Valentine Stroopwafel Ice Cream Sandwiches
It’s upon us and chances are you belong to one of three camps: love it, loathe it or are ambivalent (which just means, that if there’s a love interest at the time of THE DAY, you’re expecting the roses, or shaving the legs, but if not you have nothing much to say about it).
With all the marketing in stores, online, on sign posts on the road, chances are slim that you can actually forget that it’s Valentine’s Day on the 14th of February, unless you’ve been holed up in your basement control centre, sans Internet access or trips to the Seven Eleven for bread, milk and crisps. Of course if you fall in camp Loathe-It, it’s probably best that you do hole yourself up because, ignore it, you can’t.
Ruthless marketing ploy?
The commercial aspect of Valentine’s Day has long been a source of irritation, sometimes fury. But then, Christmas and Easter have also gone that route too (have you seen and maybe even purchased, the Christmas marshmallow eggs?). All these clever marketing tricks for selling confectionery and theme- based junk that no one needs, but that a lot of us end up throwing into our shopping trolleys. Why do we cave and participate? Are we lured by the pre-packaged gifts in nifty, shiny packaging? The ease of the ready made solution? (read: laziness. And note, not all of it is inexpensive: in the last two weeks I have received Valentine gift suggestion emails from Jo Malone, Anya Hindmarch, Alexander McQueen to name a few). Guilt? Hopeless romantics…or just hopeless? For me, it’s the heart.
Anything heart shaped (within reason), and I am there, baby! I’ll even go as far as incensing Club Loathe-It by saying that I adore a heart-shaped Valentines Day, any day. Strawberries shaped in a heart on a plate, sprinkled withicing sugar and served with a bit of whipped cream or even strawberry yoghurt. A thoughtful heart doodled on a morning love note, or at the end of a “please pay bill, when you get back to the office” note (from my husband, in case you were wondering- we work together). A heart shaped bowl carved from blonde wood. A dainty heart-shaped pendant encrusted in diamonds, dangling demurely from a fine gold necklace. Right, you get the picture.
The teen crush
I remember my teen years: awkward and shy. The popular girls in school were showered with roses, musical cards from Cardies and chocolates in pink and red wrappers on Valentine’s day. Secret admirers left saucy notes on chairs or inside desks. In high school, I remember the seniors decided to very cruelly, hold a Valentine’s Radio hour over the main lunch break- where admirers could openly or anonymously declare a crush on a (popular) girl or boy. My heart beat faster, in anticipation. I had secretly been in love with a beautiful boy three years my senior, for two years who, as is the case in the smooshy chic flicks, didn’t even know I existed. Well, what did I at 15, know of love? And all I knew of this tall, achingly handsome creature, was that he was an excellent science and mathematics student (oh, the joy! I was part of the nerd-squad. Not very good at math though, I might add) and that he spent his breaks in a circle of friends that included one very pretty and jealous- inducingly smart girl- his best friend. She had nice legs too. I was in awe of her, almost as I much as I was intrigued by him. I kept my feelings tightly shut in the heart shaped hole in my chest. Chance encounters in the stair well would render me speechless and almost euphoric for the next few weeks.
Well, I can report that nothing happened. The lovely boy didn’t send me a declaration of his well hidden, undying love on the radio hour, nor of his acknowledgement that I existed- which would have been enough for me. He left after his final year- I spotted him at a few award ceremonies and then I, at 17, having never had a boyfriend left to University, miles from home and forgot about him. I never stopped loving hearts though.
(Oh, and for the record, along the way that heart shaped hole was filled, and emptied and filled again with the trials, tribulations and ecstasies of life and love)
It’s a terrible thing to pawn heart-shaped merchandise on us, in the guise of love. We all know ‘things’ can’t buy or even prove love. But, in the fashion of birthdays and anniversaries, I choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day, in my own heart shaped way.
I made these ice cream sandwiches, a play on the American S’mores (gooey marshmallow squished between two biscuits), to commemorate this day of love.
I took the bold step of using stroopwaffels instead of biscuits, made locally by Waffelhuys. I had the pleasure of watching them make a giant one at the Heathersage market recently, and eating it after. A stroopwaffel, is a classic Dutch treat, made from 2 ultra thin, spiced waffles filled with caramel inside. They are slightly pliable and when warmed in a toaster or the microwave, the caramel becomes deliciously gooey and a lovely tea time treat.
My husband is Dutch and this, coupled with the fact that stroopwafles can be shaped with the firm pressure of a cookie cutter into hearts made them my ‘biscuit’ of choice. You could use any thin cookie, even Marie biscuits would do. Chocolate cookies filled with vanilla or rose or strawberry ice cream would also be very pretty.
Just note, when frozen the caramel in the stroopwafel hardens. We ate these by twisting the stroopwafflesoff, licking up the ice cream and in this heat the waffles unfreeze very quickly, so we munched them right after. All delightfully messy, eating with your hands and perfect for feeding your sweetheart.
Makes 3 heart ice cream sandwiches
6 Stroopwafles (or thin biscuits)
3 T ice cream (I used Tin-Roof)
2 blocks 85 % chocolate, melted (optional, or use any chocolate you desire)
a heart shaped cookie cutter, if using the waffles
Cling- film a freezer proof plate. If it is very hot, as it has been in Cape Town, do not take the ice cream out till the last minute, or else you will end up with a mess. I had a bit of struggle with this as my ice cream melted alsmost into milkshake in minutes.
Cut out the heart shapes.
Place a spoon of ice cream on one half and sandwhich the other heart on top. It’s not necessary to press too hard. Freeze for a an hour or over night. Make certain you place the plate on a flat surface in the freezer.
Drizzle with chocolate just before you serve.
How easy was that?