Bubble Waffles for Snacking Fun

By Kelli Foster, TheKitchn.com | January 10th, 2022

A habit-forming snack with unlimited topping ideas


bubble waffles for snacking fun, topped with strawberries and blueberries. This recipe is worth getting a fun, new waffle maker. Image

This popular street food snack originated in Hong Kong in the 1950s, but at-home gai daan jai makers make bubble waffles for snacking fun accessible to anyone.


I’m not exaggerating when I say that bubble waffles are the most fun snack I’ve ever eaten. You deserve the same warning I gave my colleague, Lauren, when she told me she was trying these bubble waffles: You’re not going to be able to stop eating them. You’ll want to keep going back for one more bubble. (Spoiler: It will not be just one more bite.)

With soft and spongy, cake-like spheres and a crispy, crunchy web that just might remind you of a cookie, bubble waffles are totally irresistible and incredibly fun to eat. Also known as egg waffles, egg puffs, and puffles, bubble waffles are a popular street food snack that originated in Hong Kong in the 1950s. They’re commonly rolled into a cone and filled with colorful ice cream or whipped cream, but they’re also really delicious (and still totally impressive) served flat with a dusting of powdered sugar and fresh fruit. Or you can just pop them in your mouth one by one. There’s no wrong way to eat them.

What are bubble waffles?

The specific origin of bubble waffles, or gai daan jai, is unclear, but what we do know is that they were first made in Hong Kong after the war, most likely by a thrifty vendor trying to make the most of cracked or broken eggs by turning them into a humble pastry.

These days, there are shops and stands around the world selling bubble waffles, and you can even make them in your own kitchen.

Do I need special equipment to make bubble waffles?

Yes. You’ll need a bubble waffle maker to make bubble waffles. There are electric and stovetop bubble waffle makers. We’re partial to the electric version, as it’s easier to control the temperature.

Bubble waffles versus regular waffles

There are a few differences that set bubble waffles apart from American or Belgian-style waffles.

  • Bubble waffles look like a web of spheres that resemble mini eggs or bubble wrap, and have a taste that is sweeter and eggier.
  • Regular waffles have a grid-like appearance with deep wells, and a taste that’s subtly sweet.

Bubble waffle toppings

The toppings are a huge part of what makes bubble waffles so much fun to eat! Serve them flat piled with your favorite toppings, or fold the waffle into a cone and fill it up. The waffles are softest and most pliable when they’re hot, and firm up as they cool. So, if you plan to fold them into a cone, be sure to fold the warm waffle over a rolling pin or glass as soon as it comes out of the waffle maker.

As for toppings to enhance your bubble maker for snacking fun, the sky’s the limit. Here are a few of the most popular toppings, as well as our favorites.

  • Ice cream
  • Whipped cream
  • Coconut whipped cream
  • Slice berries and fresh fruit
  • Candy
  • Sprinkles
  • Cookies
  • Chocolate sauce
  • Powdered sugar

Bubble Waffles for snacking fun

Makes 4 to 5 waffles

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Nonstick cooking spray

For serving (optional):

  • Whipped cream
  • Ice cream
  • Sliced strawberries
  • Fresh raspberries or blueberries
  • Powdered sugar
  • Nutella
  • Chocolate sauce
  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 200 F.
  2. Place 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 2 teaspoons cornstarch, 2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine. If you have one, use a spouted bowl.
  3. Lightly beat 2 large eggs in a medium bowl. Add 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup water, 3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and whisk to combine. Pour into the flour mixture and whisk until smooth and no streaks of flour remain.
  4. Heat the bubble waffle maker according to the manufacturer instructions. Spray both sides of the waffle maker with cooking spray.
  5. If not using a spouted bowl, transfer the batter to a large, spouted measuring cup. Pour the batter into the waffle maker, filling each well all the way. Do not worry so much about the space between the wells; if you try to cover the whole surface, you will overfill the waffle maker.
  6. Cook according to the manufacturer’s instructions, or for 2 minutes, then flip the waffle maker over and cook until golden-brown all over, 2 minutes more. Do not open the waffle maker until the cook time is up. (You will need 2/3 to 3/4 cup batter per waffle. Consult the manufacturer’s instructions for each model for specific guidelines.)
  7. Transfer cooked waffles to a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven. If you plan to fold and fill the bubble waffle, drape over a rolling pin or glass immediately after it comes out of the waffle maker, when it is soft and easily pliable. The waffle will firm up as it cools.

Recipe note: Although we recommend serving these right away, cooked and cooled waffles can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to three days or frozen for up to three months.


Kelli Foster is the food editor for plan and prep content for TheKitchn.com, a nationally known blog for people who love food and home cooking. Submit any comments or questions to editorial@thekitchn.com.

© 2021 Apartment Therapy. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Looking for a more familiar waffle? Try this recipe from America’s Test Kitchen

 

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