SHF#34 – Haagse Hopjes (Coffee caramels from The Hague)

The Passionate Cook is hosting the 34th edition of Sugar High Friday. Local or regional speciality is what she is asking for. I already blogged about one specialty of The Hague, ‘Haagse Blufhere. Another well known speciality is ‘Haagse Hopjes‘. They are hard caramels with coffee taste. Besides being a local speciality it has become a Dutch national candy.
There is a story behind their creation at the end of the 18th century. Baron Hendrik Hop wasn’t allowed to drink coffee by his doctor but still wanted to get his coffee somehow. The caramel was especially developped for him by the baker Theoodorus van Haaren.The caramels became very popular and were named after the Baron: Hopjes (little Hops). Later Haagse (from The Hague) was added because they originated from The Hague.

I had problems finding a recipe for the hopjes. None of my cookbooks had the recipe. On the internet I found one but its origins were from a Time-life book which by my knowledge are translated from English. I had the feeling that the recipe couldn’t be authentic. After searching the internet some more, I came across a Dutch needlework blog were one of the postings referred to a book called ‘Verzameling van waardevolle vakrecepten‘ from 1935. It had different kinds of recipes for Haagse Hopjes. I was so bold as to ask Marcella of Nuttig en fraai‘ if she would be so kind as to email the recipe which she did (thanks again Marcella). She actually emailed me 3 different recipes for Haagse Hopjes from the book. I chose the recipe of the ones that resembled the now known commercial ones, Haagse Hopjes from Rademakers. The recipe was for about 20 kg of the stuff and besides that, the recipe itself was rather basic (in old-fashioned Dutch):

20 kg (44 lb) sugar, 2 kg (4.4 lb) glucose syrup, 3 l (2.1 pints) coffee cream, ½ kg (1.1 lb) butter, ½ kg (1.1 lb) coffee-extract

Cook till soft ball. Add syrup, cook till hard crack, pour in tin, make into hopjes.

So when do you add the cream, butter and coffee-extract? And what about the coffee-extract? I thought the coffee-extract should be liquid so I mixed instant coffee with hot water (1:1 in volume measurements). I didn’t really know what to do about the moment of adding cream, butter and coffee-extract because I have little to no experience in making caramel. I added water to the sugar until just covered and cooked this till soft ball (110-115°C / 234-240°F). Then I added the syrup and the rest and cooked it till hard crack (150-155°C / 300-310°F). It looked and smelt like it was a bit to hot. When I tasted it the taste did resemble hopjes a lot but they were caramelized a little too much (they tasted great but it made them taste a little less like commercial hopjes). Maybe cooking them till soft crack (130-145°C / 270-290°F) would have been better? Or maybe they wouldn’t have been brittle enough that way…

I had a hard time finding glucose syrup, I went to about 12 different shops, from drugstores to farmacists, from cooking shops to organic shops but it was nowhere to be found. I could have gotten it via the internet but I didn’t have enough time to wait for the delivery. Instead of the glucose syrup I added corn syrup which is a kind of glucose syrup but has less glucose than the glucose syrup. It worked out fine.

PS in case your wondering, I didn’t make them using the above measurements 😉

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6 Responses to SHF#34 – Haagse Hopjes (Coffee caramels from The Hague)

  1. Tea says:

    Hey!!

    I just wanted to drop you a few lines…I am a baking and pastry arts student from the Culinary Institute of America and I am actually from Croatia (Split)! Currently I am in Vienna doing my 4 month training. AND I have family in Holland where I´ve been many times + I looove your blog! I think we do have quite a bit in common :))

  2. basje says:

    very clever to make the hopjes, I wonder about the amounts you used,

  3. linda says:

    Hi Tea, like you wrote…we have quite a bit in common 🙂 Glad you like my blog…

    Hi Basje, I divided everything by 40 and used a 15×15 cm silicon baking pan. For coffee-extract I used 1 tbs of instant coffee diluted in 1 tbs of boiling water.

  4. johanna says:

    shame you didn’t make the original quantities… i would have rather liked a pack of those through the post 😉 what a wonderful story and what a wonderful solution to a major problem: not having coffee is bad, but eating it in caramel form is the best!

  5. Astrid says:

    Tea, I love your blog! And this post about Hopjes is amazing. How brave of you to try to recreate these wonderful candies. My brother and I used to buy them at specialty stores in France when we were little, and his favorite trick was to eat a candy, then reform the wrapper so it looked like a new candy and “generously” offer it to me. Ah, childhood.

  6. fre' says:

    Hi
    I have a question about the similarity of the candies of this recipe to the Rademakers. I like how Hopjes seem to last forever, melt very slowly in the mouth and can be enjoyed bit by bit intermittently without being wet or sticking to things that they are wrapped with or placed upon after being in the mouth (when saved carefully.)
    So I am wondering if the candies in this recipe have similar or the same characteristics, especially if they last as long as the Rademakers Hopjes which I enjoy.
    I don’t know anything about cooking sugar, but I have had a lot of excellent results experimenting with chocolate candy recipes, actually using only the temperature of my hands through durable and pliable plastic molds. I think I may be able to make some interesting twists on this candy recipe too! So I am wondering if perhaps one can meld together caramel stage candy layers together somehow at lower temperatures? Perhaps it may take a very long time and maybe some pressure at a lower temp, but does anyone know any ways to do this? perhaps I’ll come across some information about this as I continue to search or through experimentation, but I may as well ask…
    thank you!

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