Waffles, two ways: Pearl sugar pretzel waffles + traditional Liège waffles

Pearl sugar waffles (two ways)

I nailed the best cake over the weekend. A banana cake with peanut butter hot fudge sauce and a couple handfuls of salted peanuts + flaked coconut thrown on top. It was a bit too decadent for the dude (who would have rather had his banana cake without all the toppings) but, for me, it was my ideal cake: the perfect combination of sweet and salty, and rich but not stick-to-your-teeth rich (though, don’t get me wrong, I love a good cake that’s so rich it physically renders me speechless). Anyway, I had every intention of sharing it with you, and then we ran out of almost-rotten bananas and all the ones at each of the four surrounding grocery stores were lime green. So no banana cake. Yet. Though I regret to inform you there may not be banana cake for a while because my days with an oven are numbered. And I doubt the bananas on our counter will turn brown before I part ways with my favorite kitchen appliance (for what I’m expecting to be a good two months).

So instead you get waffles. Which I wasn’t even planning on sharing except I did a pretty cool Instagram campaign with US Bank this week and worked to develop a Liège waffle recipe to rival the ones we ate while we were traveling through Belgium, nearly three years ago. And then, in the process, I discovered that something magic happens when you dip your waffle dough in a baking soda bath: PRETZEL WAFFLES! Which is my new favorite kind of waffle. The combination of sweet + salty makes it perfect served plain (can you tell I’m on a sweet/salty kick this week?), alongside a black mug of coffee. You know you’re onto something good when you develop a waffle recipe that doesn’t need all the bells and whistles. So if a simple dusting of powdered sugar is your thing, go on with your bad self. Or, if you’re like me and never pass up an opportunity to smother your waffles in ALL THE THINGS, load ’em up and brace yourself for the worst (but most delicious) sugar crash of all time.

Also! I know these aren’t tradiiiiitional Liège waffles considering they’re missing a few of the main ingredients: eggs and hella milk/butter. So I should probably warn you that these aren’t traditional Liège waffles as far as ingredients are concerned, but they are traditional Liège waffles as far as the end result is concerned. And I’d argue that, despite having to take a different path to get there, they’re damn near indistinguishable from their egg and dairy-laden counterparts.

For the curious: fifth photo down, starting clockwise from the top left waffle: pretzel, Liège, Liège, pretzel, Liège. How to tell them apart? The pretzel waffles look a little less polished than the Liège waffles. And the pretzel waffles have an uneven golden-yellow finish.


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Notes: Coconut oil (both refined and unrefined) is my go-to baking oil but it requires that none of the ingredients be cold (otherwise the oil will harden). If you’d rather not have to deal with making sure all of your ingredients are at room temperature, feel free to use your favorite neutral-flavored oil (sun coco is a recent favorite of mine). Unfortunately these waffles require a bit of planning and DO need to rise overnight. And then again an hour before you make them. But I promise they’re worth it. If you don’t have white whole wheat flour, unbleached all-puropse will work (white spelt will work, too, but you’ll have to use the weighted measure). If you’re wanting to eat these for breakfast, just be warned that they’re super sweet. And more of a dessert waffle than a breakfast waffle, though you could easily reduce the cane sugar to 1 or 2 tablespoons. If you forgo the pearl sugar, your waffles won’t have those crispy, golden edges. So don’t skip it!

More waffle goodness: Banana and pearl sugar Belgian waffles, snow day waffles, and sweet potato waffles with cacao nibs. Or you can make a batch of cinnamon rolls and bake the sliced dough in your waffle maker.


