I spent a large part of yesterday eating cookies. And waffles. And cookies shaped like waffles. In other words, a typical rest day. (Just kidding. Maybe.)
When a friend pulled out a Honey Stinger Waffle on our trail run the other day, I remembered that I wanted to figure out a way to make those myself. If you’ve never had one before, they are a commercial version of a Dutch treat called a stroopwafel: thin layers of waffle cookie with a sticky spread of sweet honey or sugar syrup smooshed in between. In a brilliant stroke of marketing, they are packaged for runners, cyclists, and other endurance athletes for a convenient snack of simple carbs and fat. Not only is the word stroopwafel fun to say (go ahead, say it out loud), they are delicious. (Some are accidentally vegan, others aren’t. I’m not particularly picky about honey mostly because I don’t love the taste.) So I started researching.
The first issue with making my own Honey Stingers is that you need a pizzelle maker. This is a specialized kitchen gadget that is only good for one thing (two if you count turning the cookies into homemade ice cream cones) and runs at least $50. Who the f%*k owns a pizzelle maker? The answer is no one. No one normal owns a f%*king pizzelle maker and if you do and you are not a professional baker or ice cream shop owner, you spend way too much money on single-use specialty kitchen items. (Do you own one? If you do, I really wasn’t talking about you just now. You are fabulous and can I borrow it sometime?)
The next problem with stroopwafels is that the recipe is basically a very rich sugar cookie sandwich smeared with buttery syrup. Flour, a couple (!) sticks of butter, eggs, sugar, yeast, and syrup (golden, corn, maple, or even molasses). It’s easy to veganize by subbing margarine for the butter and aquafaba or flax for the eggs, but that doesn’t really make it much healthier. It’s still a cookie. A delicious, admittedly junk-food, cookie. If I’m going to eat sugar cookies on the trail, I’m just going to eat sugar cookies. I’m not going to roll them into little balls and press them into lovely shapes with my fancy first-world pizzelle maker and then coat them in buttery corn syrup. And most likely, neither are you.
But that didn’t stop me from trying.
First I tried modifying my favorite waffle recipe to make the batter thicker and more cookie-like. They still turned out like waffles. I suppose there’s nothing wrong with taking some waffles on the trail. Maybe they are a bit bulky, but the idea of an almond butter waffle sandwich on the trail sounds great to me. But that’s not what I was after.
Then I tried cookie dough. I had a stash of dough in my freezer leftover from an animal-cookie-making session with my daughter so I tried that. I was too impatient to make little individual stroopwafels and thought, why not fill the whole waffle maker and just break off pieces? I opened my waffle maker and looked at my huge, puffy waffle sugar cookie. What would happen if I turned it 45 degrees to try to squish some of those puffs out? Ooh, pretty! Pretty, but still puffy.
How about another turn? Hmm, less pretty, but getting closer to a stroopwafel.
I needed kitchen shears to cut the cookie into wedges while it was still warm. After cooling, the cookie crisped up quite a bit. It tasted like (drum roll, please) a hard sugar cookie. Okay, but not worth the effort. I never got around to making it into a syrup sandwich.
So I don’t think that I’ll be venturing into the stroopwafel business anytime soon. I might keep working on a better recipe that actually uses whole ingredients, but I might just call it good at the regular cookie stage.
Unless you have a pizzelle maker I can borrow?