Grocery Ninja: Sticky, Caramelly, Stroopwafels

The Grocery Ninja leaves no aisle unexplored, no jar unopened, no produce untasted. Creep along with her below, and read all her mission reports here.

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Photograph from da mad pixelist on Flickr

Two impossibly thin, crisp, waffles enveloping gooey, buttery, caramel. I used to think that the alfajores my housemate’s grandmother lovingly sends from Argentina were my favorite cookies. But I do believe I’ve seen the light.

You see, it’s not just that these stroopwafels—hailing all the way from the Netherlands—taste amazing. They are also functional. They’re meant to be placed atop a steaming mug of coffee or tea, with three truly noble effects:

1. The rising steam from your beverage warms the cookie, causing the caramel within to get all hot and gooey

2. Because you will be placing your cookie atop your cuppa, it allows you to take a minute or two to sink into your seat, breathe, and relax before you get started on the day’s pressing matters

3. While the previous two things are occurring, the cookie is also keeping your beverage hot.

What’s not to love?

20081208stroopwafels.jpgFor a cookie of humble beginnings (they were originally made from bakery leftovers (crumbs!) in 1784) the stroopwafel commands an impressive following. So much so that the Association of Stroopwafel Addicts, with its board members, “honorary life permanently high members," "counter stroopwafel addiction unit members," and "those in denial," was started by a Dutchman named Lodewijk Gelauff in 2006. The association bills itself as one for "people who have tasted a stroopwafel and like it very, very, very much," and, as far as I can tell, boasts a motto of “resistance is futile.”

It even has an official poster with "before" and "after" stroopwafel consumption photos, and, if the pictures are to be believed, one’s face is meant to turn notably red post-consumption. Rest assured, however, that the partner and I have consumed nearly an entire bag of stroopwafels and have not had to deal with any effects more untoward than a profound sense of deliciousness.

20081208stroopwafelbag.jpgYou could travel to Gouda, Netherlands, where, I’ve been told, the intoxicating, buttery scent of freshly baked stroopwafels scents the air for miles around a bakery, and the cookies are the size of dinner plates. Closer to home, you can get less formidable—though perfectly scrumptious—individually wrapped ones from enlightened coffee shops.

And, if you cannot resist mini things (or drink your joe from a dainty demitasse), you’ll find bags of mini stroopwafels from Trader Joe's and Whole Foods. If you really, really, don’t want to bother with a hot drink, they’re still good straight from the package. But that would be like drinking extraordinary wine from a plastic cup. There’s a YouTube video showing how they’re made here (in Dutch, but fairly self-explanatory), and a recipe here.

About the author: Wan Yan Ling can usually be found in the kitchen procrastinating on "real work" or online tracking down obscure recipes. Ling thinks eating alone is no fun, and she still believes in hand-mixing.

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