The stroopwafel (literally translated as “syrup waffle”) is something of a rags to riches story. Its rise from a poor man’s food to a sweet treat for everyone has made it much loved both within the Netherlands and abroad. So put the kettle on, kick back, and take some time to chew on the origins of this biscuit plus its recipe for success. Know how and where to eat this delicious Dutch treat!
What is it made of?
First of all – just what is a stroopwafel? This morsel consists of two thin, circular waffles pressed flat on a pizzelle iron, which then imprints a distinct checked pattern. The baked waffles are then sandwiched together with a sweet, sticky syrup and the edges finely trimmed. The result is a mouthwatering biscuit (or ‘cookie’) with a slightly crisp outer and delicious ooey-gooey-rich-and-chewy centre.
How did it come to be?
The history of this beloved waffle in Europe stretches back centuries, with records from the 7th century detailing the consumption of the said treats. By the 13th century, waffles were important enough in the Netherlands to merit an official waffle bakers guild.
The exact origins of stroopwafel are an original mystery of history. The only thing that’s known for certain is that the iconic Dutch treat was conceived in Gouda. Sources have stated that the first stroopwafel was made anytime from the late 1700s to the mid-1800s. The identity of the inventor is also speculative but it was generally agreed that it was created by a humble baker.
The initial prototype was made from bakery leftovers – or crumbs to be precise – pressed flat with a waffle iron. Unfortunately, the first batch of waffles was too dry and crumbled in the baker’s hands. To remedy the situation, it was decided that they were to be sandwiched together with syrup. Over time, an official stroopwafel recipe then evolved to incorporate flour, butter, sugar, yeast, egg, milk and cinnamon.
Being made up from leftovers mean that early stroopwafels were a cheap treat and easily affordable for the lower class within the country. Hence they were initially branded armenkoeken, or “poor peoples biscuits”. By the 19th century, there were over 100 stroopwafel bakers in Gouda. Today there are only four left in existence, largely owing to the automation of production.
Stroopwafels has also become a popular export, with various countries now taking advantage of the phenomena and producing their own. They are known by a variety of interesting monikers. In Morocco, they are called Amsterdam Delights while in Brazil, they’re Happy Waffles. In the US, however, they’re given a variety of names, including Dutch Moon Cookies, Stroopies, Strooples, Besties and Swoffles.
How do you eat a stroopwafel?
What you will need:
- The ooey-gooey stroopwafel you want
- A cup whose mouth is a little smaller than your stroopwafel
- Freshly brewed coffee or tea. Warm water will also do but the flavours will be different
- One minute of patience
- Go out and buy your special biscuit and have it at the ready. Resist your temptation to eat it straight away, and set it aside.
- Brew your fresh coffee or tea and make sure it’s still piping hot where you can see the steam coming off.
- Place your stroopwafel on top of your cup like a lid (see why it needs to be smaller?).
- Wait for one minute or until the caramel in the middle has melted.
- And that’s it! Enjoy your stroopwafel with your cuppa.