Gouda – you likely recognize the name because of the cheese, but the delicious stroopwafel also hails from this Dutch city. Made from thin waffle discs sandwiching a layer of gooey caramel-like syrup, it’s got a lovely chew and hints of cinnamon. While you can (inconsistently) buy them at the local supermarket, I was recently gifted with two tins straight from Holland. And once I got them into my hands, I was certainly eager to sample my loot. But while you might eat them straight out of the bag, you’d be missing out.
To really enjoy the stroopwafel you need a hot beverage and the right mug. My default drink is some kind of tea (jasmine or earl grey, usually), so I grab my kettle, fill it with water, and set it to boil. Next step: mug selection. My default mug – a ceramic, pint-glass height, japanese tea cup (I drink a lot of tea) – isn’t what I’m looking for today. What you need is a mug that just fits the diameter of the cookie so that it rests on the rim, and my default would see the stroopwafel sink to the bottom like the Titanic. A little more digging in the cupboard yields a coffee mug that fits the bill perfectly.
I hear the familliar click of the kettle as the water finishes its boil and I fill my mug with the steaming hot water, watching the pearls of jasmine tea dance around the bottom of the cup. I stop the pour when I get to about 3cm/1″ from the top – enough space to ensure that no liquid will touch the cookie directly. I place the stroopwafel gently on the rim – and now here’s the hard part – I have to wait about 5 minutes. 5 minutes to anticipate that first bite as your teeth sink into the soft-and-crispy treat. 5 minutes for the gentle aroma of cinnamon and sugar to rise from the warming cookie.
It’s a long 5 minutes.
Finally ready, one side will be soft and slightly damp from the heat of the steam and the other will have retained its crispness. You should breathe in the warm scent of waffle and spice as you bring the cookie to your mouth. Sometimes, like tectonic plates, the two waffle discs will slide and shift a bit as you take your first bite. A bit crumbly and a bit chewy, strings of the caramel-like syrup will briefly bridge the gap between teeth and cookie as you pull it away.
I’ll eat a stroopwafel as a light after-dinner sweet or even for breakfast. But my favourite time is afternoon tea with the light streaming through the window. It’s a deep breath laced with sugar, butter, and spice – when you can take a moment to follow the ritual – and enjoy the pause in your day.