Beyond breakfast: the waffle cookie

When is a waffle not a weekend breakfast treat?

When it’s a sugar waffle. A crisp/crunchy, waffle-pocket cookie, a cookie touched with malt for darkly delicious flavor.

The Liège waffle, a distant cousin of this cookie, is the most popular waffle in Belgium. Featuring large, crunchy chunks of sugar that caramelize on the outside of the waffle as it bakes, these ubiquitous treats are vintage street food.

Without access to those mega sugar chunks, we Americans need to approach this treat from our own angle: with coarse white sugar. And with a typical American waffle batter, one leavened with baking powder rather than yeast, and baked in a flat iron, not the Belgian-style deep-pocket iron.

Speaking of which, did you know you can bake other types of cookie batter in a waffle iron, too? I’ve done brownie batter that way, making a chewy/crisp brownie perfect for those who love most the brownie’s crusty edges, rather than its soft heart.

And I’ve tried chocolate chip cookie dough, too. If you time it just right, you get a wonderfully chewy cookie; a bit too long in the iron, and you get a wonderfully chewy cookie with scorched chips.

Making cookies in a waffle iron is definitely one of those “wonder if this will work?” deals, but it’s a lot of fun experimenting. Peanut butter? Snickerdoodles? Molasses? Next time you’re making cookies, get that waffle iron out of the cupboard and bake up a bit of the dough. I’ll look forward to hearing your results.

But back to our crunchy sugar waffles. Before we get started, let’s review some ingredients.

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You might be under the impression that malted milk is chocolate.

Not so. This powdered sweetener, the key ingredient in old-fashioned malted milkshakes, is made from barley malt, wheat, milk, and a touch of salt: no chocolate in sight. Using a few tablespoons in waffle or pancake batter adds classic “diner-style” flavor.

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And here’s one of my favorite vanilla alternatives: vanilla-butternut extra-strong flavor. Think of butter-pecan ice cream; that’s what comes to mind every time I use this.

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Here’s the secret to sugar waffles: coarse white sparkling sugar. That’s regular granulated on the left; coarse white on the right. What a difference, huh? This is definitely something to keep in your pantry for sprinkling atop scones, muffins, and cookies.

And providing the sweet crunch in sugar waffles.

OK, let’s get started. The first thing you want to do is heat a regular American-style waffle iron. Not Belgian-style; not deep-pocket; just one of those old-fashioned irons that makes flat waffles.

A heart iron is nice, if you have one; but you can certainly make square waffle cookies, too. 

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Combine the following:

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
4 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract OR 2 teaspoons vanilla extract + 1/4 teaspoon vanilla-butternut flavor, or the extra-strong flavor of your choice

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Whisk till blended.

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In a separate bowl, whisk together the following:

1 1/2 cups (6 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 tablespoons malted milk powder (optional)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

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Add the dry ingredients to the liquid ingredients.

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Whisk to combine.

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No need to beat; just stir till everything is cohesive. A few lumps are OK.

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Add 1/2 cup coarse white sparkling sugar or pearl sugar. Is there a substitute for this? Not really; you need the coarseness of the crystals for these cookie/waffles’ crunchy texture.

In a pinch, you might try substituting Demarara sugar, which isn’t quite as crunchy as coarse white sugar. No guarantees, but I’m guessing it’ll add the desired crunchiness.

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Pour a scant half-cup of batter onto your preheated, lightly greased waffle iron.

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Bake the waffle until it’s a deep golden brown. This one was a bit underdone. It takes 8 to 12 minutes in our test kitchen waffle iron, depending on just how brown you like them. Don’t underbake; they won’t be crisp when they cool.

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Open the waffle iron, and use a flat knife, a spatula, or a couple of forks to transfer the waffle — which will be quite tender — to a rack to cool.

The waffles will be very delicate until they cool, so expect a few to tear.

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When the waffles are cool enough to handle, use a pair of scissors to cut them into pieces. Allow the waffles to cool completely, for maximum crispness.

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The scissors also works well to trim any rough edges.

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See the difference? Waffle on the left, rough; waffle on the right, manicured.

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Here’s my experiment with cooking the waffles different amounts of time. As I mentioned, 8 to 12 minutes resulted in the right amount of both rich flavor, and crispness/crunch.

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You may be just barely able to see the coarse sugar here.

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Cool completely, and serve.

