The Untold Truth Of Stroopwafels

Gouda cheese isn't the only famous food that originated in the Dutch city for which it's named. The stroopwafel can also trace its origins to the city of Gouda, where the firsts stroopwafels were made in the beginning of the 1800s (via Caramel Cookie Wafers).

Stroopwafels, a Dutch word meaning literally "syrup waffle" are a cookie-like snack made out of two thin, crunchy waffles with a sweet and sticky interior, often caramel (via Britannica). Waffles, in general, are a huge deal in Belgium and the Netherlands and the stroopwafel is just a subset of a much larger waffle craze in the two countries. In fact, waffles were considered so important in the Netherlands that by the 13th century, the Netherlands had set up a waffle maker's guild (via Dutch Review).

The sweet treat was allegedly invented when a baker named Gerard Kamphuisen sweetened his leftover cookie crumbs with a sweet, thick syrup and voila, the stroopwafel was born. Because they were made with leftovers, they were also known as "poor man's cookies." For decades, the stroopwafel was only found in Gouda and it wasn't until the 1870s that the sweet found its way outside of the city, which by that point had more than 100 stroopwafel bakers (via The Dutch Waffle Company).

Stroopwafels spread across the globe

The ingredients are fairly simple (the cookie itself is made with flour, butter, sugar, yeast, egg, milk, and cinnamon) and much of the finished product's quality has to do with the expertise of the baker. Given the fact that in recent years, many of the stroopwafels made in Gouda (and around the world) are produced in factories, the number of bakers that make them by hand in the city has dwindled down to just four. However, the factories that produce the sweet treats appear to be quite capable of churning out an incredible number of stroopwafels annually. Some 22 million packages of stroopwafels are consumed in the Netherlands every year. They've even become popular as far away as Indonesia, which was once a Dutch colony (via The Jakarta Post).

In the Netherlands, they're often sold as street food, whereas in the United States, they can be found in the cookie aisle of the grocery store often prepackaged and sometimes imported from Holland (via Trader Joe's). United Airlines has added to the treat's popularity as it has made the stroopwafel available as a breakfast snack on all of its domestic flights since 2016. United procures its stroopwafels from a Dutch company called Daelmans, and they are served alongside coffee or tea — the dutch counterpart of Italian biscotti or British biscuits (via Science Meets Food).