Along with sandbakkles and pepperkakker, krumkakker are one of the cookies that form the Norwegian triumvirate. If you ever go to a Swedish market, or a Scandinavian Christmas mart, you’re guaranteed to find these for sale – often with a cream filling. But as purists, we Oksendahls/Sahlbergs serve the cookies plain, no filling.
Making this cookie requires a special tool, called a krumkakker iron. While modern cooks use the electric version now commonly available (and my Aunt Tanis says it really is slick), I still have my mom’s old cast-iron one. It’s even still in the pink-foil-wrapped box she stored it in when I was a kid.
Whichever type of iron you use, these cookies are best made with two people: one person to work the iron, the other person to roll the hot cookie into a cylinder.
Makes 3 dozen
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c melted butter
1 t vanilla
1/2 c sifted flour
Beat the eggs until light and fluffy, then gradually add the sugar and then the melted butter. Add the vanilla, then slowly incorporate the flour.
Baking them is the part that gets tricky, especially if you’re using a traditional cast-iron baker that sits over a stove burner. The trick is finding the right temperature: too hot, and the butter will just smoke and burn. Too cool, and the dough won’t spread out enough.
Complicating matters is that once you burn a cookie, you have to scrub the burnt dough out of the crevices of the iron. This means that your iron plummets in temperature, and also that your build-up of butter is gone.
To make a cookie drop a spoonful of dough into the middle of the iron, a bit closer to the hinge than the outer edge.
Close the lid and hold it shut for about 30-45 seconds, then flip so the other side cooks. You can peek to see if it’s done or not – it should be slightly golden, but not deep brown. It will also fall easily away from the iron when it’s done.
When the cookie is done, take the iron off the stove and flip the cookie out onto your work surface. Immediately roll it into a cylinder, using the dowel that came with the krumkakke baker. Press and hold it for a moment to seal the crease, then slide it off onto a sheet of waxed paper to cool.
The ones at the far end of this picture are a bit too dark; the ones closer to the front are the right shade.