Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Little Norwegian Baking Anyone

I recently ran across a Reno resident on the internets and found her writings, and photography interesting.  I started following @Teepoole on twitter and saw her post this very gorgeous photo, of krumkake which inspired me to write down my history with traditional Norwegian baking. My photos are not nearly as pretty, but it’s the thought, right!
Photo by by teepoole  
Photo by by teepoole
For generations my family has been making krumkake,  sandbakkelse and rosettes during the holiday season.  The tins, tools and recipes used have been passed down over the generations.  Sadly, both the krumkake iron and rosette iron (both made of cast iron) were dropped and broken before being handed down to me.  I have purchased new rosette irons (2 now) and still have the sandbakkelse tins that have been passed down from my great grandmother (as I understand it) .  I still have the krumkake iron, but it’s broken at the hinge which makes it unusable.
My mother used to slave over these cookies every holiday.  If you are new to the making of these cookies, here is a little background. 
Rosettes are made by dipping a hot iron in batter and deep frying.  This is  slow and tedious process and the reason I have two irons. When baking by myself, I always have one iron in the fryer.  When my son Jacob helps, as he has for the last 2 years, we both have an iron.  This is a big help. Thanks Jake!
The instructions I have from my family were always very basic, and the method for making the best rosettes was always handed down orally.  So I have written down my method and will share with you here.  You will need a rosette iron.  When you get good at it, two is faster.
Makes about 42
2 Eggs
1 Cup Whole Milk (from your best cow)
1 Tsp Vanilla
1 Cup Flour
1 Tbsp Sugar
Fat for frying (original recipe called for lard)
1/4 Tsp Salt Powdered Sugar

In a bowl combine the eggs, granulated sugar, and 1/4 Tsp salt; beat well. Add flour, milk, and vanilla; beat smooth. Heat a rosette iron in deep hot fat (375°). Dip hot rosette iron into batter, being careful batter comes at least to 1/4 of the way to the top but NOT over the top of the iron.
TThe technique for frying is to lower the rosette into the fat slowly until you see the batter “flower” away from the iron. If you do not do this you will struggle to get the rosette off of the iron. Note the batter separating from the iron as it is allowed to “flower”.
It is at this point that you can lower it fully into the oil.  Fry rosette in the hot fat till slightly golden, about ½ to 1 minute (they will continue to cook after removed). Lift iron out; tip slightly to drain off excess fat. Using a fork carefully push rosette off iron onto several layers of paper toweling on top of several layers of newspaper. As each rosette cools, move to a newer layer of paper towels to allow for additional drainage of oil. Replace towels as needed. An oily rosette is a yucky rosette. Allow rosettes to cool overnight.  Do not put them in a sealed container or they will remain soggy. Sift powdered sugar onto rosettes.
Note: The first few rosettes will be “tasters” and each following rosette may require additional time adjustments till you are satisfied with the results. Practice, practice, practice.
On to the sandbakkelse.  This traditional cookie is typically made using almonds or almond flavoring.  I am not a big fan of the almond flavoring, so one year I substituted vanilla for the almond, and it was a big hit with a family who has been eating them every year for all of my life, and my mother for all of hers. Yikes, breaking one tradition, and creating my own.  The cookie is then traditionally filled with jam, jelly or lemon tart filling.  We have always just eaten them plain.  One year I made a barbaric break from tradition and dipped a few of the cookies in a family fudge recipe. I half expected to hear “blasphemy” shouted at me from all sides, but instead I heard “why didn’t you dip them ALL of them in fudge!!!???”  That was the clincher.  For the last few years I have made them the same way.
The key tool you will need are sandbakkelse tins.  Also called sand tins.  The trick here is to get older seasoned tins.  I have tins passed down from my family as well as newer shiny tins.  Frankly, I find the new tins nearly impossible to use.  I recommend getting “vintage” tins if you can find them. The new tins tend to be too slick, making it hard to press the dough into them.
Newer tin (not so good)  
Vintage tin (best bet)
The Sandbakkelse Recipe:
Makes: a lot
1 lb. soft butter
2 teaspoons vanilla (or almond)
2 cups sugar
1 egg
about six cups or more of flour
Wash hands thoroughly (trim nails, you will see why when you press the dough). Mix ingredients in order given. Use more flour if necessary so dough can be easily handled and so it will leave the bowl.  Most recipes call for chilling the dough.  In my experience this actually makes pressing the dough into the tins more difficult. The technique I employ is to press the dough into the bottom of the tin, rotate, press, rotate, working the dough up the sides of the tin. Press the dough until it’s almost thin enough to see through. I then brush the dough off the edges of the tins and press the rim into the palm of my hand to create a smooth well formed rim.  Fill half of your tins and then bake at 350° for about 10 minutes or until slightly golden.  While the first batch is baking, you can continue pressing dough into the tins so that you create a round robin of tin filling and baking.
Your first batch will most likely be done baking before your are done pressing dough into the rest of your tins.  This will allow the first batch to cool enough to remove them from the tins. Cup the bottom of the tin in the palm of your your hand and gently squeeze the tin at the rim as you rotate the tin in your hand until the sandbakkelse is loose and falls from the tins.  This method works better for me than using a fork or other method to remove the cookie.
The first batch will be “tasters” and will most likely stick to the
tins until you get the hang of it. Do not wash them, just scrape out what you can and go again. Successive batches will be easier to press into the tins as they will be warm from the prior batch.  I actually leave the dough and tins on the top of the stove near the heat vent so they stay warm.
I then make a batch of our fudge and dip half of the cookie in the fudge, place it on parchment paper and place in the fridge to cool.

