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Tasty Twists on Belgian Waffles

Belgian waffles aren’t just for breakfast anymore!

When I was a child, I grew up for a portion of the time in Antwerp, Belgium.  And some of my fondest memories included watching the large land snails that frequented my back garden, visiting quaint corner coffee shops with my mom, and, of course, the food.  My mom used to say my father and I would compete for who got to eat the most mussels with Vlaamse frites drenched in Hollandaise sauce, the national dish.

These fries were considered street food and we would wait in a long queue outside on freezing cold days in front of a wooden stand to order them. They came in a rolled-up paper cup similar in shape to an ice cream cone.  And while you were waiting you would hop up and down and blow warm air into your hands because it was so very cold.

We also stood in line for fresh roasted chestnuts that were given to us in old newspaper. And although waffles are considered breakfast or brunch food here in the States, they were also considered street food back in Belgium! Today, I no longer choose to eat mussels, but I still love Belgian street food and one of my favorites is still waffles!

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Now, my mom makes Belgian waffles during the holidays as it is our yearly tradition. She brings out the heavy, large waffle maker from years ago. And these waffles are so delicious that my partner starts to think of them on the airplane going home.  He asks, “Is your mom going to make Belgian waffles?”  “Of course”, I say comfortingly as I know he is already dreaming of them and a smile always spreads across his face.

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In Belgium, waffles are eaten both as a sweet treat and also savory.  Belgian waffles are different than normal waffles as they have large, deep squares that hold toppings better.  You can fill them with vegan butter, homemade jam or jelly, or 100% maple syrup.  They also differ because the batter is raised with yeast. Traditional waffles in the States are raised with baking powder. And there are several twists on what you can do with a Belgian waffle!

To serve them sweet, you can simply dust them with a bit of powdered sugar.  Or top them with vegan whipped cream. Or perhaps drip a bit of chocolate syrup on them if you are a chocolate lover. You can always add your favorite fresh fruit on top, too! There are so many vegan ice creams now that are rich, creamy, and simply decadent. Try putting a scoop on your Belgian waffle and watch as your friends and family make it disappear in record time.

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If you want to serve your waffle as a savory meal, try shredded vegan cheddar cheese on top. Don’t forget that you can add fresh herbs into the batter.  Also, topping your waffle with soy chicken strips or even soy smoked salmon with vegan cream cheese is absolutely divine.

For a different base, you can make the batter with whole wheat flour or cornmeal rather than traditional white flour. Basically, anything goes with this versatile dish!

 

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