Warm up with heart-shaped waffles
Winter may chill, but nothing says comfort like waffles straight off the iron
There is a scent that I know well: hot butter melted on iron. It starts to fill my kitchen and then winds its way through the halls each time I warm up the heart-shaped waffle iron Grandma Adeline gave me years ago.
We used to bake vafler together, the recipe being handed down from generation to generation. My memories of Grandma are filled with platters of these little heart-shaped waffles decorated with jam or gjetost. They were one of her signature dishes, along with lefse, sandbakkels, potato dumplings, peanut bars, and any number of Norwegian Christmas cookies. In my memories, I can’t separate Grandma from the food that she served.
That was how she loved us. With butter and cream. Bowls of ruby raspberries, fresh from the garden, dusted with sugar and drenched in cream like white satin. Dense balls of potato dumplings served with ham and root vegetables and a bottle of light corn syrup for good measure. Strawberry malted milks blitzed together in the blender with ice cream. And of course, waffles.
It’s been said that each Norwegian family has its own recipe for vafler. Sometimes flavored with cardamom, sometimes not, sometimes served with gjetost, other times lingonberry preserves; they’re the quintessential Norwegian treat. This recipe comes from my great-grandma Josephine.
Great-Grandma Josephine’s Norwegian Waffles with Cardamom
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup milk
2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
I’m not sure if my great-grandmother used cardamom in her waffles, but I like the warm flavor it gives. If you like the spice, this is probably the ideal amount. If you don’t, just leave it out.
Cream butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Beat eggs in a separate bowl, then add to the butter and beat until smooth. Mix in buttermilk and milk. Sift together flour, cardamom, baking powder, and baking soda and mix into the batter to combine.
Bake using a heart-shaped waffle maker and serve with gjetost or lingonberry preserves.
Daytona Strong is the voice of Outside Oslo, a blog exploring her Norwegian heritage and love of great food. Check out the blog at www.outside-oslo.com and follow it at www.facebook.com/OutsideOslo and www.twitter.com/OutsideOslo.
Which waffle iron is best?
Some of us are lucky enough to have a time-tested waffle iron, perhaps passed down through the family. But if you’re like me (Emily, not Daytona—hi, readers!), you might be in the market for one. I actually have a modern waffle iron that was given to me a few years ago for Christmas, but it seems to cook unevenly. A cursory internet search turns up several brands, all with reviews running the gamut.
How much can you trust internet reviews, anyway? I trust you, dear readers. So, which waffle iron do you like? Write to us at naw@na-weekly to share your waffle stories, recommendations, and words of caution. Letters may be featured on our “Letters to the Editor” page.
This article originally appeared in the March 6, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.