Have I mentioned how great it is to have been brought up Norwegian? My son, who is even less Norwegian than I am, is as pleased as I’ve always been to enjoy the special yumminess found in Scandinavian holiday treats. Mom started it all. She adored all things Scandinavian, baking all kinds of traditional holiday recipes, including these light little pillows of yumminess from Denmark, aebelskivers.
Here it is almost Christmas, and I have piles of cookies and breads and candies and nuts to keep me happy for months, but still I felt compelled yesterday to add to my dragon’s horde and make aebelskivers. Especially after reading that they freeze well and then reheat beautifully in the oven for a traditional Scandinavian Christmas breakfast. Aebelskivers originally had bits of apple or applesauce inside–aebel means apple. They are also made plain, like my Mom’s recipe, and served with applesauce or a berry jam on the side. I like lingonberry–a Scandinavian cranberry-esque fruit. Find lingonberry in your natural foods market or at IKEA. Yup, IKEA. You can also buy pre-made mixes from places like Williams Sonoma. (Mom bough these for me.) They are yummy, but are pretty much the same in prep time as scratch-made.
The manufacturer of my glass-top range says cast iron is a no-no because it could damage the glass. I pouted for a year over this because I knew it meant no aebelskivers for me. Traditional aebelskiver pans like mine are cast iron.
William Sonoma has a variety of electric and stove-top pans and accessories. I wasn’t quite ready to spend sixty bucks plus shipping for a treat I generally make only once a year. I thought about it and thought about it and thought about it and nearly ordered one when…
Cake pops became all the rage and electric cake pop makers began “popping” up all over. They make little spherical cakes, and aebelskivers are spherical. Could a cake pop maker be used for aebelskivers?! Between a coupon and a sale at Bed Bath and Beyond, I procured a Babycakes cake pop maker for about $15 and set out to find out. YES! The abelskivers are smaller, but just as yummy. Good news for those of you already in possession of a cake pop maker!
All you need are a cake pop maker and a few ingredients:
- 2 cups buttermilk or 2 cups milk plus 2 TBSP lemon juice
- 2 cups flour
- 3 eggs, separated
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp cardamom, optional
- powdered sugar
- applesauce or berry jam to serve
If you don’t keep buttermilk around, measure any milk (I used regular, unsweetened almond milk) and add the lemon juice to it and allow it to “curdle” a bit.
Meanwhile, separate the eggs, making sure the whites get into a clean glass or metal bowl for better whipping results.
Lightly beat the yolks and add the milk, sugar and salt.
Then add the flour, soda, and baking powder. Add cardamom here if using. I completely forgot the cardamom until I was nearly done baking the aebelskivers! Sorry Mom! I’ll put it in next time for sure!
Using an electric mixer, whip egg whites to a stiff peak.
Gently fold in the whites in two batches. This takes a while–be patient to maintain as much fluff as possible. This fluff is what will make your aebelskivers so pillowy.
Spray the cake pop maker lightly with spray oil and wipe away any excess to avoid smoking up your kitchen as the appliance heats. Yup. Know this from experience. Heat the cake pop maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions and then fill the wells brim-full with batter. My cake pop maker has 1 tablespoon-sized wells which are conveniently filled with a 1 tablespoon cookie scoop!
Fill as quickly as you can and close the lid to bake. I baked mine for 6 minutes. Your cake pop maker may take more or less time. If you use a regular aebelskiver pan, wait for the tops to get bubbly–like you do for pancakes–and then gently turn them over in their wells using a wooden skewer or knitting needle or little tools made specifically for this purpose. If you’re feeling adventurous, fill the wells only 2/3 full and add a wee bit of applesauce or jelly before adding the last 1/3 of batter per well. I use a 1/4 tsp measure to add jam for my tiny cake pop-sized aebelskivers.
Use the little prong thingie that comes with a cake pop maker or a thin wooden skewer or knitting needle to remove your perfect little aebelskivers. Place them on a plate and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Use a small sieve for this or purchase a powdered sugar shaker from a kitchen store–worth the money! (Look around, I know mine wasn’t as pricey as the one linked to.) They have lids, so powdered sugar can be stored in it, making it ready to use whenever you need it.
This recipe makes 6 or 7 dozen one-inch aebelskivers.
While a batch is baking, get out a pretty plate and some lingonberry jam and do a taste test. Dip each pillowy bite in the jam and enjoy.
Keep adding to your mountain of aebelskiver wonderfulness, sugaring each layer.
If you plan to freeze your aebelskivers for later, let them cool completely before placing in a freezer bag. The aebelskivers will freeze separately from one another, allowing you to take out only how many you want. Then when you’re ready, bake them in a 350F oven for 10-15 minutes or until heated through. Sugar them again and serve with applesauce or jam. Oh, yum-yum-yummy!
Christmas traditions always make the season cozy for me. I find myself reaching back into the past to bring some of that childhood Christmas magic to my adulthood. This year, I found a wee, tiny tinsel tree that reminded me of the big one my grandparents had. I selected ornaments that are reminiscent of the time and lit it with battery-powered color-changing LED lights. The sun made it sparkle yesterday.
Back in the day, these tinsel trees were lit with a color wheel aimed at the tree. The wheel turned, bathing the tree in a progression of colors–red, blue, yellow, and green–that were at their most wonderful at the juncture between colors. It was like waves of color moving across and reflected by the tinsel. Spectacular, and pure Christmas magic. I hope your holidays bring you some of the magic from your childhood. Merry Christmas!