While my father was full-blooded Norwegian, there was very little evidence of this part of our heritage in our home. I’ve always been rather sad about that, and I don’t know why we didn’t explore it more. He DID make us Norwegian pancakes on Christmas Day, and occasionally we had krumkake.
Krumkake. We always pronounced it krum-ka-ka, so I’ve always been a little bit hesitant when asked what it is. It usually entitles me to a funny look and a turned up nose. Some of my other relatives (including ones in Norway) pronounce it krum-kake, while a friend from high school calls it kroom-kaga. Well, however you say it, it doesn’t hide that fact that this is one pretty and tasty little cookie.
I’m originally from California and moved to Oklahoma when I married. We typically stayed home and spent Christmas with my husband’s family. At some point, I started to make krumkake for Christmas and it became somewhat of a tradition. Until this year, however, I hadn’t made it for several years. So this year, I ditched my electric Pizelle maker that I’d be using and went for the old-school authentic Krumkake Iron.
The krumkake iron sits directly on the stove burners and is indented with a frilly pattern. While it’s relatively easy to make, it IS time consuming as you can only make one cookie at a time.
When the iron is hot, I brush both sides of the iron with melted butter, place about a tablespoon of batter on the iron, lower the other half and hit the timer.
Cooking time depends on how high of heat you use. I use a 4 setting and cook the first side for 35 seconds, then flip it over and cook the other side for 1 minute 25 seconds. I burned a lot of cookies before I got the heat and time just right.
When the cookie is golden brown you remove it from the iron and roll it around a cone-shaped tube while it is still pliable. Invariably, I burn my fingers. I have no idea how NOT to burn my fingers. I think it’s just part of the ritual.
They cool pretty quickly and are crispy and ready to be filled with whatever your heart desires. Whipped cream and berries seem to be the tradition, but I like to fill mine with a custard-type filling.
You don’t want to fill them until you’re ready to serve them. So a gift box with tissue paper is the perfect was to store and transport them. They’re relatively fragile and will break. My grandfather would store krumkake in a shoebox. As a kid, I remember him holding out a shoebox and offering me a cookie. At the time I thought it was strange, but it really is a great idea!
This year, I made a quick and easy filling from Instant Vanilla Pudding, Heavy Cream and a touch of sugar. Pureed raspberries with a little sugar added for sweetness and a touch of milk for creaminess gave it a little zing.
Grandma Signe’s Krumkake (makes about 5 dozen)
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup water
4 cups flour
1. Cream butter and sugar together.
2. Add eggs and vanilla; and mix.
3. Add alternately, water and flour.
4. Drop by tablespoon on iron.