Cookie Extravaganza: Brown Butter Krumkaker
The Great Norwegian Christmas Cookie Extravaganza!
Krumkake is a Norwegian waffle cookie that is pressed inside a decorative iron and then wrapped around a form while it is still hot, creating a cone shape. Krumkake means “bent cake” in Norwegian. Krumkaker (the plural form) can be eaten plain, or they can be filled with whipped cream or some other kind of sweet filling. They are often served alongside fresh berries in the spring and summer. I also like to use them as ice cream cones, as they are the perfect shape and so much better than store bought cones.
If you are of Scandinavian descent, chances are good that you have encountered krumkaker on a Christmas cookie tray at some point in your life. Here in the United States, they are most often made during the holiday season and are a beautiful addition to the Christmas cookie lineup. Delicate and golden with a decorative imprint on the surface, there is no doubt that these cookies have a lot going for them in the looks department.
My version of krumkake includes brown butter, or butter that has been melted on the stove until it is golden brown and nutty in flavor. This produces a delicate and crisp cookie with all of the good looks you might expect and also toasty with subtle caramel notes and just the right amount of sweetness.
Brown Butter Krumkaker
Makes about 30 cookies
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup whole milk
3 tbsps. water
3/4 tsp. fine salt
2 tbsps. cornstarch
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Krumkake iron, either an electric or stovetop model
Cone-shaped form for rolling the cookies (plastic is fine, but I prefer a wooden one)
- Place butter in a medium skillet (preferably not nonstick or cast iron, so that you can more easily see the color change) and heat over medium low heat, swirling the pan frequently. Once the butter has melted, continue to cook over medium low, swirling the pan frequently, until the butter has a nutty aroma and is golden brown in color. Don’t walk away from the stove! Brown butter can go from perfect to burnt in a matter of seconds. Transfer brown butter to a bowl to cool.
- Whisk salt, cornstarch, and flour together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Combine granulated sugar and eggs in a large bowl and whisk until fully combined and no lumps of sugar remain. Slowly whisk in cooled brown butter and vanilla extract. Keep whisking until the mixture is emulsified and cohesive.
- Add milk and water and whisk until fully combined. Add flour mixture and whisk until batter is smooth and no lumps remain. Rest batter 30-45 minutes at room temperature.
- Working with 1 tbsp. of batter at a time, bake cookies on a krumkake iron, either an electric or stovetop model, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. It may take a few tries to get the hang of how your iron works, so be patient. I like to err on the side of a cookie that is darker in color. They are crisper and have better flavor.
- Remove the hot cookie from iron and place it on a clean kitchen towel. Quickly, while the cookie is still hot, carefully roll the krumkake around a cone-shaped form. Use the towel to help start the rolling process if the cookies are too hot for your fingers. The sooner you begin rolling the better. The cookies will almost immediately start to harden as they cool and become difficult or impossible to roll into a cone shape. Let the rolled cookie rest with the form inside, seam side down on the clean towel, while the next cookie is baking. Remove the cone form and transfer krumkake to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve.
Notes: Store krumkaker in a cookie tin or glass container at room temperature 3-5 days. They also freeze well.
But you mustn’t stop with just one kind of Christmas cookie! Browse our recipes to fill your holiday table with at least syv slags!
This article originally appeared in the Nov. 27, 2020, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.