Remember, these are cookies, not breakfast waffles. You need to wait for them to cool, so they can crisp up. Once they’re cool, they store nicely at room temperature for several weeks; just keep them tightly wrapped, to preserve their crispness.

Read, rate, and review (please) our recipe for Sugar Waffles.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. Jessica

    These look fantastic. I’ve often noticed that when I bake muffins with coarse sugar the tops are crispy and delicious—so much so that I try to always have coarse sugar on hand. Can’t wait to give these a try!

    Reply
  2. Kathy

    What a marvelously playful idea! Thanks for the reminder that bakers can play around, too. It never occurred to me that a waffle iron might work for other doughs!

    I have some pals who would associate Liege waffles with hazy memories of beer festivals. I’ll pass along this link to them.

    Reply
  3. Lish

    These look fantastic, but the only waffle iron I have is the deep belgian kind. Don’t suppose this would work in the pizzelle iron? That is the closest thing I have. I love the coarse sugar on cookies and scones, and muffins especially. The crunch it gives is so lovely. Glad to see another use for it. Thanks for a great new idea!

    Lish, I’d try simply adding some coarse sugar to a pizzelle recipe for added crunch – or, if you’re happy experimenting, sure, give this recipe a try in your pizzelle iron. Sounds like it would work, doesn’t it? PJH

    Reply
  4. Rosemarie Smith

    One thought on cutting the waffles. Instead of using scissors, try a pizza cutter. I have found that works great, sorta like a rotary cutter for fabric. I wish I had had this idea when doing my Christmas cookies.

    I wonder if this dough would work in a pizzelle iron?

    Yes, pizza cutter would be fine, too. And give it a try in the pizzelle iron, Rosemarie – necessity is the mother of invention, right? PJH

    Reply
  5. Monica

    I’m getting out my waffle iron as soon as I finish this post! Recently on a cooking show they featured a little waffle cabin at a ski resort that sells a products that sounds very similar to this. The dough they used looked almost like a bread dough and had the large sugar crystals in it. Hmmm, that makes me wonder what you could do with bread dough in a waffle iron!! Has anyone tried it? Will report back after I make these cookies.

    Since real Belgian waffles are yeast-leavened, that’s almost like bread dough – it would be interesting to do a savory bread dough in the iron and see what happens… Monica – you’re nominated! Report back if you try this, I’ll be interested to hear. Fry bread in a waffle iron? Sounds good to me! PJH

    Reply
  6. SoupAddict Karen

    Aacch, you guys are killing me! These are so cute, but I can’t buy another appliance. No. I can’t. [yes, you can] I shouldn’t. [yes, you should] There’s just no room. [yes, there is] I don’t have malted milk powder or coarse sugar [yes, you do].

    Okay, apparently I’ve run out of excuses….

    Karen, think of the fun you’ll have! Plus, waffles themselves are a VERY underutilized breakfast treat, in my humble opinion… PJH

    Reply
  7. Rosemarie

    I have only a deep Belgian waffle iron and a Krumcake iron! Of course, the krumcake iron is quite thin – do you think it might work? I believe you can use pizelle dough on it (but I’ve never tried it), but I have doubts about it working in reverse.

    Not sure, Rosemarie – try both of them, see which one works better. I’m betting the Belgian iron would be OK, maybe better than the krumkake, which is so ultra-thin… PJH

    Reply
  8. Lucy

    “I have a suggestion. I make my “X-mas” waffles on this heart shaped iron. I cut the “hearts” apart with a knife before removing from the iron. Then I remove the hearts with a fork. After removing, I then trim them with scissors. Works great!!

    Reply
  9. derek

    The waffles made in Liege are yeasted so have no problem rising in a real “Belgian Waffler” separating the eggs and beating the whites then folding them into the batter should approximate the yeast allowing you to use your Belgian Waffler…..

    Reply
  10. AJ

    This made me remember an early experience with my waffle iron.
    I had made a pot of ham and beans and mixed up my cornbread before
    I remembered the electronic ignition to the oven was out. I noticed my waffle iron on the counter and wondered…? It worked! So good were those cornbread waffles that I made them later on purpose.
    You’ve once again sparked my imagination…hmm…peanut butter waffle
    cookies. Thanks for the memory!

    Reply
  11. Kae

    OMG, I would like to run home right now and make some of these!!! I love this blog!! Next, could you try making french waffles? I mean the Danish style pastry Franske Vaffel, not gauffrettes. I have always wondered how puff pastry and waffle irons come together to make such a delicious treat. Any idea?

