Happy April, dear friends! Spring is gracing the island with its presence. Listening to the birds chirping outside my window on a gorgeous day and seeing sunlight stream in is pure bliss.
Craving for something sweet as a little pick-me-up treat, I returned to my snack stash to browse through its current members and select the one that matched the spring vibes I was feeling. My spring-filled thoughts began with colorful flower fields, tulips and windmills. From there, I could also visualize bicycles (and pedestrians dodging the bicycles – this is absolutely relatable here in the Lion City!) riding on bridges that cross over canals, and the houseboats that call these canals home. I realized exactly which treat I was gravitating towards… stroopwafels from The Netherlands!
Lately, stroopwafels have been popping up in my snack browses in the island. Normally, they are seen in cafés (including Starbucks), but they have since arrived on the shelves in some shops and in online shop browses. Hence, I couldn’t resist adding a box to my snack stash. The box of stroopwafels I bought is by a brand called Daelmans, which has been around since 1909.
Moreover, I wanted to experience something I had learnt recently: the art of eating stroopwafels! Apparently, there is a certain recommended way to enjoy the stroopwafels that are sold at the shops. I thought I’d give it a go in the names of fun and curiosity. But before having a bite, I slipped into my sleuthing boots to take a little peek into the sweet world of stroopwafels.
The Stroopwafel Story
‘Stroop’ means syrup in Dutch, and ‘wafel’ refers to the two thin waffle-looking biscuits/cookies that sandwich a decadent ‘stroop’. The stroop is essentially a caramel syrup/sauce with a touch of cinnamon. The waffles aren’t ordinary cookies or waffles. From what I’ve discovered, there are a few takes on the waffle cookies – some might use wheat flour (like the ones I bought), and others may choose to either add yeast (which is seen in many recipes) or select a yeast replacement.
My virtual sleuthing trail began in stroopwafel’s hometown, which is a place called Gouda. Side note: yes, it is really called ‘Gouda’ as in ‘gouda cheese’ – the cheese was named after the city. Based on the countless stroopwafel sources that appeared in my sleuthing (which agree more or less with one another), the gist of its backstory is that a baker had transformed the crumbs of some baked goods into a spiced delight, which was paired with a sweet syrup.
Fast forward to today, the humble stroopwafel is an icon which is often added to many foodies’ lists of must-try eats when exploring the Dutch food scene. It is a common street food find, and it is also available in bakeries. Some places even specialize in stroopwafels with an edge: these include bedazzling the cookies, and dipping them in chocolate. And there are stroopwafels that come in boxes, like the one I couldn’t wait to open.
Packaging & Unboxing
From the moment my eyes first spotted this box on the shelf during an impromptu visit to a sweets/chocolate shop, I was drawn to its design details. Its design seems to be inspired by Dutch delft tiles, with the blue and white patterns. The two illustrations on the ‘tiles’ are quintessentially Dutch, and they feature a windmill and a happy couple donning traditional outfits.
While the box celebrates Dutch heritage, the cookies’ packaging adds to the illusion of visiting The Netherlands, without hopping on a plane. Simply from how they are wrapped, they look like they’ve arrived from a Dutch bakery! As I couldn’t resist admiring the neatly-arranged stack of 8 stroopwafels, it didn’t take long for the cookies to call my name and say “eat me!”
Taste Test: Part 1
My first stroopwafel, which was tasted as-is directly from the box, is firm yet soft. To me, it is sort of in-between American-style cookies and European-style biscuits. Cinnamon’s note – which enters via the stroop filling – stands alongside caramel’s sweet signature flavor, and they harmonize perfectly. The caramel component in the stroop’s overall flavor profile vaguely reminds me of both caramel-based and chewy toffee candies.
The smooth caramel filling isn’t overly sticky, but it binds the two waffle biscuits together excellently. The waffle cookie pieces, which are pleasant to my palate, aren’t super crunchy and they collaborate closely with the caramel stroop. As it turns out, the treat is indeed supposed to be soft, according to the box’s description.
Taste Test: Part 2
With excitement, I attempted the famous stroopwafel-eating method. Aside from the stroopwafel, all you need is a mug of your preferred hot beverage. It is simple: place the stroopwafel on the mug’s rim for a minute, or longer depending on the instructions, and voila. You’ve got a transformed biscuit.
I chose to pair my stroopwafel with Japanese green tea (one of my all-time favorites) as I was seeking a light flavor contrast to the sweet and cinnamon-y cookie. After giving my cookie a smidgen more than the recommended minute for added measure, I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into it. The cookie was certainly warm, which brought the feel of having a cookie that had been resting outside for some time after sitting in the oven.
The highlight for me is the caramel’s transformation, as it becomes gooey and glistens like good old thick caramel sauce. The food science didn’t stop there: the waffle biscuits did soften too, and the cookie surface that was facing my tea directly was moister due to the magic of convection (i.e. hot air rises).
It’s like dipping the tips of your toes into the territory of biscuit dippers (no pun intended), but minus soaking or dunking your biscuit in your drink. Even though I’m not a biscuit dipper myself, I appreciated the experience. Additionally, I must add that green tea’s earthiness is splendid with this treat.
All in all, I enjoyed both stroopwafels as they are special in their own ways. I certainly had fun in this foodie adventure!