THEY MELTED… THEY BUBBLED… THEN THEY GOT ABSORBED IN THE SWELLING CUSHIONS OF THE CRISPY EDGED, SOFT HEARTED, BUTTERY AND CHEWY BRIOCHE WAFFLES
You know how like in the movies, when they really want to make you feel sorry for a certain character, let it be the sweetest human being or the most hated villain, doesn’t matter, that all they have to do is to show you a scene where he/she comes home to a dimly lit kitchen, where his/her inner loneliness get stripped naked in front of an even emptier fridge? Yes, empty fridge. What is it about an empty fridge that so tenderly strokes our sympathy? I mean that trick works every time. I mean, even the most stone-hearted audiences would feel something, must feel something, if they see… I don’t know, Darth Vader, after slaughtering a whole village of Ewoks, comes back to his space-chamber behind closed doors, and starts eating a half-empty jar of mustard with stale crackers (with that labored breathing oh god I’m gonna cry…). I mean, that shit is just sad.
But lately, I’m starting to feel the opposite about my fridge.
I think, no, I believe, that if I were to take a photo from the inside of my fridge at any given moment in the past several months, it would probably strike a close resemblance of a jacuzzi pool, inside the Playboy’s Mansion, on a New Year’s Eve in the 80’s, right before countdown. Or at the very least, the kind of chaotic and repulsive glut that I would imagine it to be… There had been clearly some management issues, I admit. It had gotten to a point where I actually cracked an egg with just my index finger, in the failed effort to rest it in between a head of cabbage and a jar of peanut butter, which sat on top a pot of stew next to 3 bags of kimchi. I mean, it’s not the same kind of sadness, but this shit is just as bad.
So yesterday, I had to do something. I committed what I would call, an inventory genocide, where I killed half of the population inside my fridge, ruthlessly, purely based on the justification of… well, illogical madness. Anything that I couldn’t remember who or what or when or how it got here, or simply because it looked at me the wrong way, must go. Just 5 minutes in, I could already see a ray of the fridge-light breaking through a cloud of blackened asparagus. But just when I was red-eyed amidst my efficient bloodbath, I reached deep down to a corner of the fridge, and something stopped me dead on my track.
A box of forgotten but pristinely delicious, ground peanut brittle from the making of this. I couldn’t… I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. It looked so innocent, so sinless, in fact, completely filled with scrumptious roasted peanut flavours and practically, did I mention, ground salted caramels! What kind soulless human being would I be if I put ground salted caramel to sleep!? I must figure out a way to do them justice… and in a way, looking back now, I think that I have always known what it would be, the most buttery brioche waffle I have been wanting to sink my fingers in for quite some time now. They call it, the liège waffles, the Belgian waffles, the yeasted dough practically drowned in butter then strangled with pearl sugar, browned and melted in between the searing teeth of a hot waffle-griddle, and it sounded just like the beautiful, alternative death for my well deserved victim. I mean, what is a pile of ground roasted peanuts and crushed salted caramel, but the perfect brioche stuffing?
They melted… they bubbled… then they got absorbed into the swelling cushions of the crispy edged, soft hearted, buttery and chewy brioche waffles, while the rest of the undeserving fridge-scraps watched, howling in jealousy. Not a bad way to go… not a bad way to go at all.
Brioche/liege waffle dough is halved and slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen
- 1/3 cup (80 grams) whole mik
- 2 tbsp (30 grams) water
- 2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg
- 1 tbsp (12 grams) light brown sugar
- 1 1/4 tsp instant dry yeast
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 7 tbsp (100 grams) unsalted butter, softened
- Ground peanut brittle as instructed here, or you can ground any type of store-bought brittles the same way
- Honey to drizzle
- TO MAKE THE DOUGH: Combine whole milk and water in a glass, then microwave on high for approx 50 seconds. It should feel very warm but doesn't burn, around 110F/43C (this will help the dough start faster). Transfer into a stand-mixer bowl with dough-hooks, or large bowl with hand-held mixer with dough-hooks, along with all-purpose flour, egg, light brown sugar, instant dry yeast, vanilla extract and salt. Knead on low until all ingredients are evenly incorporated, then on medium speed for 3 min until smooth and elastic. The dough should be slightly sticky at this point. Start kneading in the butter, 1 tbsp at a time. Only add the next when the previous addition has been fully incorporated, about 2 min for each tbsp. Once all the butter's been added, knead on high speed for 3~4 min, until very shiny, smooth and elastic.
- Cover with plastic-wrap and let proof for 1:30 ~ 2 hours, until fully doubled, then punch out the air and transfer to a working surface (the dough is so buttered up, you won't need to flour), and divide into 8 equal portions. Flatten 1 portion out into a flat disk about 1/4" thick (7 mm), then set on top of a small bowl (the natural dent will make the stuffing easier). Place 2 tbsp of ground peanut brittle in the center, then bring the edges of the dough together over the top and pinch tightly to seal. Try to make sure there's no holes or tears. Set aside and repeat with the rest (if there seems to be butter oozing out of the dough, it's totally fine).
- You can now either let the stuffed brioche proof again at room-temperature for 40 min, or space them over a sheet-pan covered with plastic-wrap and leave in the fridge overnight. I did this at room-temperature, but the overnight-method will result in better flavours. The brioche will expand and almost doubled again.
- TO COOK: Preheat your Belgian-style waffle-griddle on medium-high heat. There's no need to oil the griddle. Place 1 brioche in the center and cook according to the manufacture's instruction, for about 5~6 min until golden browned on both sides. If any peanut brittle oozed out of the waffle during cooking, just wipe them away before cooking the next. Place the cooked brioche on a cooling rack and repeat with the rest. Serve immediately with drizzled honey.