    Best to you all and Happy New Year!!

    Best to you, too, Kae – unfortunately, the Fransk Vaffel would take a lot more R & D time than we have personnel for. I Googled some recipes, and they’re all over the board – aside from trying to wade through the translations. If you ever figure them out, come back and share, OK? They sound delicious – from the little I could read about them. PJH

    Reply
  12. Amy

    Wonderful idea, and a great excuse to buy yet another appliance. I do have the Belgian waffle iron, and also the one that flips over (doesn’t really have deep pockets like the Belgian). The bread dough is intriguing, and now I’m wondering about cornbread too. I love it crispy and sweet – this might be just the ticket. I’m waiting for my Demerara sugar to arrive in my King Arthur order, which should be any day now. Once that comes, I’ll try the cornbread AND the waffle cookie idea too.

    Reply
  13. Sandy

    Oh Yummo!!! Those look fabulous! I can’t wait to try them for my 9 y/o grandson who lives just a block away. I think he is going to go wild over these cookies! And I have your Vanilla-Butternut flavoring and the Malted Milk Powder (purchased when I visited your store in Nov. while we were up in NH visiting the “cold country” grands.

    Reply
  14. JEB

    All the recipes I have found for the traditional Leige Waffle use Pearl Sugar. Can this be used in your recipe in place of the coarse white sugar?

    Indeed, the recipe calls for coarse sugar or pearl sugar, whichever you can get your hands on… PJH

    Reply
  15. MaryMcCl

    NEED to buy your waffle iron – I have one (think it’s a Black & Decker Sweetheart) but I really like the diamond pattern that yours has. Can you tell me the brand?

    Not sure of the brand, Mary. I really liked working with it, I can tell you that. PJH

    Reply
  16. Caroline

    I have an older model of this waffle maker and it is supreme! I have been making waffles in it once a month for the past eight years and they are beautiful every single time. It is one of my treasured pieces of kitchen equipment. Invest in it and you will not be sorry!

    Love the idea for other cookie batters too.

    Reply
  17. Elaine

    You stirred a forgotten memory of wandering into a Bruges bakery and taking out a waffle totally crusted with sugar. That was one was thick, made as we know Belgian waffles and sweet as candy.

    I have made Brownie bits in my regular waffle iron, they are a fun thing.

    Reply
  18. Ann

    As soon as I read this recipe I just had to make these!!! I had all the ingredients, including a very fast waffle iron — which baked the cookies in about 2 minutes to a nice dark golden brown. When cooled, the cookies were tender yet crisp. Delicious!!

    I changed a couple things, though. My conscience wouldn’t let me use all that sugar and butter without some kind of compensation to assuage my guilt (I don’t make many fat/sugar-laden goodies, because I have to eat them . . .). Instead of the all-purpose flour, I used KA white whole wheat (6 1/4 oz.), and reduced the baking powder to 1 tsp. and the salt to 1/4 tsp to reduce the total sodium in the cookies. Didn’t seem to make any difference. The cookies rose nicely in the hot iron.

    Also, the instead of the demarara sugar I used turbinado (maybe they’re the same thing??) And I also used lemon extract (1/2 tsp) instead of the butternut. The slight lemon flavor is yummy!!!

    Ann, thanks so much for sharing all your substitutions – so useful for those wanting to experiment. Glad they worked well for you – PJH

    Reply
  19. stang stall

    I’m chewing on a piece of bread cooked in the waffle iron. Placed butter on the iron and then some bread dough. Cooked about 6 min. Wished I had soup to go with it. The bread rose and then flattened in the waffle maker.The idea came after I’d given a friend some of the dough from the recipe of 5 Min a day for fresh bread. She didn’t have an working oven so she made hers in a sandwich maker. She cooked hers about 15 min. She sliced hers horizontaly and had a turkey sandwich. I say, can’t ruin homemade bread.

    So it makes a nice, chewy bread, eh? Interesting – gotta try that! Thanks for sharing- PJH

    Reply
  20. Lish

    Ooh. . . I have some of that crusty white bread dough you blogged recently sitting in the fridge. Waffle rolls with dinner sound great! Would you let it rise fully first, or place straight from fridge? I am so excited to try this today! Or crust it with sugar and then bake in the waffle iron for a dessert roll?

