One of the most delicious things made in Norwegian kitchens is krumkake. Similar to Italian pizzelles, a krumkake is a light cookie made on an iron (typically embossed with a decorative design) and rolled on a little wooden cone. Tasty on their own and fabulous filled with whipped cream and jam, krumkaker are traditionally found around Christmastime but can be enjoyed with great pleasure year-round.
If you’re new to this cookie or you’re in the market to replace your grandmother’s old cast iron krumkake maker [raises hand], you’ll undoubtedly see the Nordic Ware Norwegian Krumkake Iron at some point in your research.
I purchased it during the holidays and put it to work making oodles of krumkake to share with family and friends. It’s different from the traditional style you might be used to — primarily because it is made of a lightweight cast aluminum versus cast iron — but I fell in love with my iron… once I figured out how to use it. Read on for my full review!
Why Nordic Ware?
Nordic Ware is one of the industry-leaders when it comes to bakeware, and they are one of the only manufacturers that still makes everything entirely in the U.S. Given their history and contribution to the world of baking (they did invent the Bundt cake pan, after all), it’s never a bad thing to turn to Nordic Ware for new bakeware.
Additionally, Nordic Ware specializes in Scandinavian specialty bakeware and is one of the only brands out there making stovetop krumkake irons. (Another is Bethany Hardware, but the iron is a bit harder to find and there’s little in the way of reviews or info about it.) So, as for my decision to go for this iron, it was pretty simple: I know and like Nordic Ware and this is one of the only non-electric options (more on electric krumkake makers later).
Appearance & Build
Out of the box, the Nordic Ware iron is lovely. The cast aluminum, wooden handles, and inner design look grand and have an antique feel. I bought this because I couldn’t find my grandmother’s iron from Norway, so unfortunately I cannot compare it to an authentic Norwegian one. Even so, this seems very similar.
A key difference in this versus the older styles is the iron holder, which lifts the iron off of the burner — all the traditional krumkake irons I’ve seen lay directly on the burner. This is a great addition for me as I have a glass stovetop.
Because it is cast aluminum, the iron is very light. The hinge comes apart so you can easily clean both sides of the iron, and the holder features a handle and divots where the hinge and handle fit in precisely.
My first time using the iron was pretty tricky. I initially did not let it warm up long enough on the stovetop, so I ended up with a sticky mess. I cleaned off my first failed attempts and used a silicon brush to add a bit of vegetable oil before each cookie. The instructions indicate you only need to do this once, but I did it for a few cookies to be safe. After that I didn’t experience any sticking.
It takes quite a while to figure out the correct amount of batter. I was conservative for the first while, so the cookies ended up small and not visually appealing. As I increased the batter, I overshot the amount and ended up having surplus that burned onto both the iron and my stove.
The included instructions advise 1-2 tsp of batter and the sweet spot for me ended up being a generous teaspoon. I also found that it worked best to place the batter closer to the back, then close and squeeze the handles while tilting the iron forward.
The instructions also say to bake 5-10 seconds per side, but I found going a little longer worked better for uniform color. However, I never have figured out how to get uniform color on both sides of the cookie — one side was always darker (not a big deal as it doesn’t seem to affect taste and I always rolled with the lighter side on the inside).
After a lot of trial and error, I ended up with an aesthetically pleasing batch for handing out. I do think it will take a while to really get it down to where I have fully uniform krumkake that look as good as I remember my grandmother’s being.
To sum up, here a few key takeaways and tips regarding use of the Nordic Ware Krumkake Iron:
- Takes plenty of practice
- Handles get SUPER HOT so be very careful
- Preheating may require longer than instructions indicate
- Start with a conservative amount of dough and slowly work up from there (to avoid burning)
- Not compatible with induction stovetops, but will work well on all other types
As for cleaning, my iron and iron holder are now stained due to some of the overflow. I haven’t yet tried the recommended course of action — fine steal wool soap pads or aluminum metal cleaners — but I have gotten it clean enough. I personally don’t mind the look of it, it simply looks like it has been used a lot (so it has a ‘vintage vibe’ if you will), but I’ll eventually try to get the burnt on stuff off.
Versus Electric Krumkake Maker
One of the question a contemporary baker might be asking is whether to stick to tradition or move to a new electric option. There are two top performing electric bakers I looked into: the Chef’sChoice Krumkake Express and the Cucina Pro Krumkake Baker (which is similar to, and may even be the same as, the Bethany Housewares version). Both have plenty of good reviews, with the Chef’sChoice including more compelling arguments overall. I think it would be worth checking out either of these if you’re in the market for an electric option.
A few thoughts on the differences between electric and the old fashioned irons:
- The Nordic Pro is going to give you a more authentic experience of making krumkake… which also means its more time-consuming and prone to user error
- An electric baker has more to go wrong, of course, and isn’t really something you can expect to be passed down (though I suppose it could last for a long time if you get a good one!)
- The Cucina Pro option makes two at once, cutting down on overall time needed to bake the krumkaker
- Electric pros: faster, no learning curve, consistent results
- Traditional pros: more authentic, better control over color and uniformity, easier to store
I’m happy with my choice of the Nordic Pro krumkake iron. To me there is no question that this is the best option out there for a brand-new, modern krumkake iron. I see the appeal of the electric, but I’m a fan of authenticity when it comes to my Norwegian baking.