Holland abroad is not only known for its wooden shoes and tulips but perhaps even more for stroopwafels, cookies made from pressed pizelle and filled with an extraordinary caramel filling. This typical Dutch cookie has been on my to-bake list for a long time. Yes, indeed you require a special waffle cone maker for the preparation but for some reason I have constantly postponed the purchase of it. But a few days ago I coincidentally ran into such a waffle maker and it was also on sale, so I didn’t have to think twice and bought it for myself. Finally I could get to work with something which was on my mind for a long time; preparing stroopwafels myself.
The stroopwafel is a unique Dutch cookie which is consumed already for centuries in Holland. The history of the stroopwafel goes way back to 1784. A baker from the city of Gouda (yes, also known for its cheese) then baked a waffle made from cookie crumbs and leftover dough scraps, he added some spices to it and filled it with syrup. Et voilà, the stroopwafel was born. In fact, at that time the syrup which was used was a waste product, and therefor cheap, so this cookie became very popular among the poor. Being a real Gouda product nowadays, almost every bakery in Gouda has his own recipe, scrupulously kept secret from the outside world.
Back then stroopwafels only were available in Gouda, but today you can buy them anywhere and they are very popular, in every corner of the world. Especially in the US, stroopwafels are hugely popular, more or less introduced by Dutch immigrants who settled in the course of centuries and actually began to sell them in their new country. What is new is that in recent years new businesses anywhere in the US are trying to introduce stroopwafels by the Americans themselves and therefor in America nowadays, they’re a huge growing industry. Also at the dawn of the Internet age, the sales of stroopwafels got a huge boost, but where they were first sold online, you can get them now on virtually every farmer’s market, mall or whatever. Often there’s a long queue at the stroopwafel vendors (baking stroopwafels simply takes some time), but Americans do not mind to wait for something delicious (unlike some Dutch who get angry when they have to wait half an hour). By the way, not all the stroopwafel makers give their product the original Dutch name. Some call them ‘stroopies’, others sell them as ‘strooples’. A company of a Dutch family who emigrated to California, even calls his stroopwafels ‘Besties’ (a funny name by the way).
The genuine stroopwafels are prepared according to a traditional recipe. First, the waffle dough is prepared after which it is divided in little balls. The balls then are baked by squeezing them in a waffle maker. After that they’re cut in half and then the specially prepared syrup (stroop) is spreaded on them. Although this sounds simple, there’s some attention, skill and especially ‘working fast’ needed, to prepare them to be successful.
First you need a waffle cone maker. Fortunately, this is not such a big problem, a common waffle cone maker works just fine and can be bought for a reasonable price in any mall, or you do it simple by buying it, very easily, online. Baking the waffle is relatively easy, although it has to be done carefully and fast. Also you have to be careful not to burn your fingers because the waffle maker becomes very hot during use and also the waffle is extremely hot when you take it from the iron. After baking it, the waffle immediately has to be cut in half, because once cooled, it’s impossible to cut anymore and will fall apart when trying to cut it. The most challenging in the preparation of stroopwafels definitely is proceeding with the syrup. You must ensure that, once prepared, it will remain spreadable and not turn into a hard lump of caramel. This is what I mean with working fast, because this allows you to avoid solidification of the syrup. Should the syrup become too hard while preparing the stroopwafels, then you can reheat it briefly (30 seconds maximum) on very low heat, while stirring with a wooden spoon, and then immediately go ahead with the preparation of the waffles again. Probably preparing stroopwafels yourself will not be a successful project immediately, but let me put it this way: always persevere and don’t let yourself be put out by it, after all, practice makes perfect.
I’m almost certain you’ll be eager to prepare the next batch once you see these little babies, who you gave birth to, flaunt on your serving plate and who you’re going to serve with much pride (or going to eat by yourself, which I completely understand). At least, that was the case with me after having them prepared.