come up with and share your own recipes and experiences with Belgian waffles.

Sweet or savory, salty or spicy, Belgian waffles make for an excellent dish, whether partnered or eaten alone. Try some of our recipes, and experience the unique, crunchy pleasure that only having a good Belgian waffle in your mouth can bring.

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