My family has a semi-strict rule against purchasing kitchen appliances that only serve one purpose. For example, a cherry pitter or a kiwi knife or a panini maker are absolute no-goes because they take up valuable cabinet real estate. If the device or appliance has only a single capability, we believe that more multi-purpose paring knife or just a good ol’ frying pan can do the trick.
Nonetheless, when we discovered that my grandmother still owned her ancient Nordic Ware krumkake iron, we couldn’t help but try it out. Though it resembles a delicate waffle iron, this appliance can make paper thin cookie rounds. And that is literally all it can do. With its wood handle and rusted iron edges, it’s a kitchen tool that’s specific but still useful in its own way — namely, satisfying one’s desire for a slightly sweet snack.
I have vivid memories of sitting in the black leather chair in my grandparents’ family room and swinging my legs as I gobbled up these cookies. Crumbs most likely covered the chair seat and fell into my lap, flying all over my favorite pink and purple striped leggings. The cookies are light and buttery, so it’s not hard to eat three in a matter of seconds.
Through the Norwegians call these cookies krumkake, my grandma (and, therefore, the rest of my family) has always referred to them as egg roll cookies. They’re similar to Chinese dàn juǎn “biscuit rolls.”
The process of making these is messy, to say the least. It helps to use an electric stovetop for easier cleaning. The recipe requires a lot of butter to prevent the cookie from sticking, and all surfaces run the risk of getting greasy. It’s also important to budget a chunk of time to make these; while they cook in under 20 seconds, they’re still very hands-on as individual rolling is required. When my two sisters and I made them alongside my grandma, all eight hands were needed to create an efficient assembly line. Grab another person (or two or three) and make these because they provide a deliciously satisfying crunch without being too sweet. That is if you already own a krumkake iron or are not a member of the anti-specific-kitchen-appliance-camp.
Egg Roll Cookies
This recipe yields around 4 dozen cookies, depending on the size of your krumkake iron. Egg roll cookies are best enjoyed with coffee or a glass of milk on the day they are made because they easily soak up moisture and become stale.
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
In a mixing bowl, beat eggs and sugar until light. Add remaining ingredients and stir until smooth.
Prepare softened butter and a pastry brush. On a foil-lined electric stovetop, brush the surfaces of the krumkake iron with butter and heat the iron on medium high heat.
Test a small drop of batter on the iron. When it sizzles, the iron is hot. Spoon in enough batter to cover 2/3 of the surface (do not overfill!). Close the iron, cook for 10-15 seconds. Rotate the closed iron 180 degrees. Heat for another 10 seconds.
Carefully remove the cookie when it is golden light brown. On a paper towel, use a dowel or chopstick to roll the warm cookie into a long skinny roll. Allow to cool. Cookies can be stored in an air-tight container for up to 3 days.