The Dutch city, Gouda, is famous for more than just cheese. In the early nineteenth century the first stroopwafels, too, were made here.
The city of Gouda in South Holland
Though, much before the creation of stroopwafels, came the creations of waffles.
Waffles can be traced back to Greece as a variant of flat cakes, similar to pancakes. Obelios, as they were called, were not particularly sweet, but they were customizable. Their designs evolved over time. In medieval Europe, the Church customized the designs of waffles to depict religious imagery: Biblical scenes, like Jesus’ crucifixion, and crosses. When the Church gave artisans permission to make their own obelios the designs increasingly incorporated family crests, landscapes, and other nonreligious imagery. So the square patterned waffles we enjoy today, are only one variation of the myriad designs that waffles have revealed throughout history.
The waffles of medieval Europe caused a particular craze in Belgium and the Netherlands. In the 13th Century, the Netherlands even set up a waffle makers guild. The stroopwafel, then, evolved as only a subset of a much larger, and long-lasting, waffle affinity in the Netherlands.
In the early 19th century, a baker named Gerard Kamphuisen tried to make a waffle out of his leftover cookie crumbs. He pressed the cookie crumbs flat in a waffle iron, but because the crumbs were too dry, failed in creating a waffle. As a solution, Kamphuisen sweetened his leftover cookie crumbs with thick syrup, meshing the crumbs together, and successfully pressing them into a waffle shape. These cookies became popular in his hometown of Gouda -- though, they were known as the poor-man’s-cookie due to Kamphuisen’s use of leftover cookie crumbs.
Within a few years, bakers around the Netherlands began making their own stroopwafels, incorporating flour, butter, sugar, eggs, yeast, and cinnamon. It became customary to enjoy a stroopwafel with coffee or tea, and to place it above a hot drink before eating for the syrupy layer to melt. These days, there are 320 millions units per year of Stroopwafels sold in the Netherlands.
Though, it wasn’t until more recently that stroopwafels became a popular craving across the Atlantic. In 2012, Rip Pruisken, a then recent-graduate of Brown University, had the idea of introducing stroopwafels — a favorite treat from his childhood in Amsterdam — to Americans. By 2016, Rip Van Wafels became available in 7,500 Starbucks locations around North American. By 2019, even McDonalds had caught on; that year they introduced a new McFlurry: stroopwafel. And what’s not to love? Two thin crispy waffles pressed on a pizzelle iron and sandwiched together with a caramel syrup -- it's a treat so obviously marketable to Americans, a population obsessed, infatuated, and addicted to sugar.
But at Rip Van we don’t sell wafels to hook Americans on a European sweet; we want to do more than simply share this traditional Dutch cookie. We want to innovate it. Our wafels are as delicious as Kamphuisen’s originals, as authentic as those made in the old buildings of De Nieuwmarkt in Amsterdam, but, all at once, low in sugar. At Rip Van we closely watch health trends and breakthroughs in food science,to bring you a snack rich with history, but made for the modern day. We are in constant motion, so that you don’t have to be. We want you to sit back, take the break your soul deserves, with all the healthy ingredients your body deserves.
Let’s see how they compare to other popular stroopwafel brands…
Eat the wafel, but make sure it's a Rip Van Wafel! And per dutch tradition, enieten!