Add Some Brown Sugar To Your Waffle Batter For A Burst Of Caramel Goodness

If you're making waffles from a boxed mix, there are plenty of ways to make them taste better. You can substitute the water for milk or buttermilk, use melted butter instead of vegetable oil, or even add vanilla extract. But what if you're making waffles from scratch? Since the batter already calls for those ingredients, upgrading the flavor calls for a bit more creativity. You can always add toppings like berries and fruit, and of course, there's always the option of drowning it in maple syrup or dusting on some powdered sugar.

However, if you enjoy your waffles on the plain side, there's another way to improve their taste without having to go overboard with all the extra ingredients. As it turns out, a little brown sugar goes a long way when it comes to waffles, and when you add it to the batter, it adds a caramel-like sweetness to the final product.

How much brown sugar should you add to waffle batter?

Waffle batter already calls for sugar, so you want to substitute it for brown sugar, not add more in addition. Not only would this make the waffles overly sweet, but it would also change the texture. Sugar's role in waffle batter isn't just to provide flavor, it's also responsible for browning, which in turn creates crispy edges. At the same time, sugar inhibits gluten formation, allowing the inside of the waffle to remain soft.

When you use brown sugar instead of regular sugar, the same thing happens except you also get that caramelly flavor as well as a more tender waffle. The reason for this is that brown sugar is hygroscopic. In other words, it's more acidic than regular sugar and also contains more molasses, it better retains the moisture in the batter. Using brown sugar therefore will result in a waffle that's extra soft and moist yet still caramelized.

A shortcut to liege waffles

If you've ever tasted a liege waffle before, you'll understand why Belgium is known for its waffles. This variety of Belgian waffles is different because instead of a wet batter, it's made with a dough that has pearl sugar, or clumps of crystalized sugar mixed into it. The clumps of sugar sitting on the surface of the waffle caramelize to a slight crisp, while the ones on the inside hold their shape rather than melt away during the cooking process due to the fact that the sugar is crystallized.

Because of the caramelization that occurs, the flavor that results is a lot similar to that of waffles made with brown sugar. Unfortunately, liege waffles are not as simple to make. The process requires kneading the sugar into the dough, and unless you have store-bought Belgian pearl sugar, you have to make your own sugar crystals from scratch. If you don't want to go through the extra effort though, you can still get that similar sugary flavor just by adding brown sugar.