Nearly everyday, Somethin’ Yummy is visited by someone searching for Kringla. I mentioned Kringla in an earlier post about other things Norwegian. Any-hoo, I thought it was ’bout time to make a batch. Actually a half batch. A whole batch, as anyone raised by a Norwegian baker knows, is enough to feed everyone at the family reunion! So, Kringla seekers and anyone else interested in an easy (yes, I said easy!) recipe for a not-overly-sweet, soft-pretzel-esque cookie with Scandinavian roots–here ya go!
After a bit of surfing for Kringla history etc., I discovered there are about as many Kringla recipes and shapes as there are Scandinavian bakers. This is my mom’s recipe, that came from her Aunt Irene, that came from….you get the picture. Kringla was always a “Christmas Cookie” in my childhood, so now that’s the only time I bake them. I’m giving amounts for a half batch–feel free to double it!
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 egg, beaten (The key to half an egg is to beat it in a measuring cup and only put half of the amount into the recipe–save the other half for an egg wash.)
- 1 1/4 cup sour cream (Full fat sour cream makes for a richer kringla!)
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/8 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350F, lightly oil baking sheets or line with parchment paper or silpats.
Beat and measure egg in a measuring cup–remember, you only need half an egg for this half batch of kringla.
Mix sugar, eggs, and sour cream.
Add flour, soda and salt.
Mix, scraping down the sides as needed, until you have a seriously sticky dough.
Dump the dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead for a bit, JUST until the dough is workable, but still sticky inside.
Divide dough in half to make it easier to work with and roll each half into a log around 12-18 inches in length. Slice into narrow pieces. (A whole batch of Kringla makes 6-7 dozen, so adjust how many pieces you’ll need from each log. I also decided to make mine smallish–more on that later–so I cut mine into 24 pieces for each log.)
With floured hands, roll each piece into a snake. I rolled mine into snakes about as long as my hands, Regular sized kringla are usually longer–8-9 inches.
Bring the ends to meet, pinching them together to make a circle–the symbol of the best known of the Old Norse Kings’ Sagas, the Heimskringla–translated, “circle of the world.”
Carefully twist the circle over the pinched part to make a figure 8.
Twist one more time. The dough is very soft, making this twist a bit tricky. Don’t worry about perfection, but if you do, roll it back into a snake and try again!
Place kringla on prepared baking sheets. I found that I could roll another sheet-full while the first batch baked.
Bake for 12-15 minutes; until lightly golden on top. Cool on racks. ( I highly recommend snacking on one or two while still warm!)
Enjoy! I brewed myself a cup of Comfort and Joy tea to have with a few…ok, 5…well, it may have been 6 or 7.
While noshing away on my kringla and tea, I called my mom. We often call each other when we bake. Mom asked if they had holes for my fingers; I said no, I made them kind of smallish and the holes puffed closed. This precipitated a story of my mom’s childhood I never knew of:
My grandma died while my mom was a toddler, so my Aunt Rosie, Grandpa’s sister, and my Aunt Irene, Grandma’s sister helped raise my mom and her two older sisters. Aunt Rosie had them most of the time, and Aunt Irene would take them for a while during the summers. The girls would show up at Aunt Irene’s in nice dresses, which were almost immediately placed under a protective sheet in a closet, and the girls dressed in “farmerettes,” bib overalls for girls. (I have a sort of Von Trapp children image here!) Aunt Irene made the farmerettes from floral printed chicken feed sacks, using flower-shaped buttons to fasten the bibs. Women of that era often bought their chicken feed according to the different prints of the sacks and made blouses, skirts and other clothing from them. In addition to making the farmerettes, Aunt Irene often made Kringla. She made them full-sized, so that the holes don’t puff closed; holes large enough to fit over the fingers of little girls! Aunt Irene would ask each girl to present a hand and she would place a kringla over each finger. When each girl had her kringla, they were allowed out to play. That’s the fun part. Here’s the “scandalous” part: When the visit was over, the girls were dressed in their still perfectly clean and pressed dresses. Aunt Rosie was always impressed with how clean and neatly pressed Aunt Irene had the dresses. The girls never told. Mom thinks they didn’t tell because they thought they wouldn’t be allowed to visit again. Years later, just before Aunt Irene died, Mom and Irene had a giggle over that. 🙂
I know I’m going to enjoy my kringla even more now that I know this story. How nice is it that baking traditions connect us to our histories? What are your baking traditions?