Up to now, I have been writing about the dough, but it actually took me quite a bit of experimenting to find the right stroop recipe for the stroopwafels . Stroop in Dutch means syrup, in English. So, obviously, I thought that I would need to make use of stroop, which is readily available in the Netherlands, but of course not in Japan. Stroop is actually sugar beet syrup
Sugar beet syrup
An unrefined sugary syrup can be produced directly from sugar beet. This thick, dark syrup is produced by cooking shredded sugar beet for several hours, then pressing the resulting sugar beet mash and concentrating the juice produced until it has the consistency similar to that of honey. No other ingredients are used. In the Netherlands, this sugar beet syrup (called stroop in Dutch) is used as a spread for sandwiches or pancakes, as well as for sweetening sauces, cakes and desserts.
My first attempt to make the stroop for my stroopwafels was quite a failure. I boiled sugar and water and added butter and some cinamon. In the hot stage, it was quite liquid and tasted like stroop. However, once I used it in the stroopwafels and it cooled down, it actually crystalized again. The resulting stroopwaffles were quite edible, but it was missing the chewy consistency of the traditional stroopwafel.\r\n\r\nSo, I needed to find a way to stop the crystalization. I had some real Dutch stroop in my cupboard, which my mother had brought from Holland when she visited Japan. I made a batch of a mixture of stroop, sugar and butter. It was a bit better than the first batch, but still some crystailisation took place when the stroop cooled down.\r\n\r\nSo I needed to find out the ins and outs of crystallisation and found the website “The Science of cooking“. There is one page about sugar and crystallisation. Apparently crystalisation takes place when sugar is in the form of sucrose. However, sucrose can be split into glucose and fructose and then it does not crystallize. To avoid the formation of sucrose after heating up the sugar, you have to add an interfering agent, which interferes with the binding of fructose and glucose.\r\n\r\nThere are various interference agents:
- An acid, like lemon juice or cream of tartar
- Uncrystalized raw sugar beet syrup
- non sucrose sugar, like corn syrup
- A fat, like butter
Besides interfering agents, there are a few precautions to take\r\n
Francois Payard, pastry chef of Daniel in New York City, says he combats caramel crystallization by simply adding two to three teaspoons corn syrup to one cup sugar and a half cup water.`
He also suggests brushing the inside of the pot with a pastry brush dipped in water to wash off any clinging sugar crystals, although he rarely follows this classic procedure himself since he uses corn syrup.
Another method to avoid crystallization is to add an acid product, such as lemon juice, to undissolved sugar before heating. And do not use water.
After several experiments, I actually found out that the stroop in the stroopwafels is actually caramel. In English, stroopwafel is often referred to as caramel waffles. So I have to practice to make a good caramel sauce and find the best way to avoid crystallization.‘