Friends and family flip these krumkake cookies

All Things We’re Cooking is a series of family recipes created by you, our readers and listeners, and the special stories behind them. We’ll continue to share more of your kitchen gems throughout the holidays.

Most cookies go in the oven to bake, but krumkake aren’t most cookies. Instead of the oven, bakers typically use an open-flame krumkake iron to make these traditional Norwegian shortbread biscuits.

Lisa Hovis has been making krumkake since she learned it as a young girl alongside her grandma Hovis. Every Christmas, the Hovis family made the 16-mile drive from DeKalb, Illinois to Rochelle, Illinois, where she and her mother joined Hovis’ paternal grandmother in the kitchen.

The rest of the family stayed in a room nearby, where they could smell the sweet treats while waiting to bite into the crunchy cookies that Grandma Hovis called Krum Kage. In the kitchen, the dough came together quickly.

“It’s basically sugar and eggs, and then you take the unwhipped, whipped cream and whip that good. They add flour, vanilla and a pinch of salt,” Hovis said. “And once you’ve got that all mixed up, take about a tablespoon … and then pour the tablespoon on top and the iron closes for about 30 seconds or so and then flip it over.”

After flipping, the other side will bake for about 30 seconds. A knife or fork comes in handy at this point to pry the delicate cookie off the iron before wrapping it around a dowel to form a cylinder.

Just like pancakes, the first cookies are trial runs that are best eaten by the bakers themselves as a snack. Make sure you grease the iron between each cookie and keep the batter thin enough so it spreads easily as you pour, Hovis said.

Hovis is a bit of a purist when it comes to krumkake, Hovis said she doesn’t need to add anything to the cookies to enjoy them, but it’s not uncommon for people to fill the cookies with whipped cream or fruit.

Hovis’ grandma died when she was 13, but the Krumkake tradition didn’t end there. Today, Hovis makes the cookies for her friends and family using the same iron her grandmother used, which dates back to at least 1913.

“When I do it today, it’s like stepping back into that memory, and even though she’s no longer with me, her recipe keeps her alive,” Hovis said.

This Christmas, Hovis is on her way to her aunt’s house in Tucson, Arizona, where she plans to make krumkake with her two nephews and her aunt’s granddaughters.

“I can share that with them, tell them their great-grandmother’s story,” Hovis said. “And hopefully they have an interest in continuing that… so that the recipe and the tradition can continue.”

Krum Kage (Krumkake)

Recipe submitted by Lisa Hovis
Ames, Iowa

ingredients

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • pinch of salt

directions

Beat the sugar and eggs well.

Add half of the cream to the sugar and egg mixture and mix well.

Stir in the flour and beat very smooth, then add the remaining ingredients.

Pour onto a very hot iron and press until browned.

Remove and immediately roll on a stick until cool. Enjoy!

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