Oooh yeah! Stroopwafels!
Are you familiar?
Well, if you’re not, you’re welcome for introducing you to your new favorite thing ever.
They’re these crispy waffle cookies hailing from the fabulous Dutch. And, the best part, is that there’s a filling! When you place the cookie on top of your hot coffee, the filling gets all molten and melty. And then you eat it all up with sips of your coffee. Repeat.
And because this season is all about being extra, let’s talk about coffee. I’ve been completely obsessed with tahini, honey, and cardamom in coffee drinks lately, so I’ve made a latte specially to go with these stroopwafels. Like cardamom honey halva. The filling also contains a hint of honey plus molasses and brown sugar to deepen everything and make it more flavorful. Best seasonal morning snack ever.
Speaking of honey, let’s continue our exploration of honey chemistry and benefits, shall we? Because this time of year is the biggest occasion for all-things-baking, I thought it would be fun to talk about honey—its functionalities and benefits. And highlight what I look for in a honey. Honey is actually a very complex topic, so I’ll be going through the biggies over three posts. Sort of like an extended ‘In Appreciation Of’ category. Buckle up buttercup! Because honey is about to blow your mind.
Full disclosure: This post is sponsored by Aunt Sue’s Raw & Unfiltered Wildflower Honey, though all words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting brands that help make Appeasing a Food Geek successful!
Two weeks ago, I shared this gingerbread cake and some of the ingredient chemistry around honey in cooking and baking. For this post, I’m excited to talk about some food microbiology! Because honey is a natural antimicrobial agent.
Wait, a what?
Let’s back up. Honey is a concentrated sugary syrup. And you may have noticed that it can sit for many months on your cabinet without growing mold or going bad other than some crystallization of sugar (see here for info on that!). One reason for that is because of the sugar concentration. Those dissolved sugars actually bind water and prevent it from nourishing mold, yeast, and bacteria enough to grow.
But now we get to the antimicrobial part. Because sugar and water in the same concentration as is found in honey is not as effective at preventing microbial growth as honey. Honey contains things called inhibines that are really good at killing yeast, mold, fungus, and bacteria. Aka they’re antimicrobials. Like your antibacterial soap.
There are a few different types of inhibines in honey. For example, flavonoids and phenolic acid are great antimicrobials present in honey (more on those in a few weeks for the third post in the series! Hello health benefits). The most interesting inhibine, in my opinion is hydrogen peroxide. You know, the disinfectant ‘chemical.’ It’s actually naturally-produced in honey!
Honey contains an enzyme (glucose oxidase, if you’re curious) that converts glucose into another molecule and produces hydrogen peroxide as a byproduct. This happens automatically once additional water is introduced to the honey. Aka when you use it as a food ingredient. Almost like magic!
And don’t worry! There could never be enough hydrogen peroxide produced that would be harmful to you.
Here we get into the benefits of raw honey. The enzyme that produces hydrogen peroxide is inactivated by exposure to heat and light. Raw and unfiltered honey is not routinely exposed to the processing conditions that would destroy the enzyme. Therefore, raw honey maintains a higher antimicrobial benefit! I’ve listed some sources at the bottom of this page in case you’re interested in reading more about the complex ingredient that is honey.
Next time, to wrap up the honey series, we’ll talk about some of the health benefits of raw and unfiltered honey. In the meantime, I highly recommend Aunt Sue’s Raw and Unfiltered Wildflower Honey for your holiday-baking-and-cooking extravaganza this season. Fun Fact: I used the honey from this company at my previous candy technologist role when on Long Island, and I was impressed by the quality and flavor.
So, while this is a sponsored post (full disclosure), I truly believe in this brand. I respect the fact that it is a co-op with over 290 beekeepers across the US, and that it supports the honeybee population. It is also 100% pure with no sugar or glucose syrups added. Additionally, this season Aunt Sue’s is hosting a social media campaign inspiring us all to ‘Share a Little Sweetness’ through small actions like volunteering or baking a batch of cookies for a friend in need. I encourage you all to do just that and use the hashtag #ShareSweetness when you do. It’s thoughtful actions like these that make me the most excited for the holidays. Let the season officially begin!
Onto these super-fancy Christmas cookies that are A-OK for anytime of day. The secret to eating cookies 24/7 during December. Oh and my new favorite coffee beverage is a winner too. The most difficult part about making the cookies is cutting them in half on the thin side. The first couple may be hard, but a super-sharp serrated knife helps. Make sure you do it while it’s hot otherwise it will be impossible. Some tips for not burning your fingers can be found here.
Another note is that these are normally made with a small waffle iron. I used a Krumkake iron which is very indigenous to my homeland and holiday celebrations of Minnesota. Hooray for the Norwegians! You can use a skillet, but make sure you have something heavy to press down one side before you flip to cook the other side. Enjoy!
Honey Molasses Stroopwafels
Adapted from The Spruce
Makes 18-20 depending on size
1 packet (1/4 ounce) Instant Yeast
1 ½ tablespoons milk, lukewarm
½ cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
½ cup + 2 tablespoons (75 grams) powdered sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 cups (250 grams) cake flour
Cooking spray for the waffle iron
For the Filling
½ cup (170 g) molasses
½ cup (100) g brown sugar
2 tablespoons (30 g) Aunt Sue’s Raw and Unfiltered Wildflower Honey
¾ cup (85 g) butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Make the waffle dough. In a medium bowl, dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm milk. Mix together the softened butter, powdered sugar, and egg in a separate small bowl. Add to the yeast mixture and stir until combined. Make sure there are no lumps of yeast.
- Gently mix in the flour and salt. Cover with a moist dish towel and allow to rise for 1 hour in a warm place.
- Make the filling. Mix all of the ingredients together in a small saucepan and heat over medium low heat until the sugars dissolve. Remove from the heat, set aside, and allow to cool to lukewarm.
- Cook the waffles. Divide dough into 18-20ish balls. Place on a cookie sheet. Cover again with the moist towel and allow to rest for another 10-15 minutes.
- Grease and heat a waffle iron or other similar pan. Place 1 dough ball on the iron and bake until golden. The first one will give you an idea about the timing.
- Working very quickly, cut the waffles in half, horizontally, as they come out of the pan. Smear with the syrup filling from step 3, and sandwich the two halves together.
- Repeat until the waffles are all made. Eat within the day. They will not keep well.
Cardamom Honey Tahini Latte
1 shot espresso
1 teaspoon tahini
1 ½ teaspoon Aunt Sue’s Raw and Unfiltered Wildflower Honey
Generous pinch cardamom
½ cup whole milk
- Once you pull the shot of espresso or boil it on your stove (see here), put it in a mug. Gently whisk in the tahini, honey, and cardamom with a fork or tiny whisk.
- Foam and/or steam the milk*.
- Pour the milk into the mug containing the flavored shot. Top with a pinch of cardamom, and serve!
*I have a milk foamer from Nespresso, but you can heat the milk to a bare simmer on the stove, pour into a bowl, and whisk until foamy.
Chen C, Campbell LT, Blair SE, Carter DA. The effect of standard heat and filtration processing procedures on antimicrobial activity and hydrogen peroxide levels in honey. Frontiers in Microbiology. 2012;3:265. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2012.00265.
Mundo, MA, Padilla-Zakour, OI, Worobo, RW. Growth inhibition of foodborne pathogens and food spoilage organisms by select raw honeys. In International Journal of Food Microbiology. 2004; 97; 1: 1-8. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2004.03.025.
Stefan, B, Tomislav, J, Robert, S, Peter, G. Honey for Nutrition and Health: A Review. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 2008; 27; 6: 677-689. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2008.10719745