A season of traditions
My mom and I spent some time after Christmas discussing our holiday traditions, something that had always been important to my family. I surprise myself because in general I gravitate towards new experiences preferring to try new restaurants instead of frequenting old favorites and vowing to never go back somewhere I’ve had a supreme experience so as not to taint the memory, however, in respect to holiday traditions, I’m a purest and completely resist change.
In our family we have our cultural traditions stemming from our Norwegian, Swedish and Finnish heritage, ones that have evolved as grandparents have passed away and us kids have gotten older and new ones that have been born as people have entered our lives like my husband Mike or that have sprung from…we will call it creativity.
Making Krumkake (Norwegian Crumb Cookie)
The tradition of making Krumkake as a holiday treat was brought to our family by my Norwegian grandmother who came over to the states for a visit when she as 17 and never went back! She lived with our Great Aunt Hulda, who was Swedish, up in Duluth and legend has it that Hulda wanted an electric Krumkake iron so she passed her stove top version to my grandmother. The iron is 60+ years old and had that many years of grease ingrained in it (a key ingredient!).
Although seemingly simple, making these delicate treats is quite an art form.
Step 1: Make the batter
There are a variety of flavors of Krumkake, but we always make the spice version with ground cardamom.
Step 2: Heat the iron and add 1 spoonful of batter
As you can see, this is one of those things that we forget every year – which spoon to use. My grandma had written a note to use a “regular soup spoon” but that was later revised to instruct that we use the “other spoon.” Unfortunately no one knows what the “other” spoon is so we’ve gone back to the regular soup spoon.
Step 3: Wipe the grease off the iron and scrap off any excess batter
Step 4: Continuously flip the iron so each side gets equal heat then remove from flat cookie from the iron using a knife
Step 5: Immediately shape around the wooden Krumkake roller (and try to keep your finger prints)
Step 6: Cool completely
Now it always take a few tries to get the iron to the right temperature so they turn out just right. You can see the ones on the left are too dark and the ones on the right are just right!
My godmother has joined the tradition and now comes to make these with my mom and sisters every year.
They can be eaten plain or filled with whipped cream and fruit as is tradition in Scandinavia.