    Waffle recipes can use sourdough that is unfed, also known as straight-from-the-refrigerator. The Sourdough Waffles or Pancakes recipe on our website is a terrific use for the unfed starter. Think of the waffle as a base for other dessert items, like ice cream topped with other sweet toppings, turning the combination of foods into a sundae. Have fun with the recipe and its many uses (breakfast entree, meal accompaniment or dessert) that we often overlook! Irene @ KAF

    Reply
  21. Ricardo Gonzalez - Petrópolis, R.J. - BRAZIL

    Hi, P.J.

    This is another comfort food i think so, it´s not common here in Brazil. Brazilians eat tons of one kind of biscuits we call Waffer, but waffles are not usually found here.
    I don´t know why it occurs. Maybe because the climate sunny and with shining sun all over the year, it let us to another choices not so hot when we think on these kind of foods!
    But for me, i loved Waffles and i think this variation is particularly cool! But, sincerely, i´m another one who almost never tastes waffles regularly, same as other Brazilians!
    We prefer Pão de Queijo…hahaha!!

    Anyway, i´ll give a try on this recipe!!
    Good post!

    And I’m definitely going to try Pão de Queijo, Ricardo – just waiting for a sliver of free time! PJH

    Reply
  22. Sue

    I’ve got to try these. They make me think of some cookies my sister in law brought back from England.
    Have fun! Hope you share with your sis. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  23. Holly

    Actually, Belgian candy sugar is readily available from brewing supply stores. It comes in large chunks, but a few whacks with a rolling pin brings them quickly down to the right size. ;-)
    Thanks for sharing Holly. It’s amazing how many supplies brewers and bakers share. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  24. Sandy DiMascio

    You can uise the waffle maker to make french toast waffles too. It works wonderfully and my grandchildren love them … even though they do not like french toast. Go figure. I hardly ever make regular french toast any more.

    WHOA, Sandy, that sounds super, too – thanks, I’ll try it. PJH

    Reply
  25. Pam

    These were easy and tasty, but watch your waffle iron carefully! With my iron, these were cooked in 4 minutes…the first ones almost burned because I was using the 8-12 minutes as a guide!

    Reply
  26. Kari

    Brownie in a waffle iron you say? Diabolical genius I say! Haven’t tried the waffle cookie yet, but the other day, suffering from a serious chocolate jones, I threw together a box (gac, I know, but time was of the essence!) of brownie mix, heated up the stove top waffle iron, and in two shakes was munching on a delicious, crispy brownie! I even shared with the hubby, who liked them so much he hid the leftovers in the garage, safe from the teenage destructo team. Thanks for a great idea, it will come in handy on camping trips, when the lack of an oven makes for interesting desserts!

    Reply
  27. TS in CT

    I looked through all the comments and am surprised that I seem to be the only person reacting to what seems an awful lot of butter in this recipe. Can it be reduced? My regular waffle batter has 3-4TB to 1 1/4c flour- and they are excellent waffles. Can a regular waffle recipe be adapted?

    Hi – That’s because these are cookies, not waffles. The butter makes them crisp/cookie-like, rather than soft/waffle-like. If you mean can you add coarse sugar to your regular waffle recipe, go for it – they’ll be tasty, I’m betting, but not waffle cookies. PJH

    Reply
  28. dan

    I’m just catching up on posts here. This is a great one. I just have to add that I’ve got a whole blog going on things like this: http://www.waffleizer.com. We’re tackling 30 recipes to see if they waffle. Biggest hit so far: Waffleburgers with waffled yeast-risen buns.
    Thanks for the link. The recipes look awfully (I mean waffully) good, and fun to boot. Keep up the good work!
    ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  29. Peter Creyf

    Hi all,
    I’m actually one of the owners of the waffle cabin – the other person is Ingrid.

    When making these waffles as we do (sorry our recipe is proprietary and has taken us years to perfect and still working on it), here’s a few hints to keep in mind…

    1. This is a yeast-raised dough. That means is needs to rise. A good size is that it should be about twice as big when you want to cook the waffle. You should see a bubbly action going on as this means the yeast is using the sugar and changing it into alcohol (don’t get too excited, is vaporized and too little to notice) and carbon dioxide. You need that action to make the waffles a bit fluffier (although it will still be very dense, especially compared to other waffles you know).

    2. One huge bit of advice is that you are probably using a waffle iron that has a Teflon coating (non-stick coating on it). (1) Using the pearl sugar may damage your waffle iron and (2) you may be eating bits of Teflon. Not good. What I suggest it to set a little bit of dough aside and to wrap your dough with the pearl sugar into this blanket of dough you have set asise that that you make into a small sort of pizza. It will save your waffle iron and is better for your health.

