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Belgian Waffles: More to Brussels than Sprouts
A big, fluffy star of the breakfast menu is the belgian waffle. Learn how it rose so high with Groupon’s look at its history and recipe.
The thick belgian waffle’s especially deep divots frequently hold butter, syrup, or whipped cream, but when they first debuted they were covered in nothing but strawberries. Waffles weren’t anything new to Belgian diners when chef Walter Cleyman brought his thick, fluffy variety to the Brussels World’s Fair in 1958, yet his recipe—which he called Brussels waffles—became a hit. In 1962, he brought them to the Seattle World’s Fair, where he sold more than 500,000, licensed the recipe to a local restaurant, and helped start a craze that finally took people’s minds off the Hokey Pokey.
Previous schools of waffle-making often simply poured pancake batter into a waffle iron. What set Cleyman’s waffles apart from the pack was the addition of beaten egg whites, which added fluffiness, plus yeast to make them rise and add an extra tang from the fermentation. In Belgium, they’re still huge and still called Brussels waffles. Meanwhile, US breakfasters call them belgian waffles, although the recipe has evolved over time and boasts a number of variants.