Transform a delicious European dessert into performance fuel? Sounds like a great idea to us, and evidently a bunch of energy food companies agree.
Everyone from GU Energy Labs to Honey Stinger to UnTapped to Rip van Wafels has their own take on the traditional stroopwafel, giving the classic treat a fitness twist by adding an energy syrup—filled with fast-acting carbs, amino acids, and electrolytes—between the two waffle wafers. They’re delicious, under 200 calories, and have only about ten grams of sugar apiece. For a quick hit of energy, you can eat them 20 to 30 minutes before starting your workout. But their easy-to-process sugars mean the waffles also function like energy gels, so you can eat them midrace, too.
We sampled four brands (about three flavors each) to determine which waffles reign supreme. Here are the eight winners, ranked from good to great.
#8. Rip van Wafels Dark Chocolate Sea Salt
People loved the chewiness of this waffle and its brownie-like taste—just enough sweetness to give you an energy burst without being so rich as to leave you lethargic. The only quibble: Some tasters would have liked a little extra sea salt to combat the sweet.
What to LOVE: “Yum. Not overwhelming or too sweet.” —Amy Silverman, photography editor
What to Watch For: “Soft texture, but more generally sweet than sea salty.” —Chris Thompson, visual producer
#7. UnTapped Maple
This waffle, with its authentic and distinctly maple flavor, was a hit. Made from pure, single-ingredient, organic maple syrup, it’s the waffle to bring on your next hike or camping trip if you like the taste of pancakes drizzled in maple syrup.
What to LOVE: “I love maple. This is subtle but tasty. Of course, I’ll always want more.” —Erin Ladd, marketing manager
What to Watch For: “Not a huge fan of the crumbly texture, but the flavor is nice.” —Wes Judd, assistant editor
#6. Rip van Wafels Honey & Oats
One of our top picks, this flavor, described as a “classic waffle” by Outside staffers, kept us coming back for seconds thanks to the perfectly balanced sweetness of honey with nutty oats. We suggest bringing these on your next big run or ride to satiate your sweet tooth without going overboard.
What to LOVE: “This is definitely for those with a sweet tooth, which is perfect for me. Oh yes, bring on the honey.” —Olivia Harlow, editorial producer
What to Watch For: “Good texture, but strong honey taste.” —Trish Hug, production services account manager
#5. Honey Stinger Organic Gingersnap Waffle
Perfect for those wanting a zippier flavor with a little bit of spice rather than something strictly sweet. Our only complaint? More ginger, please!
What to LOVE: “This tastes like Christmas.” —Erin Ladd, marketing manager
What to Watch For: “Just enough ginger to leave you wanting more ginger.” —Aleta Burchyski, copy editor
#4. UnTapped Raspberry
Reminiscent of some of our favorite childhood snacks, most of us will take this flavor along for adventures that conjure our earliest outdoor memories. The raspberry gives the right dose of sugar, but the waffle itself feels hearty enough to balance it out.
What to LOVE “This tastes exactly like a raspberry Nutri-Grain bar.” —Olivia Harlow, editorial producer
What to Watch For: “Tastes fake, more like a Pop-Tart.” —Amy Silverman, photography editor
#3. GU Energy Caramel Coffee Stroopwafel
Although this waffle had a harder texture than others, the caramel and coffee flavors helped make up for it. It contains a balanced mix of amino acids to combat fatigue and electrolytes to replenish the ones we lose when we sweat. This waffle also contains 20 milligrams of caffeine.
What to LOVE: “All the goodness of coffee, but with a not-too-sweet hit of caramel.” —Erin Ladd, marketing manager
What to Watch For: “Hard and chewy. Not fun to eat.” —Wes Judd, assistant editor
#2. Honey Stinger Organic Strawberry Waffle
Honey and strawberry create a harmony of fruity and sweet flavors while boosting the healthy carbohydrate levels for energy when you need it most.
What to LOVE: ”Strawberry Shortcake would approve.” —Aleta Burchyski, copy editor
What to Watch For: “A little sweet, but definitely one I’ll keep around.” —Colette Harris, editorial fellow
#1. Honey Stinger Gluten-Free Chocolate Mint Waffle
Turn to this flavor to change up straight sweetness and get a refreshing hint of mint. This waffle is also gluten-free, yet you wouldn’t know it from the texture.
What to LOVE: “Pleasant. Tastes like eating an ice cream cone once you’re done with the ice cream.” —Chris Thompson, visual producer
What to Watch For: “More cocoa than chocolate, but I dig it.” —Aleta Burchyski, copy editor