Waffle dough
2 1/4 teaspoons (7g) active dry yeast
1/4 cup (50g) warm water, between 105-108˚F
2 cups (280g) white whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon (2g) fine sea salt
1/4 cup (52g) cane sugar
1/4 cup (45g) refined coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup (110g) unsweetened almondmilk, room temperature
2 flax eggs (88g)
1 teaspoon (4g) pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup pearl sugar

You’ll also need
Powdered sugar
Coconut whipped cream
Hazelnut hot fudge sauce (variation #2 using Frangelico)
Flaked coconut
Crushed hazelnuts
Cacao nibs
Banana slices
Frozen raspberries

In a small bowl, stir together the water and yeast; sprinkle with a small pinch of sugar and set aside for 10-15 minutes, until foamy. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and sugar. When the yeast has proofed, create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the yeast mixture, oil, almondmilk, flax eggs, and vanilla extract. Stir, using a sturdy spatula, just until combined then fold in the pearl sugar. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or for at least 8 hours (no more than 24). An hour before you plan on making the waffles, remove the bowl from the fridge and let the dough sit at room temperature – uncovered – for one hour.

For pearl sugar pretzel waffles: Once the dough has sat at room temperature for an hour, prepare a baking soda bath by bringing 6 cups of water to a boil, in a medium-sized pot. While you’re waiting for the water to boil, line a baking sheet with parchment paper (and set aside), section the dough into 4 or 5 even pieces (I like to use a stainless steel scoop), and preheat your waffle maker. Once the water is boiling, add 1/4 cup of baking soda and use a large slotted spoon to dip the dough – one piece at a time – into the water bath; submerge for 15-20 seconds then shake to remove excess water. Once dipped, transfer back to the baking sheet. Spray the preheated waffle maker with oil (you’ll likely have to do it between each waffle) and cook waffles according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

For traditional Liège waffles: Once the dough has sat at room temperature for an hour, preheat your waffle maker. Once preheated, spray with oil and add 1/2-3/4 cup of dough to the maker and cook according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

To keep waffles warm, place them on a baking sheet in a 200˚F oven. When you’re ready to serve, top with all your favorite things (a handful of mine are listed above) (and make for next-level waffles). My favorite combination is sliced bananas, hot fudge sauce, and crushed hazelnuts. Easy caramel sauce would be good on top, too.

Yield: 4-5 waffles

New (temporary) kitchenDay-old pearl sugar wafflesDay-old pearl sugar waffles


  • Reply Katrina 25 February 2016 at 7:19 AM

    Whether it’s waffles or cake, I am SO DOWN! Actually waffles are one of my favourite foods ever! These sound awesome Ashlae! Adding hot fudge to my morning routine needs to happen ASAP.

  • Reply Kimiko 25 February 2016 at 7:21 AM

    These are gorgeous — now I need a waffle maker…

  • Reply Hailey 25 February 2016 at 7:37 AM

    What waffle maker did you make these with? Been searching for one. Thanks!

    • Reply Hailey 25 February 2016 at 7:38 AM

      Never mind. Just reread the blog and see the Amazon link. Did you like it?

      • Reply Ashlae 25 February 2016 at 7:48 AM

        Hi Hailey –

        I LOVE it. It’s got some bad reviews on Amazon but I think a few people just got glitchy irons (Croquade customer support is amazing and the product has a two year warranty). It produces perfect waffles every time and the fact that it has the ability to change plates kind of makes my heart sing. We have the stuffed plate, two of the galette plates, the heart plate, and – of course – the Belgian plate. Can’t recommend it enough.

        • Reply Hailey Soren 26 April 2016 at 11:26 AM

          I just bit the bullet and ordered the damn thing. The decision fatigue has left me wanting to eat an entire batch of the above waffles. Unfortunately I am going to have to wait two days for my amazon prime to feed me.
          Thanks for your response! Im obsessed with you, in a not quite stalker but more than normal way. Keep doing the good work and reminding me there are rad people doing good work.
          OH! and from prior post – just bought my first elizabeth suzann piece. i haven’t taken it off in 4 days. Its not normal.
          Love from LA LA land,

  • Reply dixya | food, pleasure, and health 25 February 2016 at 8:18 AM

    this looks divine in every sense..waffles are my fav. breakfast although im too lazy to clean the waffle iron. i have never had liege waffles before, so i know im missing out big time.

