Week 4 on this series of the Great British Bake Off was a brand new week – caramel week!! And I can’t even tell you how exciting I found this technical challenge, as stroopwafels are literally my favourite sweet treat to buy from the store. Their calorie count is astronomical so I do try to limit my intake but I never ever considered that you’d be able to make them at home. Everything tastes better when it’s homemade, like custard creams – so surely if I already love stroopwafels, they will be seriously incredible when homemade.
The recipe was Prue’s, and you do have to buy a waffle ‘cone’ maker. The ‘cone’ part is important, by the way. We already have a stove-top waffle press, like this one, but that makes great big fat waffles, whereas you need the tiny checkered pattern of the waffle cone press to make stroopwafels. But I researched mine for ages and bought it (with next day delivery no less) for just about £23 from a cookshop in Cheshire that I found online. (Lakeland was selling the same ‘vintage style’ waffle cone maker for about £32 (incl next day delivery).
Apparently, stroopwafels originated in a small Dutch town using the sweet leftovers from bakeries, stuck together with caramel. They then ended up being made with this waffle cone texture, and became something of a national delicacy. They’re pretty common in Starbucks(es) too now actually.
Anyway, I was right to be excited about this technical challenge. It was incredible. They were fun to make, and relatively easy if you took it methodically, but more than that they were just so delicious. I think they were my favourite technical challenge yet, followed in second place by Povitica which I made back in 2014 which was a brand new dessert to me, and particularly delicious. If I thought I liked store-bought stroopwafels, I was not prepared for how much I would love these.
Makes 12 – mine actually made about 15
For the dough:
300g plain flour
65g unsalted butter
1 tsp fast action yeast
½ tsp ground cinnamon
65g caster sugar
65ml warm water
1 large egg
pinch of salt
oil, for greasing
For the caramel:
200g soft light brown sugar
100g unsalted butter
1 tsp ground cinnamon
5 tbsp pancake syrup – they mean maple syrup – as explained later in the instructions
1 tbsp vanilla extract
- For the dough, tip the flour into a large bowl with the butter. Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the yeast, cinnamon and sugar and mix together.
- Slowly pour in the warm water until the dough starts coming together, then add the egg.
- Finally add the salt and knead the dough for 1-2 minutes into a soft ball.
- Cover and leave to rest for 30 minutes.
- For the caramel, melt the sugar and the butter, stirring slowly over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Add the cinnamon and maple syrup and continue stirring until the caramel gently bubbles. When the caramel is creamy (I never thought it looked particularly ‘creamy’ so don’t hold out for too long, just aim for dissolved sugar. Mine didn’t look like it would be thick enough but it thickened quickly once I took it off the heat) and all the sugar has melted, stir in the vanilla extract. This will make it bubble a lot – be prepared. Keep warm. Prue’s recipe is not very helpful here – ‘keep warm’… as keeping the caramel on the heat will continue to cook it, which you don’t really want as it will change the flavour and texture. I had to periodically turn the hob back on and off, but by the very end I did find the caramel was getting a bit stodgy and darker.
- Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces, approx. 40g each. Mine were 38g each, and I made 15. Roll into small balls and cover with a damp cloth to prevent them drying out.
- Heat the waffle cone machine. Grease the top and bottom plate with a little oil. Place one dough ball in the middle, press down the top lid (you do actually have to press down on the top lid for the full time otherwise it doesn’t end up flat – you can press quite hard and it doesn’t come to any harm) and bake each waffle for 1-2 minutes until dark golden and puffed up (I cooked mine for 2mins each). Remove from the machine and place on a chopping board.
- Working quickly, while the waffle is still hot, cut the waffle into a circle using a 10cm round metal cutter – I didn’t bother with this bit – the squished balls turned out pretty round already, and cutting them with a 10cm cutter would only have meant throwing away more of the cookies, then slice it horizontally in half.
- Place a generous tablespoon of caramel on top of the bottom waffle, place the top of the waffle on top and gently push down, until the caramel spreads to the edges. Place on a wire rack to cool and continue with the rest of the dough. Be careful to use a metal tablespoon if you’ve got one, as my plastic measuring spoon melted – ack!
Because you have to press down on the lid of the waffle cone machine the entire time you’re cooking the waffles, you can’t really do anything else in the meantime. You can’t really stir the caramel to keep it warm on the heat, you can’t be cutting another one. So you are spending a lot of time just holding the machine closed, but it means you end up concentrating on what you’re doing. And anyway, they were so delicious, they were completely worth the effort.