By Kay Steiger
One of my favorite Norwegian treats around Christmas is called krumkake (which Wikipedia tells me means curved or bent cake). It’s a tasty vanilla cookie that basically has the texture of a light waffle cone. Recipe after the jump.
To make krumkake it is essential to have a krumkake iron. Although we always had one around when I was growing up, it’s not exactly a kitchen essential in D.C. After some research, I discovered that many cheaper and inferior irons are made of alumninum. They don’t get as hot as a cast iron kind, and the cookies are more likely to turn out soggy. Many old ones you might pick up at a garage sale or in your Norweigan grandmother’s basement are likely to be cast iron, but to find the best of the new kind today, I went to Nordic Ware, a Minnesota-based company (obviously). The iron I ended up buying was a little more expensive than the alumninum kind, but totally worth it. The product looks like this:
The first time I made them I used this recipe and made them on a gas stove. The second time I used the recipe from my grandma’s file below and cooked them on an electric stove. The corn starch helped add an extra crispiness and consistency (sorry, Ben Adler), so I’ll probably use my grandma’s recipe from now on.
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
2 tbsp. cornstarch
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. vanilla (or ground cardamom seed)
1. Preheat the iron over medium heat. Melt the butter, set aside in a the refidgerator to let it cool.
2. Beat the eggs with a whisk slightly. Add sugar and beat until light.
3. Add vanilla, cooled melted butter, cornstarch, and flour. The batter will be slightly thicker than pancake batter.
4. Preheat krumkake iron on both sides. You can tell it’s ready when a few drops of watr placed on the iron dance around. Drop about a teaspoon on the center of the open iron. (It will take a couple of tries to eyeball the correct amount. My instinct is always to put too much on and then it squeezes out the sides and burns.) Cover quickly, pressing the handles together firmly to get the cookie thin enough and cook 45 seconds to 1 minute on each side. They should be “delicately browned.”
5. Remove from the iron with a butterknife. Roll quickly (while it’s still hot — this caused me to burn my fingers slightly) into a cone shape. You can also use the handle of a wooden spoon if you don’t have the roller.
6. Once they’ve cooled, eat away! This recipe makes more than two dozen. Some have suggested serving them with whipped cream and fruit, but I like to eat them plain.