I pulled open the drawer and took out a small iron wrapped in a clear, plastic bag. Blackened with grease. The signs of wear and tear. Perhaps overuse. Love. I found this particular iron, known as a krumkakejern, hidden underneath serving trays and bread baskets at the local charity shop. It was hard to tell what it was from just looking at it. And the plastic bag did not do it any justice. But once I realised what it was, a smile crept across my face and my eyes grew wide with that giddy excitement you get when you’ve discovered something wonderful & hidden. And while it was no longer precious to its first beholder, I brought it home and tucked it away gently, waiting for December to come around. When I could bring my krumkakejern back to life.
Krumkake is simply a sweetened wafer cone. It’s one of the most classic, and oldest (according to Mat Fra Norge) Norwegian cookie eaten during the Christmas season. The process is quite similar to making waffles. The batter is lightly poured in the krumkakejern/iron, which is then placed on top of a hot stove and turned to ensure both sides are cooked thoroughly. Each krumkakejern is embellished with an intricate design, leaving the krumkaker branded with an elegance that will fancify any old table.
Traditionally, krumkaker is served with whipped cream and berries, especially multekrem (cloudberries gently folded into whipped cream). But I wanted something a little more different and unique. Sometimes I sway from tradition. Sometimes I blend. Truthfully, I also didn’t have any cloudberries on hand.
I recently came across a luscious looking recipe by the delightful Imen, who writes the blog Farmette. Her recipe for gingerbread cake with marmalade and juniper cream made me do a double take. Juniper berries, known as einebær in Norway, are very common place here but are usually used in savory dishes. They are earthy, fresh and definitely conjure up images of winter in my mind. To see them used in a dessert was, nonetheless, inspiring. And so I thought, why not replace the typical, basic whipped cream with one infused with juniper as in Imen’s recipe. And since it’s that time of year for going a bit overboard, why not offer a second option of a sweet, espresso infused whipped cream. Lord knows this girl likes her cakes with her coffee. Thus, my traditional krumkaker had a double date with juniper and espresso. And the result? Well, let’s just say there will be more double dates in the future!
Now I have to be honest, while my krumkakejern had been around the block more than I could imagine, I was merely a krumkaker virgin. But I set to work knowing that I would have around 40 chances to make at least one right. Good chances, right? Sure, some came out a little more burnished than others and the thickness was possibly more than some would prefer. I like to think of them as rustic. And who doesn’t like rustic. All in all though, the taste was fantastic and the experience was dreamy.
There are a million and one versions of krumkaker out there. This is mine, a combination of many. A krumkakejern or traditional Norwegian iron, can be purchased quite easily online or from many home & kitchen stores. So don’t be dismayed if you don’t have one lying around, they are very accessible to purchase these days. You can also opt for an electric one, which reduces the overall cooking time.
Krumkaker with Espresso Cream & Juniper Berry Cream (Krumkaker med Kaffe Krem og Einebær Krem)
(Makes around 40 krumkaker)
*The key to this recipe is that the eggs, flour, sugar & butter will all weigh the same
- 3-4 eggs (weighed on a scale – mine came to 200 grams, therefore I used 200 grams of flour, sugar & butter)
- lukewarm water (half the weight of the other ingredients – in my case, 100 grams)
- krumkakejern or traditional Norwegian iron & cone shaped mould
Melt the butter in a small pan over low heat. Let cool. Place the eggs, flour, sugar, and melted butter in a food processor or blender and mix thoroughly. Add in the water and mix again. Let the batter rest for at least 15 minutes.
Place the krumkakejern/iron on the stove over medium heat. Let it warm up. Alternatively, if you are using an electric iron, follow the manufacture’s directions for use.
When warm, add a little butter to grease the iron & prevent sticking, you only need to do this 2 or 3 times in the beginning. Place about 1 Tb of batter on the iron and close (to reach your desired krumkaker thickness, adjust the amount of batter). Cook for approximately 30 seconds on each side, or until light golden. As soon as they are finished cooking, wrap them around a cone-shaped mould & let set – this happens very quickly. Remove from the mould & set aside. Continue cooking until all the batter is used.
Espresso Infused Whipped Cream & Juniper Berry Infused Whipped Cream
- 2 cups/ 500 grams heavy cream
- 1/2 cup espresso beans
- 1/4 cup dried juniper berries, crushed gently
- 1 tsp sugar
Place half of the heavy cream (1 cup/250g) in a clean jar with a lid & add the espresso beans. In a second jar, add the remaining cream & crushed juniper berries. Let both jars sit in the refrigerator overnight to infuse the flavors.
Strain the espresso beans over a bowl & do the same with the juniper berries in a separate bowl. Discard the beans & berries.
Add 1 tsp sugar to the espresso infused cream and whisk just until the cream reaches stiff peaks. Do the same for the juniper berry infused cream, but only add around 1/2 tsp sugar if desired.
Serve alongside or in the krumkaker. Enjoy!