I was talking to another friend about them once we were back home, and she happened to have pearl sugar, which is a key ingredient in the recipe. I first made these for my husband for his birthday breakfast, and then for my sweet friend who gave up her sugar for the sake of my experimentation.
If you do want to make these the authentic way, you can find the pearl sugar at Ikea or amazon.com - it really is worth it, as they say in Food &Wine "the smooth balls of sugar add pops of sweetness and caramelize to make the exterior crisp" - yummy!
1 1/2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/3 cup lukewarm water
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
1 cup Belgian pearl sugar
In a small bowl, whisk the brown sugar and yeast into the lukewarm water and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle, mix the flour with the salt. Make a well in the center of the bowl and pour in the yeast mixture. Mix at a medium speed until shaggy, about 1 minute. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing for 20 seconds between each. Whisk the vanilla with the 1 cup of melted butter. With the mixer at medium-low, gradually mix in the butter until smooth, the batter will be thick and very sticky. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the batter rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour and 45 minutes.
Stir the pearl sugar into the risen batter. Cover again and let rest for 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 250F. Preheat a waffle iron and brush it with melted butter (I spray mine with non-stick cooking spray). Gently stir the batter to deflate. Using about 2 tablespoons of batter for each, cook the waffles according to the manufacturers directions until they are golden and crisp, brush the waffle iron with melted butter as needed. Transfer the waffles to plates or keep them warm in the oven (ours never last that long!) then serve.
Note: the batter can be prepared through step 1 and refrigerated overnight.
Recipe adapted from Food and Wine, November 2011
My kids had cinnamon rolls for breakfast at school one morning and discovered, they were now being served without icing! Since that is part of the yumminess, I attempted to make them at home - this really was an easy recipe, and delicious in the way warm sugary things are. I didn't have much cinnamon on hand, so made half of them with chocolate chips, which the kids LOVED!!
EASY CINNAMON ROLLS
1 package French vanilla cake mix
5 1/4 cups flour
2 envelopes active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
icing (recipe follows)
Stir the cake mix, flour, yeast, salt and warm water in a large bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85 degrees) free from drafts, for 1 hour.
Turn dough onto a well floured surface, divide in half. Roll each portion into 18 by 12 inch rectangles. Cover surface with softened butter, then sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar.
Roll up starting at long part and cut crosswise into 16 (1 inch) slices. Place rolls in a lightly greased 13 by 9 inch pan. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours.
Remove from refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
Bake at 350F for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden. Cool slightly, then ice while still warm.
2 cups confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine sugar, butter and vanilla and mix well. Add just enough milk to make a thick icing. You want it to be thick so as not to melt too quickly on the warm rolls.
Recipe adapted from Arkansas Democrat Gazette, March 2011