UPDATE: Adding the fudge recipe by popular request.

Mama Moyle's Fudge

1/4 lb butter
18 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips (roughly 2 1/4 cups)
1 - 12oz can evaporated milk
4 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 jar marshmallow whip

Be sure you are prepared to dip the Sandbakkelse cookies before you start. Have enough cookie sheets with parchment paper prepared ahead of time.  Once this process gets rolling, there is no changing direction. If the fudge cools too quickly you will not be able to dip the Sandbakkelse. It is also helpful to have all the butter unwrapped, the vanilla measured out and the marshmallow jar opened and the safety seal removed.

In a large pot (as the milk and sugar will foam to a large volume), stirring CONSTANTLY bring the milk and sugar to a rolling boil.
Maintain a boil and stir constantly for 9 minutes. You will need to adjust the heat, but a boil is important as you are working to caramelize the sugar.
When the 9 minutes is up reduce heat to a simmer and stir in the butter until melted.
Stir in the vanilla.
Stir in the marshmallow until melted.
Stir in the chocolate chips until melted. Based on the thickness, you may choose to NOT put all the chocolate chips in, or you may wish to add additional marshmallow fluff to allow for a thinner consistency.  This all comes with practice.

At this point I put the heat at the lowest setting and start dipping Sandbakkelse into the fudge.  Dip in half way and place on a parchment sheet.  Allow to cool.

I usually try to put them in the fridge to set the fudge, but after that, they do not HAVE to be kept in the fridge.

I hope you give these recipes a try and enjoy them as much as our family does.



  1. and gee, i remember the days when i had this great pal. He was always so corny and proud of these delicious cookies, and with great pride and crumbs in his beard while we snacked on some of these wickedly fattening delights, he was always so excited to recite the story of how they came to be. what the hell, man. where'd they go this year?

  2. Oh man... Sandbakkelse. Dipping them in fudge was really a stroke of genius. I think anyone who has tasted them would agree that you have made a contribution to the advancement of western culture that can stand proudly next to the discovery of fire, the UNIX operating system, and the first Ramones album. I think I ate at least half my weight in those the last time I was in Reno for Christmas.

  3. Remember! An oily rosette is a yucky rosette!

  4. Love it! I always enjoy reading about your tips)
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  5. May I get your fudge recipe to dip them in? Sounds suer yummy! So grateful for the step by step directions!

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Diana, that was pretty silly of me to forget to add the fudge recipe. I will make an update to the post today sometime! Thanks for reading.

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. Thanks for the post. Much thanks again. Really Great.
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