    3. As I said, although our recipe is proprietary, there are recipes to be found online (google belgian sugar waffle, but beware there are some not so good recipes on there as well), or go out and buy the book “Everybody eats well in Belgium (most of us do). It has many other recipes that you will love too I guess. (such as cooking with beer -mmm….)

    4. One of the ingredients is pearl sugar. You can buy this online (again, Google pearl sugar) but also here, beware, you want to large chuncks, not the Perl sugar which is much smaller and is more for decoration than this use. We do sell it too through our website http://www.wafflecabin.com although it is not my intention to promote our website or the pearl sugar we offer. Check around, I think you’ll find our prices are cheaper than anywhere else but other than that, any real pearl sugar will do.

    5. Last but not least… Use a better flour than your typical low-cost flour. I’d go out and buy some King Arhtur Flour from your grocery shop which should do nicely.

    I wish you all good luck on your quest. I wouldn’t mind considering setting up a FAQ in our website for people trying to make these, but it is very hard to find the line what information I can give out and what is too much. So I think for now I’ll stay away from that, but if you have a question that you think is quite general and not asking for proprietary information, I’m always willing to help – Peter.Creyf@wafflecabin.com.

    Cheers to you all and good waffle making !!!

    Peter Creyf

    Now I’m dying to try your waffles, Peter – too bad I’m not a skier! Your yeast-raised waffle is a typical Belgian treat, while our baking powder-leavened version is the more familiar American version. Sorry you don’t share recipes; maybe someday you’ll be so successful you’ll be able to do that. As for the pearl sugar damaging your waffle iron – perhaps your large pearl sugar would do that, but the small pearl sugar we sell simply isn’t large or hard enough to harm either metal or its Teflon coating, so no worries there. Best of luck this winter – hope the ski aras have lots of snow! PJH

    Reply
  30. Sara

    I wonder if maybe a bit of maple extract would add the the waffle-wanna-be-ness?! A little faux syrup if you will…

    ;)

    Something to try..

    We love the exchange of ideas here! Thanks for sharing yours…..Irene @ KAF

    Reply
  31. Taylor

    Thank you! These look great! I only have a belgion waffle maker..would this work too? Are these anything like the wafflecabin waffles found in ski resorts all along north east!?!?!? I heard those were made with dough but still?

    Taylor, Belgian waffler wouldn’t yield the same result, but give it a try – it’ll probably be yummy. It’s along the same idea as the “waffle cabin” waffles, only they use much bigger chunks of hard sugar, and a yeasted batter… PJH

    Reply
  32. D Smith

    Just finished making the waffle cookie. They are delicious–however, I should have read comments before baking. My first batch at 8 minutes were tossed-burned! I kept cutting back on the time, finally on my last remaining batter they came out with a very nice golden color, got crispy when cool, but only cooked 2 minutes. I must have a VERY HOT heart waffle iron!

    Some of our test kitchen irons have thermostats, so we get to choose how fast they go; lucky us! Susan

    Reply
  33. Shane McKinley

    Thanks for the great idea and recipe! Waffles are among our favorite breakfast items. The crunchier, the better for me so I will definitely be trying this out. Great photos and instruction. Cheers!

    Reply
  34. feigles

    THESE WAFFLE COOKIES R OH MY GOD WONDERFUL !!
    In Colorado today we got 19 ” of snow so I made a Pot of Creamy White Chicken Chili and then Baked these AWESOME COOKIES,
    Husband Rod is home today { my COOKIE MONSTER } …….Every time he goes by the cooling Waffles he sneaks one…….DEFINITLY A BIG HIT.
    WILL make them lots more, easy, NOT Messy, taste with Malted Milk Powder is FANTASTIC !
    Thanks for another GREAT Recipe.
    Blessings, Donna Marie

    Donna Marie, 19″ of snow – BRRRRR….. stay warm! Good for your ski areas, though. So glad you like these cookies – I’m a big fan of them, too… :) PJH

    Reply
  35. cwildwood

    Hello! Can the dough be frozen and baked later? Does that change the efficacy of the baking powder?
    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hello! I don’t believe this is something we have ever attempted. I don’t see why the batter couldn’t be frozen, though I would not do so for longer than 1 month. You can also freeze the baked waffles. Enjoy and happy baking! Jon@KAF

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