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 Bluf‘ here. 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, Â½ kg (1.1 lb) butter, Â½ 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 (110-115Â°C / 234-240Â°F). Then I added the syrup and the rest and cooked it till hard crack (150-155Â°C / 300-310Â°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 (130-145Â°C / 270-290Â°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 😉