Specially Selected Caramel Stroopwafels (Aldi)

A box of Specially Selected Caramel Stroopwafels, from Aldi
I would trade my wife and son for a lifetime supply of these.

I would have never looked twice at this product from Aldi if I hadn’t already stumbled on the name brand at, of all places, Dollar Tree. I bought one on a whim…and have been hooked on them ever since. Even better: It’s one of the few sweet treats that neither my wife, nor my son, particularly like, so I don’t really have any competition when these are in the house.

They are a Dutch product, consisting of two waffle-shaped “cookies” on either end that have a thin layer of caramel in the middle to bind them together. Supposedly, they are meant to be dipped in coffee, but considering I never drink the stuff, I just resort to eating them “dry”, right out of the packaging. 

But where the name brand Stroops (slang that I just invented) excel is in the texture…oh, that glorious texture. Even if they tasted like shit, I would probably get them every now and again just to experience that perfect soft chewiness that honestly is unlike anything else I’ve ever eaten. It’s got a look and feel all its own; the fact that they taste incredible makes them even more addicting.

Aldi’s version contains 8 stroopwafels inside plastic, twist-tied packaging to help keep them fresh. Even more importantly, they are an import from the Netherlands, the very land where they were created - and perfected - over the years. That means that, outside of homemade stroops, it probably doesn't get much better than this. 

The appearance is pretty similar to the national brand, even down to the size. I feel like the wafers might be a little bit darker in Aldi’s version, but other than that the exterior is pretty much a carbon copy. Where it does falter a bit, at least visually, is that the layer of caramel in the middle seems to be even thinner, at least in comparison to other versions. Actually, I guess the problem is more consistency: Our batch had a huge glob of caramel that settled on the bottom four cookies, while the top four just seemed underfilled. Even the name brand is thin - these shouldn’t be the equivalent of Double Stuffed Oreos in caramel form - but about half the package seemed to be a little less caramel-y than they probably should have been.

Flavorwise…they’re good. They’re very good. Holy shit are they ever good. I do feel like the lack of caramel is evident even in the flavor department, as the flavor of the “wafels” seem to be pronounced a little bit more, with the filling coming in a little bit later and in lesser quantity. However, that’s more of a nitpick than anything else, because, despite the slight changes, these are every bit as addicting as the name brand.

And the main reason for the addictive quality: The spot-on texture. It’s got that perfectly chewy…oh man, there's no way to describe it that would do it justice. It’s like love: something that you can’t possibly explain to someone who has never experienced it, but something someone who has knows all too well. Far too often, I’ve found that foods that are popular in other cultures always seem to have a kind of “taste curve”, where you can tell they didn’t originate here. It’s not that they are necessarily bad, just that they are acquired tastes for American palates, just as I’m sure many of our products are to people overseas. But these are truly unique in that they have a flavor that's clearly un-American, yet still fit right at home here, with no taste acquisition required. 

Value is solid, too: At Dollar Tree, you get two for a buck of the name brand. Specially Selected gives you 8 for $2.75, which is clearly a much better bargain, saving you $1.25 from buying 4 packs at the dollar store. I just wish these were available all the time, instead of being relegated to Special Buy status…and since I’ve never seen them there before, I’m hoping it’s not the last time they’re made available. 

These are all-too-underrated here in the States; no one I know has ever even heard of them. That’s a shame, because these definitely deserve a huge following. And hopefully, Aldi carrying them will bring more attention to their near-perfection. And if not, that’s fine by me, too: That just means more packages for me to buy.

Oh, and I'm ashamed to say that, after further taste testing, both my wife and child do like these. A lot. Goddammit.

Overall: 9/10. These are an irresistible blend of perfect texture and sweet flavor that are pretty darn close to the national brand. I do think the caramel is inconsistent (our package had a glob of caramel on the bottom, suggesting only the bottom few were adequately loaded with the sticky treat), and the wafers seem to have a stronger presence flavorwise, but these are just minor complaints. The texture has that flawlessly chewy, one-of-a-kind consistency that are exclusive to stroopwafels, and the fact they are an import of the Netherlands - where these originated - only adds to the appeal, along with the $2.75 price tag (for a pack of 8, through Instacart, so prices in-store are probably lower). These should be upgraded to a part of their permanent inventory.