  • Reply Ellie | Hungry by Nature 25 February 2016 at 8:22 AM

    I’ve been wanting to pull the trigger on a waffle iron for a long time (my husband says I have too many kitchen gadgets… when in actuality I only have a food processor and mixer) but I think this is just the recipe to push me over the edge and make the purchase. I cannot wait to try these!!

    • Reply Randle 25 February 2016 at 1:12 PM

      Haha Ellie We are on the same page about the waffle iron! ;)

  • Reply Lily | Kale & Caramel 25 February 2016 at 8:35 AM

    CHECK THAT WAFFLE TEXTURE THO. Holy yes. And I’m so deeply excited about this baking soda bath action. I must learn. Teach me your ways!! Gorgeous, Ashlae.

  • Reply Heather 25 February 2016 at 8:52 AM

    These. Are. Amazing. I am always in awe of your creations and the recipes you manage to develop *without* eggs and butter. You’re a true talent, woman!

  • Reply Michelle @ Hummingbird High 25 February 2016 at 8:52 AM

    dude this is everything i want. pretzel waffles??? mothafreakin’ genius.

  • Reply Samantha 25 February 2016 at 9:47 AM

    Omg, Yum!!

  • Reply Sara @ Cake Over Steak 25 February 2016 at 10:20 AM

    Ohmygod pretzel waffles. Life made.

  • Reply Brianne @Natural Girl Modern World 25 February 2016 at 12:41 PM

    Oh man, I need these right now! Can’t wait to try out this recipe:D

  • Reply Randle 25 February 2016 at 1:11 PM

    Wowza these look amazing, Ashlae. So amazing I swore but then deleted so as not to offend. :P Do you recommend a waffle iron? I think this recipe just put me over the edge on justifying a single-use appliance.

    • Reply Ashlae 25 February 2016 at 3:07 PM

      Hi Randle –

      Don’t ever feel the need to sensor yourself on OLC. Swear to your heart’s content – ’cause I sure as hell do. ;) OF COURSE I recommend a waffle maker. Especially the Croquade! It’s a dream (says the lady who used to own three cheapie waffle makers).

  • Reply Maya | Spice + Sprout 25 February 2016 at 1:15 PM

    ahhh it is my dream to own a waffle maker! I know I know, that is a very achievable dream but student budget + procrastination means that looking at these is a close as I will get for a while – they are so dreamy <3

  • Reply Yvette 25 February 2016 at 1:44 PM

    Would these waffles hold up for a while in a display unit for sale? I operate a cafe and we make waffles, but our recipe goes soft fairly quickly after decorated

    • Reply Ashlae 25 February 2016 at 3:03 PM

      Hi Yvette –

      Unfortunately I couldn’t tell ya. It’d be worth a shot!

  • Reply Elizabeth 25 February 2016 at 2:00 PM

    PRETZEL WAFFLES. buying that waffle maker asap

  • Reply Amy | Lemon and Coconut 25 February 2016 at 4:09 PM

    D’you know I’ve never had a sweet waffle. I haven’t lived they look so fantastic :)

  • Reply Gemma 25 February 2016 at 4:13 PM

    This recipe is killing me! Oh my goodness…! I got a super awesome Lagrange waffle maker for Christmas and tried some ‘healthy’ waffle recipes. BUT I just can’t wait to try a really decadent, luscious and ah-mazing recipe like yours! :-)


  • Reply Erica 25 February 2016 at 6:34 PM

    You have mad decorating skills – waffle game is ON POINT.

  • Reply Clem @ The Vegan Cookie Fairy 26 February 2016 at 2:16 AM

    I think it’s safe to say you’re a total GENIUS. I was always more a fan of Brussels waffles when I was growing up (topped simply with whipped cream and powdered sugar) and thought the Liege ones were a bit gross what with all the pearl sugar inside… but now I’m actually craving those chunky waffles with the caramelised, crispy edges. I’d totally eat this for breakfast too – ‘too sweet’ is not in my vocabulary.
    I’d never heard of a soda bath before, how did you come up with that??

