A Belgian waffle is no ordinary waffle. Yeasted dough instead of batter, pearl sugar to add a delightful crunch, and a dedicated Belgian waffle iron create extra-thick waffles with deep pockets.
Pour warm milk into the bowl of a stand mixer, then sprinkle yeast and brown sugar on top. Let sit for 5 minutes or until the yeast begins to foam. Mix in eggs, melted butter, vanilla, and salt on low with a whisk attachment.
Slowly incorporate 3 cups of the flour while mixing on low with a dough hook until mixture is smooth, then add remaining ½ cup flour and continue mixing for 2 minutes. Gather the dough into a ball and grease the sides of the bowl, placing the dough in the middle. Cover bowl and set somewhere warm to rise for 30 to 60 minutes, until doubled in size.
Heat waffle iron while prepping the dough. (If your iron has an adjustable temperature gauge, start on medium.) Lay dough out onto a floured surface and flatten a bit. Sprinkle pearl sugar on top and fold it into the dough, then divide into 10 balls. Grease waffle iron with cooking spray. Place a piece of dough in the middle of the waffle iron, close, and cook 4 to 6 minutes, until the color turns toasted brown in the center. If sugar begins to burn, turn down the heat. Set on a wire rack to cool. Cooked waffles can be frozen for up to two months.
Per serving: 406 calories, 15 grams fat (9 grams saturated fat), 75 milligrams cholesterol, 238 milligrams sodium, 70 grams total carbohydrates, 0 grams fiber, 2 grams protein.
FILLING: In a medium bowl, beat egg yolks with 1/2 cup sugar for 1 minute, then whisk in cornstarch. Set aside. In a medium saucepan, slowly bring 2 cups milk to a boil. Remove from heat and slowly drizzle hot milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly until all milk has been incorporated, then transfer back to the saucepan and bring to a light boil, whisking constantly until thickened. Remove from heat and add butter and 2 teaspoons of vanilla, stirring until smooth. Transfer back to bowl, place plastic wrap directly on top of the filling, and refrigerate.
CAKE: Grease two 8-inch cake pans. In a large mixer, beat butter, 1 1/2 cups sugar, and oil until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Incorporate the eggs and 2 teaspoons of vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Add half the dry ingredients into the batter and lightly mix. Add 1 1/4 cups of milk and mix fully. (It may look a bit lumpy at this stage.) Finish mixing in the dry ingredients, until just incorporated.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Divide batter evenly between cake pans and bake 22 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out dry. Allow to cool 5 minutes, then turn over onto cooling racks. When cakes are completely cooled, shave any rounding off the tops. Place first cake layer on a serving platter and with a spatula, spoon and smooth out filling across the top. Place second cake layer on top.
GANACHE: Combine chocolate chips and corn syrup in a medium bowl. Heat heavy cream until just boiling, then pour it over the chocolate. Let sit 1 to 2 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Pour melted chocolate in the center of the cake, then spread out toward the edges, letting some of the chocolate drip down the sides. Refrigerate cake until ready to serve and refrigerate leftovers for 2 to 3 days.
Note: The filling can be made 2 days ahead and the cakes the day before. Make the ganache right before assembling.
Per serving: 690 calories, 36 grams fat (20 grams saturated fat), 226 milligrams cholesterol, 370 milligrams sodium, 83 grams total carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 12 grams protein.
In a small bowl, beat eggs with 3 teaspoons water, salt, and pepper. The next paragraph of steps can be done in two skillets simultaneously or in one skillet consecutively.
In a 10-inch skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add ham, onion, and bell pepper. Cook and stir until vegetables soften and lightly brown, about 5 minutes, then remove from heat. Generously coat a clean 10-inch skillet with cooking spray and place over medium-low heat. Carefully pour in eggs and cover with lid. Let cook untouched for 5 minutes until they are a little wet but not runny. Sprinkle cheese across the whole skillet and spoon ham and vegetables over one half. Cover with lid and cook another minute to melt the cheese.
Remove lid and lightly run a spatula around the edges of the eggs to loosen. Carefully fold cheese side over the ham side and slide omelet onto a plate. Serve with potatoes, simple salad, or toast.
Per serving: 308 calories, 23 grams fat (11 grams saturated fat), 417 milligrams cholesterol, 770 milligrams sodium, 4 grams total carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 20.5 grams protein.
In a microwavable bowl, mix together rice vinegar, sugar, and salt. Microwave in 20-second increments, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Set aside. Rinse rice in a mesh strainer until water runs clear. Place rice and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stir once, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 15 to 20 minutes until water has been absorbed. Immediately transfer rice to a large bowl and cut in vinegar mixture using a large, flat spoon. Allow rice to cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
Fill a small bowl with water and lay a sushi rolling mat out flat with a layer of plastic wrap on top. Lay one sheet of nori on top, long side closest to you and rough side facing up. Dip fingers in water and spread about a cup of rice in an even layer across the nori and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Cover with another layer of plastic wrap on top, then flip over so nori is facing up. Set aside top layer of plastic wrap.
In a horizontal row 1 inch from the bottom edge, place a thin row of cucumber, then above it a row of crab, then a row of avocado. Holding onto the closest edge, tightly roll away from you, peeling the mat and plastic wrap away along the way, rolling tightly and pressing down when you reach the other end. Transfer roll to a cutting board.
With a thin, sharp knife, make a quick slice in half, then line the two halves up and quickly slice in thirds, rinsing the knife after each slice. Repeat steps above to make 4 more rolls. Serve with your choice of toppings within an hour of making.
Tips: A mandolin works great for creating thin, even slices of cucumber. Uncoated wooden or bamboo bowls and utensils are ideal for handling the rice, as they absorb the steam while the rice cools.
Per serving: 445 calories, 10 grams fat (2 grams saturated fat), 18 milligrams cholesterol, 691 milligrams sodium, 70 grams total carbohydrates, 5 grams fiber, 12 grams protein.