The stroopwafel – the king of Dutch biscuits?

On a recent visit to the Czech Republic our flight was delayed and took longer than expected. The wise virgins among us had made use of the plastic sandwiches offered on the flight, but they were curling at the edges and with sparse filling so I couldn’t face them. We met up with some Dutch colleagues at the airport, but due to being late we needed to head off immediately for our final destination which was a factory some two hours or so outside Prague.

They often come in pretty blue and white Delft patterned tins for tourist consumption

I tend to get car sick on an empty stomach and muttered about looking for some substinance but there was a general feeling that we should get going.

And then came an act of supreme generosity. A young Dutch colleague (just out of university) didn’t exactly offer me his last Rolo*, but he did offer free access to his supply of stroopwafel. Reader, I was grateful.

Stroopwafel are a type of dry wafer-waffle interleaved with a caramel and treacle filling. The caramel flavour is enhanced by the use of brown sugar in the making of the waffels.

Like so many good culinary inventions (think risotto Milanese, chicken Marengo, and so on) this particular treat is a biscuit developed out of the use of leftovers. A thrifty baker in the city of Gouda in, probably, the late 18th century, was trying to make waffles using old breadcrumbs and then sweetening them with a filling of syrup. It turned out to be an unusually successful combination.

A rather good thing to do with Stroopwafel is to put one on top of a hot cup of coffee and allow the heat to soften the layers of caramel….

I’m not giving a recipe because this is definitely a don’t-try-this-at-home culinary item – fiendishly difficult, and requiring all kinds of odd equipment.

Unbelievably, nowadays there is even a somewhat crazy Association of Stroopwafel Addicts.

This post is dedicated to Bart Rutjes.

Clip to watch – the last Rolo

*To get an idea of what I am alluding to when I talk about a ‘last Rolo’ watch the ad below, from a 1990s campaign.

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