Krumkake (pronounced “croom kaga”) is a delicious delicate and crumbly cookie that Scandinavians make at Christmas time. Being 100% Norwegian myself, I am always looking for ways to learn about my ancestry and our traditions. Speaking of which – I recently did a family tree through Ancestry.com. Everything was going great…until I got out to about 300 AD, where it claimed that I was related to the Norwegian “gods,” Thor and Odin. Wait, what?? I decided that was a good stopping point. I mean…what could have been beyond the Norse gods in my tree? The tooth fairy – maybe Santa Claus?
Ever since I was a child, mom would talk about the krumkake that her mom used to make them make, along with lefse, riskrem (rice pudding), spritz cookies and boller. Out of all of those tasty treats, my mom only made boller. I always wished she’d make krumkake, but she didn’t have the iron for it. Krumkake was something I’ve only had at my aunt Judy’s house, and that changes now. I’ve decided to make this a new family tradition for us now that I have my own krumkake iron!
The smell of boller (or as we called them, “Norwegian buns” or “mom’s buns” *snicker* was one of my all time favorite scents. The scent of cardamom and sweet dough would fill the house and make it so warm and inviting. Krumkake is not always made with cardamom, but I added it to my Christmas Krumkake recipe to give it that special nostalgic flavor I love so much.
FYI – I am not a pro – and to be completely honest with you, this was my first time making krumkake. They should have been a little darker. Better luck next time, right? But they did taste awesome.
To make krumkake, you first need a special iron. What makes it special is the traditional rosemaling design on the iron plates. You have 2 options when looking for an iron. You could get the old fashioned iron, which you place over a hot stove and have to flip halfway through cooking. Or, you could opt for the electronic Krumkake Express iron like I have below. I found mine on Amazon for $50.
Once you have the batter mixed, you will place a tablespoon onto the middle of the iron and press the lid down so that it spreads the batter out to form a full cookie. Follow the lights on the iron – red means wait, green means it’s done – no surprise.
The below photo shows what it will look like before you gently pull it off the iron with a butter knife or a long, skinny spatula. I put a little too much batter in this one, so it spread out over the edges.
Immediately after you remove the cookie from the iron, you have to roll it onto the cone to make the cone shape as in the photo below. Let it sit for 10 seconds until it cools slightly. During this time you could put some more batter on the iron to get your next cookie started.
Gently remove the cone and allow the cookie to cool completely on a wire rack. This is important. If you lie the cookie on parchment paper, the bottom will retain moisture and make it chewy. You want it completely dry and crumbly.
If you make your krumkake a little darker than the one above, it will have a better chance of being delicate and crumbly. See below.
1/2 cup butter, soft
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 drops 100% pure cardamom essential oil (or 1/2 tsp ground cardamom)
6 Tbs. water
Heat your Krumkake iron (I used setting 3 on the electronic iron). Beat butter and sugar until creamy. Add the eggs and mix well. Add flour, vanilla, and water and mix until blended. Let the mixture stand for 30 minutes before using. Bake the cookies according to iron instructions. Roll the warm cookies around the stick that comes with the iron. Let cool on wire rack COMPLETELY. I cannot stress this enough. Even the slightest bit of moisture will ruin the crumbliness you are looking for. Garnish with powdered sugar. (* If you are going to fill them with whipped cream or any other filling, you will want to do it immediately before serving. Do not fill them ahead of time or they will get soggy, and no one likes a soggy krumkake.)