Proper Chocolate Hail and Eierkoeken – Edible Planet
We have been meaning to try the Dutch Hagel Slag for ages and we were talking to our Dutch neighbour about it. He just raved. He grew up with this Dutch version of chocolate hail on toast for breakfast as we grew up with marmite and vegemite.
Since I could not see any down side to a food experiment involving a chocolate product, I ended up buying the dark chocolate version to sample. The pieces are much bigger than the chocolate hail we are used to. But to compare it to the usual New Zealand chocolate hail is to compare the Auckland July earthquake with Christchurch’s June shake up – not even close!
The Dutch one is proper, little bits of chocolate. We tried it first liberally sprinkled on a piece of hot buttered toast. We all agreed, it was fantastic! It is similar to having Nutella on toast. It seems quite a treat to us, the idea of chocolate in the morning, but it definitely is tasty.
Our Dutch neighbour reckoned that the best way to have the Hagel Slag was on hot eierkoeken or egg cakes. So we decided to go for the ultimate experience and see if we could make them. There are many, many recipes on the internet. The basic ingredients usually were the same with slight alterations in proportions. In the end we chose one off a forum that was given in reply to a question about eierkoeken not rising sufficiently. It had 125g sugar, 3 eggs, 1 teaspoon of horn salt, 250g flour and 125ml milk. Unfortunately we didn’t have any horn salt handy. Horn salt is ammonium bicarbonate and is a leavening agent like the more familiar sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and baking powder. It is a traditional ingredient in Scandinavian baking and has its advantages. You get more rise for a smaller amount of leavening agent and it doesn’t leave any flavour in the product like baking soda does. Many of the other recipes we looked at used baking powder so we substituted 1 and 1/2 teaspoons for the horn salt. The recipe said to whisk the eggs and sugar until thick and then add the dry ingredients and milk. You cook the wet dough in circles on baking paper in a hot oven. We also added some vanilla essence, since other recipes had this included and we love vanilla.
The results were not quite as I expected and they didn’t rise enough but they cooked. They were quite crispy on the outside and soft in the inside. They didn’t have much flavour – like a soft sponge cake. We took some next door for a taste test and the flavour was perfect – they were deemed just a bit too flat.
The soft, egg cake was nice with melted butter and the Hagel Slag but so far we have preferred it on toast, though another batch of eierkoeken might change our minds. Next time we will try whisking the egg whites and yolks separately to get more air into them.
It was a tasty and fun experiment especially since while searching for recipes and finding out about the egg cake, we found out the province of Zeeland in the Netherlands consumed the most eierkoeken. Here we were in New Zealand trying to make our own.