(Image courtesy of LefseTime)
When my husband, who is part Norwegian, first introduced me to krumkake, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. This delicious little waffle cookie —slightly similar to Italian pizelle cookies but with a much more delicate flavor and texture— is a traditional holiday staple in my husband's family. What sets krumkake apart from other waffle cookies is that it's made using cardamom and the flour is sifted so it's super-fine which helps to give the batter a nice light consistency. The batter is then cooked on a special griddle engraved with beautiful designs. If you don't own one, you can easily purchase one for around forty dollars, or you can simply cook them in a small crepe/sautee pan or flat griddle. The batter will spread as it heats and you can flip them with a spatula for sort of crunchy wafers. You won't have the pretty lacey pattern but you'll still have the yummy treats!
These delectable little babies are so light and delicate, so beautiful and so tasty I could eat, ahem, well, let's just say...a lot. My husband has made krumkake for many, many years using his grandmother's original recipe which uses wheat flour. Ever since I started eating gluten free (and casein free in many cases for my son's sake), I've missed having krumkake at Christmas. We decided to remedy that this year and set out to modify Grandma's recipe. Which, ahem, it turns out is packed away with some other cookbooks in my mother's attic. (Did I mention my kitchen is tiny? I'm sure I did.)
The recipe below comes from LefseStore; we substituted a GF flour blend for the regular flour but split the difference on casein by using butter and rice milk. We were so pleased with this recipe that we'll use it again and substitute something else for the butter, perhaps coconut butter or palm shortening.
The basic recipe (with GF or CF substitutions in parenthesis after):
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened (not melted) (coconut butter or palm shortening)
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 1/2 cup flour, sifted (GF sorghum blend, recipe at the end of this post)**
1 scant cup milk (rice milk)
1 pinch salt (moderate) (not in the original recipe but my husband remembered that from Grandma's)
**1/4 tsp xanthan gum (omit if using regular flour)
Beat the eggs well. Add sugar, butter and cardamom, beat well.
Add flour and milk in equal parts at a time and beat until smooth. (Confession: I tossed the flour and milk in together in my Kitchenaid stand mixer and it was fine. If you are mixing by hand you should definitely follow the recipe's instructions.) The key is not to overmix the flour; too much can make the final product more coarse than you want.
Using a tablespoon or large mixing spoon, spoon the batter onto the griddle just behind the center of the design. When the lid is closed, the weight of it will push the batter forward to fill in the design. Cook for about a minute and check for doneness. The cookies are done when they are a light golden color and the pattern is just discernable. Use a wooden or synthetic spatula (for non-stick cookware) to lift the edge of the cookie off the griddle while rolling it. Tradition calls for rolling them, while still hot, around a cone-shaped form. If you don't have a cone form it's perfectly fine to use a round handled whisk or a broom stick. Or simply lay them flat to cool.
(Image courtesy of ChefsChoice)