Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Kringla, Versatile and Amazing Little Pastry

    It’s the day before Thanksgiving.  It’s time. 
    I climb on the kitchen stool and open the cabinets in my 30’s kitchen.  After a sigh over the disarray, I reach for the top shelf.  Out comes a half package of spaghetti, the Dutch cocoa in the pretty tin, the excess corn husks from a tamale experiment, a lost BBQ spice blend, and six open boxes of toothpicks.  There it is, next to a sandwich bag of half used birthday candles.  The chipped, dark brown recipe box still has floury finger prints from when I stowed it away last year.
     I really only bring out the box around the holidays.  Most of my recipes are digitized and searchable or clipped from magazines and stashed in three ringed binders.  But, around the holidays, that annual nostalgia for familial comforts must be satisfied and grandmas old recipes are resurrected.  I open the box.  There it is, printed on bright yellow paper and given to me by my aunt years ago.  The recipe for Kringla.  An upper Midwestern mainstay, this Norwegian pastry is an enigma, both dense and fluffy.   The slight sweetness is like no other and immediately evokes memories of stocking footed mornings watching Sunday Morning and cozy evenings playing Rummikub.   My grandmother served Kringla with butter and a dish of jam.   They are frequent additions to after dinner cookie trays on my aunt’s coffee table.  My dad likes them with coffee in the morning.  When I asked him how Grandpa liked to eat them, he smiled though the phone and said, “Quickly.”
      My grandma always made perfect little knots.  It took me years to get even reasonable at it.  Still, most of my kringla look like pastry tumors with ears.  Never the less, I still consider this one of my go to holiday recipes.  Every year, I make a huge batch of them and freeze them by the dozen.  They make a unique host’s gift.  They also match surprisingly well with a glass of champagne as an elegant cocktail accompaniment or a late night snack.  What?  You don’t have champagne as a late night snack?

Recipe for Kringla
½ cup butter
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp soda
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
Beat all the above together thoroughly.
Add 1 cup buttermilk and 4 cups flour alternately a little at a time.  Make sure it is thoroughly mixed but don’t over beat. 
Chill overnight.  This is an important step.
Heat the oven to 375 degrees.  Roll out in logs about 13 inches long and the thickness of your ring finger.  Shape like a pretzel and move to a parchment covered cookie sheet.  Leave about an inch between each kringla.  Bake until lightly brown on the bottom edges, about 15 min.  Cool completely and store in an air tight container. 


  1. How have I not had one of these? Save me one!

  2. Dipped my kringla in coffee this morning, excellent!