Oh, there is nothing that is quite like Norwegian kringla! The first time I tasted it was in Decorah in 2012. It was a brand called Nordic Norm’s. While Norm’s is good, you cannot beat something homemade. On that visit, I fell in love with the Iowa town of Decorah and, even to this day, long to return for the fishing, recreation, and the friendly people. 🙂
Packed with carbs (more than a diabetic needs to consume), Kringla is a shortbread with a subtle sweetness to it. Unlike the crunchier English shortbread cookies(such as Walker’s Shortbread), kringla is softer. Why? Because it contains heavy cream, sour cream, shortening, sugar, and egg yolk as well as some almond extract and it is lightly baked to retain the soft texture. This heavenly pastry just dissolves in your mouth… and probably clogs up the arteries as it goes down!
Fast forward to this evening… I was at work trying to dream up some new recipes to take along this week when I go fishing and camping. The destination will likely be Decorah and Serena is going along, weather permitting. Thinking of Decorah, I longed for the melt-in-your-mouth pastry, vowing to make some myself! In recent days, I had done some surfing and found several recipes and read about the kringla making technique.
The recipe I tried to concoct was so-so. It was not sweet enough and needed more sugar. A bit more almond extract was required as well. After that, I was excited to roll out the first rope of dough and have some piping hot kringla!
The first tray (with the V.T. initials) on it tasted like crap. First, the oven had not been up to temperature. I had also rolled the cold dough into balls, then into little ropes to form the letters and other designs. The dough came out crunchy on the outside, gooey on the inside. The flavor was okay but the texture was gross! What a disappointment!
With time, the dough warmed and became very soft and highly pliable. Just from gravity, the little ropes tried to stretch apart when held up. I formed the pieces into the traditional “infinity” signs and baked the cookies. The next part was almost magical.
The second batch blew me away! The taste, smell, and texture was heavenly. On top of that, the kringla was hot out of the oven. The almond smell wafted into the sinuses and for a few seconds, nothing else mattered. It was pure bliss. I got a little choked up thinking about how much fun has been had up north in that special place.
There is kringla in the freezer now, waiting to be taken along on this week’s trip and consumed down by the trout streams. At least one new camping spot and a new nature trail awaits. More recipes will be tested and written down to share in the cookbook. And, of course, there will be more cat pictures, too.
Thanks for popping in… Watch for a post later in the week. Take care and have some fun. Life’s too short not to enjoy the smell of fresh baked Norwegian desserts!
Brad, the “Van Trekker”