Brussels Waffles

First off, can I say how proud I am of this photo? Really, all the photos I've taken lately, which should be getting up here SOON! We moved into our beautiful, beautiful new home, which has a huge front window with a large, white ledge where I can prop my creations with not only a wonderful white backdrop, but a lot of natural light. The shadowing can get tricky, but I've had some good luck with lighting, so far!

This delicious dish you see above was breakfast this morning...though, I suppose it was really more like brunch, considering how late I made it :) Billy and I recently went on a shopping trip with my mother to take advantage of the ever-elusive thirty percent off coupon she had for Kohl's, where I found a great, stainless steel, Belgian waffle iron by Food Network. HAD to have it! 

The funny thing is, I've generally hated waffles all my life. When my parents would make them for breakfast, they had to make a separate batch of pancakes, just for me. Recently, though, I've learned to love the crisp outer crust of these beauties, and decided I needed a waffle iron so I could start making them. 

Recalling that the only waffles I was willing to eat were Big Boy's Belgian waffles, I thought it only fitting to purchase a Belgian waffle iron...and to begin my search for the most authentic recipe I could find! That's where I discovered that the waffles we, in America, know as "Belgian" are actually Brussels waffles, specifically, as there are many more than one type of Belgian waffle, all with their own unique texture/flavor. The difference between these and a more traditional waffle you'd make at home is that Brussels waffles are made with yeast...which I found very exciting since I've been baking my own bread.

While I found the dough/batter quite easy to put together, cooking it scared the life out of me. With a more traditional batter, you simply pour it to cover the peaks of the bottom iron. The yeast dough, however, is much thicker and stickier, like a very, very wet bread dough. The issue that arose is I couldn't simply pour it as needed...even spooning it with a ladle was a problem. I found the most foolproof way to fill the iron was to use a soup spoon, placing a dollop of doughy batter in each corner of each quadrant (the iron has four quadrants and I prefer to fill them separately so that I have four perfect, small waffles, rather than filling the entire bottom as one and having a giant waffle with four quarters that end up being cracked apart anyway). Therefore, I used four spoonfuls per quadrant/waffle. This method ended up working quite well for me and I was able to spread the batter quickly and get that baby closed for even cooking. I'm excited to do it again in the future!

Now, as far as I've seen, our restaurant Belgian waffles are always served with fruit, ice cream, and whipped cream...which I ADORE. However, I've been reading that, in Belgium, these waffles are actually served as snacks with simply powdered sugar! I find, of course, that you should eat them however you like :) which is why I made myself a pair of waffles with a dusting of powdered sugar, two spoonfuls of Belgian chocolate spread, a few slices of banana, and a giant...GIANT scoop of toasted almond gelato. Scrumptious. Simply scrumptious :)

Billy had half his waffles with chocolate syrup and half with Golden Griddle, which I ended up copying with one of my waffles because I was feeling jealous by missing the simple flavor of maple syrup. Eating two waffles each with a different topping was the best of both worlds! I highly recommend it :)


Berrie's 'n Cream Trifle

Happy birthday to Greg, for whom this delicious trifle was prepared! Of course, I created this post weeks and weeks ago (it got interrupted by a lot of moving work!), but here it is, finally :)

What's great about trifles is that no baking or cooking is required, whatsoever. Of course, a more traditional English trifle would have custard, which does require cooking, but my version is simply lady fingers soaked in a sweet wine or liqueur, layered with freshly whipped cream and fruit. It's as easy as that.

What's also nice is that it's a sweet dessert, similar to a cake, but much lighter and refreshing. You get your cakey texture fix from the softened lady fingers while your palette is brightened by the fresh fruit...and a little kick from the liqueur never hurt anyone :)

The trifle shown above was, as stated, made for my coworker, Greg. After bringing this in to work, though, I was immediately commissioned to make a second, that very same week, for another coworker! It was my very first commission and incredibly exciting. I think it looked even better the second time around and I've heard that my accidental addition of a bit too much Marsala wine made it an even bigger hit ;)

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