    • Reply Ashlae 26 February 2016 at 6:21 AM

      Hi Clem –

      You’re my kinda lady! ;) The pearl sugar is a bit indulgent BUT I only use half a cup so I feel like the waffles aren’t overly sweet.. until you douse them in powdered sugar and hot fudge sauce. A baking soda bath is what people in the States (and perhaps elsewhere) use to give their pretzels a crispy, golden finish. Many people also use lye, though I didn’t feel like breaking out the safety goggles for these waffles.

  • Reply Molly 26 February 2016 at 2:51 AM

    These look incredible! You are a beast, girl!

  • Reply Emily 26 February 2016 at 12:43 PM

    So, I am not cool at all and had no idea what a liege waffle was before this post… but thanks to google and you, I am feeling hip and informed now. :) I think I finally need to splurge and get one of those Croquade waffles irons because I want to make waffles just like you! Do you have any of those extra plates? Waffle cone maker looks super fun, but I wonder how much I’ll use it. Anyways, you dressed these beauties up just perfectly and it all looks completely scrumptious.

    • Reply Ashlae 26 February 2016 at 1:04 PM

      Yo babe –

      The Croquade is a dream! Go for it. I actually got an ice cream cone maker prior to purchasing the Croquade, or else I’d probably have it. :) I have the stuffed plate, two of the galette plates, and the heart plate. LOVE AND RECOMMEND ‘EM ALL! <3

      • Reply Emily 29 February 2016 at 6:30 AM

        Ryan says he wants to get it for my birthday this week. :) So excited- thank you!

  • Reply Natalie @muffinsandmiles 26 February 2016 at 4:18 PM

    Ummmm these look to die for! I can’t remember the last time I had waffles and now I have a serious craving. Your photos are BEAUTIFUL. Thanks for sharing!

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  • Reply Trina 27 February 2016 at 7:12 AM

    Pretzel waffles! Get into my belly! Cant wait!

  • Reply helen 27 February 2016 at 5:25 PM

    Hi, these look amazing, but there seems to be a typo in the measurement for coconut oil.

    • Reply Ashlae 27 February 2016 at 8:44 PM

      Hi Helen –

      Good catch! It’s fixed. :)

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  • Reply Renee Kemps 29 February 2016 at 1:08 PM

    Traditional or not, they look mind blowing good. That inside – so fluffy. The outside – so gorgeous golden brown. Those toppings!!! I mean, these look like the best of the best.

  • Reply Good (Food) Reads - With Two Spoons 2 March 2016 at 11:51 AM

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  • Reply Jonathan Hunter 4 March 2016 at 10:50 AM

    Oh my oh my, wow! How decadent. I love the pics and the well written recipe.
    I am going to have to give these a go tomorrow morning.

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  • Reply Abby | Lace & Lilacs 6 March 2016 at 10:54 AM

    These waffles are insanely GORGEOUS, Ashlae! Adore, adore, adooorrreee. And I heart you photos, too, of course.

  • Reply Fernando @ Eating With Your Hands 7 March 2016 at 2:46 AM

    Can’t believe what I just saw. Pretzel waffles! Sounds insanely good!

  • Reply Kendall 8 March 2016 at 2:13 PM

    This is making me want to buy a waffle maker!! Seriously looks amazing!

  • Reply Bethany @ athletic avocado 17 March 2016 at 6:51 PM

    Pretzel waffles? I think I just died and went to heaven!

  • Reply Lauren Deegan 13 April 2016 at 2:56 AM

    I’ve been cutting down on sugar so I managed to make these waffles with very less sugar and it still managed to turn out good. But I wanted to let people know that it is possible to make with very little sugar.

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