Ah, krumkake…the cookie that equals Christmas in Christian’s family! If you aren’t familiar with krumkakes, it’s a Norwegian waffle cookie that is crisp, light and delicious. Especially with coffee or tea…but then again, I think we just like an excuse to eat cookies for breakfast. It’s similar to a delicate ice cream cone, and some even use them this way (or to fill with other delicious treats such as whip cream!). The holiday undertone of this cookie, however, comes from the hint of cardamom. Fabulous!
So how do you make these beauties if you don’t have an adorable Norweigian grandmother cranking them out for you like a pro? Oh, how we miss Grandma Henricksen! Well, it takes a bit of special equipment, some patience, and fingertips tough enough to handle the hot cookies (aka, Christian in my household…although even he wears heavy duty kitchen gloves). The batter is ridiculously simple and the process is really fun…part of the holiday tradition in our household since we often make them on the living room table in front of a Holiday movie!
First things first, the batter. This is Christian’s grandmother’s recipe that I use very year. It probably makes about 40-50 cookies which would take somewhere between 60 and 90 minutes…just enough time to watch Santa Clause, the Movie while you make them!
1 lb unsalted butter, softened
1 lb sugar
1 lb + 1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cardamom
In a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until well blended. Add eggs one at a time and mix each one until fully incorporated.
Mix together flour & cardamom, then add to egg mixture slowly until all blended.
If the batter is a bit thin (like pancake batter), put in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes until it firms up. It should be the texture of a soft sugar cookie dough.
Now it’s time to get out the tools. To make krumkakes you need a krumkake iron, rolling cone (links are to the ones I use), a spatula and a friend…you could do it alone, but I personally think it’s a 2-person job. More fun that way too! If you’re buying a new iron (they can be used for pizzelles too) make sure you buy one that makes two krumkakes at a time vs. one. Otherwise it will take way too long! Two rolling cones are necessary in this case as well.
Make sure to cover your table with paper bags and put the iron right on top…things tend to get a bit buttery! Once your iron is hot, place two heaping spoonfuls towards the back of each imprint (the pressure of the top spreads the batter forward) and shut and latch the iron closed.
It takes a few times to get the amount of batter right, so be patient…sometimes it will be too much and bust out of all the sides making a mess, other times it will be too little and make tiny cookies (which is fine!). Usually by the 3rd or 4th press you’ll have it down and when you open your iron (after about 90 seconds), your cookies will look like this. Some people like them a bit darker (which also means crispier) so play around with the time a bit:
Now, as soon as you open the iron and they look done (if you open it too early, it’s fine to close it again…but they start to get dark fast near the end of the cook time so be careful) grab your spatula and scoop it off to the person waiting with the rolling cone in hand and they can immediately roll it around the cone. Careful here…they’re really hot, but you need to do it while they’re hot so they don’t harden before being rolled. Christian finds heavy duty kitchen gloves really help protect his fingers! Do the same with the 2nd one and let them sit and cool around the cone and on the paper bag until your ready to roll the next 2.
The first few rounds will feel a bit hectic, but trust me, you get in a nice mindless groove after a few…so like I said, put on a good Holiday movie! The nice thing about krumkakes is that if you store them in an airtight container (tins work great because these take up a lot of room!) they can last for up to 3 weeks. So you can make them nice and early and enjoy them all season long. Put a little powdered sugar on them or fill them with a filling of your choice (although ours are always pretty open at the bottom…maybe stick a candy in the bottom first!) and enjoy!