Everyone has holiday traditions.
Some folks like to go caroling, while others prefer to mix up a big jug of eggnog and play card games.
Hey, maybe there are some people that still cruise around town in a one-horse open sleigh visiting friends and neighbors.
Just like the rest, I have some holiday traditions that I grew up enjoying with my family, like driving through the Sertoma “Christmas in the Park” at Oak Park in Minot.
But this year I’m starting what may become a new tradition that I will renew annually this time of year: Holiday baking.
I’m sure everyone had a grandmother growing up who specialized in some sort of baking — pies, cookies or cakes.
My Grandma Bieri specialized in two Scandanavian treats around the holidays: rosettes and krumkake.
She would start working on them right after Thanksgiving and stockpile them in the basement room of her house along with fudge and other delicacies.
It was tough for her to keep up the supply, with my sister and me sneaking down to grab a few whenever we visited.
My sister also learned how to make lefse from my grandma. She goes ballistic for lefse around the holidays. Only the fortunate few are able to secure a piece when my sister is at the table.
She’d slap Santa’s hand if he was trying to grab the last piece of lefse at Christmas dinner. How’s that for holiday cheer?
And while I’m sure she makes a good lefse, I’m guessing just like my grandma, she has a hard time keeping any around.
So late last month I decided I was going to dip my toe into the holiday baking pool, making some pizzelles, an Italian wafer cookie that is very similar to a krumkake. The main difference that I can tell between the two cookies is that pizzelles are generally flat, while my grandma always wrapped her krumkake around a tube to give them a cone shape.
And of course there are some flavor differences, too. Generally pizzelles are flavored with anise and maybe some rum or whiskey. I’m planning on making a traditional and also one that has lemon zest and limoncello, which will take the place of the rum/whiskey.
Krumkake are generally flavored with vanilla from what I recall, although I’ve heard some people use almond or other flavorings as well.
The krumkake can be taken to the next level by stuffing it with some cream or a fruit whip of some sort. It’s quite the deal.
The process for making pizzelles and krumkake is virtually the same as well. Both use an iron or press that you drop batter into and close. It’s sort of like making a waffle.
Anyway, I dug up my grandma’s old stovetop krumkake maker and I’ll be full steam ahead on the pizzelles this weekend. But I wouldn’t be much of a North Dakotan if I used a krumkake maker and didn’t make krumkake.
So while everyone else is spiking their eggnog with bourbon in preparation for a big game of Crazy Eights or trying to work up a harmony part for Silent Night, I’ll be going on my new holiday tradition.
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