For over a century, Dutch children have grown up eating chocolate sprinkles, or hagelslag, on buttered bread as a breakfast food or snack. And while they may look nearly identical to the sprinkles found at any American ice cream stand, hagelslag are far superior because they actually have flavor.
Don’t get me wrong, I love sprinkles of all kinds—hating them would kind of feel like hating fun— but you have to admit that the variety we know and love in the U.S. doesn’t bring much to the table beyond a simple sweetness and a light crunch. And, sure, taste might be low on the list of priorities for sprinkles: We mainly think of them as decorative enhancements to cookies, frostings, ice creams, and cake. But what if a sprinkle could do more? What if it could bring both flavor and fun?
The majority of the sprinkles you can easily get your hands on in the U.S. are made of confectioners sugar, binders, and edible waxes. “Chocolate” sprinkles don’t really taste like chocolate because most aren’t technically chocolate at all. The best contain cocoa powder, which imparts a mild chocolate flavor, but I’ve yet to find a widely available brand in the U.S. that contain actual cocoa butter. Dutch hagelslag, on the other hand, have a minimum cocoa butter content of 32% in order to be considered chocolate.
As a result, hagelslag actually have robust chocolate flavor—all while looking just as celebratory as regular sprinkles. Hagelslag come in light and dark varieties: I prefer the slight bitterness of the dark, but the milk chocolate is creamy and delightful as well. As is the Dutch way, I sprinkle them liberally on a slice of buttered bread, which is sweet, chocolatey, and texturally pleasing—the sprinkles add a crunch that perfectly contrasts with the soft white bread and creamy butter. But they are no less wonderful piled on top of a few scoops of vanilla ice cream, dashed over frosted cookies, garnishing a bowl of homemade whipped cream—or just eaten every morning for breakfast.
Maybe you think you’re totally satisfied with your current chocolate sprinkle situation—or maybe you’ve been enjoying hagelslag on toast for breakfast for years. Either way, we shouldn’t be afraid to find room in our hearts for more chocolate—or to ask more from our sprinkles. If you love chocolate, and you love sprinkles, you will undoubtedly love hagelslag.
$7.00, Yummy Bazaar
$7.00, Yummy Bazaar
Originally Appeared on Epicurious