The Guilty Pleasure: Leige waffle Where to Get It: Chocolade Van Brugge Price: About $5 What it Really Costs: More calories than I'd like to think about
Situated in a part of Old Town Scottsdale that's mostly filled with expensive art galleries and fancy boutiques, Chocolade Van Brugge, a chocolate shop, is a bit of an unlikely find.
Then again, the boutique sweet shop sort of fits in perfectly -- just consider the $2.50 per truffle price tag. Chocolade Van Brugge justifies the price with the fact that the chocolates are imported from Belgium, and though they're certainly worth trying, what we really love are the shop's Liege waffles.
See also: Guilty Pleasure in a Jar: Biscoff Spread
First of all, you'll want to know that a Liege waffle isn't at all like a "Belgian waffle" you might eat for breakfast at IHOP. Those fluffy, square waffles are a mostly American invention (shocking, I know) and are basically a very simplified take on the more traditional Belgian treat. They're made with runny batter, and not thick, yeast-leavened dough.
Second, you should know that there are actually two types of Belgian waffles: Brussels waffles and Liege waffles. Brussels waffles are yeast-leavened, but they are lighter and have a more rectangular shape than their Liege counterparts.
Now to Liege waffles, or the kind you'll find at Chocolade Van Brugge. These waffles are made with a thick, bread-like dough that has balls of pearl sugar scattered throughout. To make these waffles you have to push and spread the heavy dough over a waffle iron, which means Liege waffles usually have a more irregular shape. They're also thinner.
What makes a Liege waffle so special is that the balls of sugar caramelize in the dough as the waffle cooks. That leaves a wonderful, crispy crust on the waffle that gives way to a thick, sweet center. This is no light, afternoon treat, but rather a rich and delicious dessert.
At Chocolade Van Brugge you can also top your waffle with chocolate or Nutella for a few extra bucks. We suggest going with the Biscoff spread option, in part because they use real Biscoff spread and not some cookie butter knock off. Made with Biscoff cookies -- a popular brand of spiced brown sugar cookies from the Netherlands -- this stuff complements the caramelized sugar of the waffle perfectly.
The melting cookie-flavored spread with the crunchy sugar and chewy waffle is a thing of beauty. Each bite offers rich, bread-y flavor but also a subtle, sugary crust.
The only warning we have to give is that if you've never had this type of waffle before, you may ruin American-style Belgian waffles for yourself forever. Oh, that and good luck walking out of Chocolade Van Brugge without dropping a nice chunk of change on chocolates. We found them to be too pretty to resist.