How the Stroopwafel Will Take Over America — And Why

How the Stroopwafel Will Take Over America — And Why

Once you go stroopwafel, you never go back ?


Repeat after me: STROPE (like scope) WAA-FEL.

You can?t visit The Netherlands for long without stumbling across this iconic Dutch treat. Stroll through any busy market, and you?ll smell the delicious confections long before you actually see them being made.

Since its inception, the stroopwafel has remained extremely popular in the Netherlands, and an astounding 22 million packets are sold each year. That works out to about 30 stroopwafels eaten per person, per year! Given their popularity it?s not surprising you can find them everywhere ? from supermarkets to vending machines and cafs.

And ever since McDonald?s introduced the Stroopwafel McFlurry, stroopwafels look set to take over North America, too. The McFlurry is part of the company?s ?Worldwide Favorites? campaign where they?re rolling out popular international items for a limited time. It?s made of vanilla soft-serve ice cream mixed with stroopwafel cookie pieces and caramel sauce. Sweet!

McFlurry StroopwafelMcDonald?s Stroopwafel McFlurry. Hungry yet?

To illustrate the love of Americans for stroopwafels, here?s a snippet from a blog post by Joshua Kennon, an American blogger who tried them for the first time:

I was not prepared for whatever confectionery magic the Dutch people invoked when they created this thing. I accept that you invented the microscope. I celebrate that you invented the telescope. You changed the world with the invention of the roll-up fire hose. You laid the foundation for the modern world with the creation of Wi-Fi as well as Bluetooth. Let?s not forget you literally created the stock market in 1602 as a way for an enterprise to raise capital, thus laying the foundation for the broad expansion of capitalism that led to the greatest increase in human standards of living at any point in recorded history. All of that I can handle. But this ? this is a bridge too far. The Stroopwafel is not food. It?s a biochemical dependence addiction device you?ve created and disguised as a modest treat.

The anatomy of the stroopwafel

But before we take a deep dive into the wonderful world of stroopwafels, let?s first get on the same page ? just what is a stroopwafel? This tasty treat consists of two thin, circular waffles pressed flat on a pizzelle iron, which imprints a distinct checked pattern. The baked waffles are then sandwiched together with a sweet, sticky caramel-like syrup. The result is a mouthwatering biscuit (or ?cookie?) with a slightly crisp outer and a soft, chewy center.

Now that you know the makeup of those little discs of deliciousness, you?ll probably be able to see why they are so booming in the US right now. When you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Stroopwafels are very approachable for Americans:

?This cookie fits into what Americans like to eat: It?s a crunchy, crispy biscuit and then that caramel,” said food trend expert Kara Nielsen, vice president of trends and marketing at CCD Innovation.

The humble history of stroopwafels

The first mention of stroopwafels goes back to 1784 when a baker from Gouda (also famous for its cheese) tried to make a waffle from bakery leftovers ? old crumbs to be precise ? by pressing them flat with a waffle iron. As the story goes, the first batch of waffles was too dry and crumbled in the baker?s hands. As a solution, he sandwiched them together with sticky syrup.

Image for postImage for postGouda: hometown of the beloved stroopwafel

Over time, the stroopwafel recipe evolved to incorporate flour, butter, sugar, yeast, egg, milk, and cinnamon. The Dutch treat then became popular with street vendors who quickly began selling them as snacks. People loved them.

Yet, it took quite a long time for stroopwafels to hit the other side of the world: it wasn?t until United Airlines introduced them on their early-morning flights that the stroopwafels entered American territory for real.

The Chicago-based carrier launched them in 2015, and it became a popular staple for United customers. However, in June 2018, the airline abruptly stopped serving the sweet in-flight snack. As the following three tweets show, United learned their lesson: don?t mess with people?s stroopwafels.

All that outrage apparently did some good, as United added the cookie back to snack carts just six months later: stroopwafels have returned for 2019!

After United reintroduced them, McDonald?s, like I said earlier, adopted them too. At that point, stroopwafels really took off. Nowadays, passengers eager to eat more stroopwafels can find them at retailers like Target, Barnes & Noble, and even at Starbucks.

Stroopwafel on a coffee mug

By the way, have you ever noticed how a Dutch person places their stroopwafel so that it sits perfectly balanced on their coffee mug? This is the traditional way to eat one, so that the rising steam from the hot beverage warms the waffle and slightly softens the inside, making it melty on one side and crispy on the other.

Happy stroopwafel-ing!

So there you have it ? the sweet story of the stroopwafel. The only thing left now is to try 1?or 10. Be warned though, as they?re dangerously addictive!


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