It’s a Scandihoovian Christmas
Definition: Scandihoovian – A Hoosier whose ancestry includes that of Scandinavia.
First off, yes with my Lefse raised high, I proudly proclaim I can trace my roots back to the Indiana Tufte family and am a proud Scandihoovian, at least on my mother’s side. My great-grandparents were born in Norway and when they came to our great country, like many other Norwegians (and those dirty Swedes), passed up Lady Liberty and kept going till they ended up in the Midwest! (No self respecting Norwegian will ever admit to having any Swedish blood in them, they are all drunks and don’t know their way around a Krumkake iron if their life depended on it and in my house it did. We let it slide that my dad was part Swede because of the fact of being a direct descendent of Morgan the Pirate… oh and Alexander Hamilton, but the Pirate bit is better, yah?)
I am adopted so I do not have the blond hair and the legs up to my ass, but I take my heritage very seriously. I can swear with the best of them (UF DA!) and know how to flirt like any hard core Scandihoovian too! (Yah, those are some really great snow tires, you betcha!)
During the holidays growing up one of the best traditions my mother and I had was baking Scandinavian goodies. My grandmother Chapman is 1st generation American. Many of our traditions are straight from the old country, and many are our own. But the best one which is straight out of Viking frying pan is making piles of Scandinavian cookies! That said, some of these cookies are very hard to make or master making. Just as with the south, the tools needed have to be seasoned. In the south it is all your cast iron, for us Scandihoovians it is our Rosette and Krumkake Irons. I have become the Rosette Master and though they are a pain in the ass, I made some this week because I was craving some good ol’ holiday cheer.
Rosettes, such a lovely word, but they have nothing to do with any rose flavoring and have everything to do with some deep fried goodness. Who can resist something with such a shining endorsement of DEEP FRIED? The cookie is made by dipping a special iron heated in the vat of hot oil into delicate batter and dipping it back into said vat to fry to a delicate finish. Sounds easy enough, right? It is NOT! But once you get it down, you can whip up dozens to keep everyone on a happy sugar coated deep fry high all season long. I couldn’t find my recipe this year so I called and asked Mom for it. In typical tradition of passing recipes on, and this seems to follow for both the Morton and Chapman side, this is all she wrote:
2 eggs; 1/4 tsp. salt; 1 cup flour; 1 tsp. sugar & 1 cup milk. Beat eggs, sugar & salt slightly; add milk and flour. Beat until smooth. Bake with a rosette iron. (can thin with more milk) important cool on brown paper bags. love, Grandma
The only thing going for me are the years of us making these and of sitting in Grandma’s childhood friends kitchen with my mom and cranking these bad boys and other goodies out! The key, and I am going to repeat this several times, is using paper bags to cool them on. Not paper towels, not stainless steel cooling wracks, paper bags. (I am sure you can find some somewhere, like when you go to the package store to pick up a few liters of bourbon for your eggnog perhaps?) Over the years I have managed to try a few different recipes and have only added a bit of cardamon and almond extract to the original one.
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sifted flour (this is VERY important, do not be lazy and sift the flour people!)
- 2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/8 teaspoon of cardamon (this is my twist because cardamon is the bomb in any Scandinavian cooking, even with fish dishes)
- 1 cup milk
- Fat for deep frying
- Confectioners Sugar
- wide and deep frying pan
- candy thermometer
- Chill a stainless steel bowl in the fridge for about an hour
- Beat eggs until very light. Beat in sugar, milk, salt, cardamon and flavoring.
- Finally beat in flour and continue beating until a smooth batter is formed.
- Heat fat to 365 °F. (to test, a one- inch cube of bread should brown in 1 minute.)
- Heat Rosette Iron in the hot fat.
- Dip hot iron in batter so that the batter comes just short of the top of the iron. (1/4 inch from the top of the iron)
- Lower batter covered iron into hot fat and fry until delicately browned. (about 30 seconds)
- Lift out; tip upside down to drain. With fork, push rosette off iron onto paper bags cut open and spread on counters.
- Sprinkle with confectioners sugar
If the rosette falls off the iron, fish it off with a fork when it is delicately browned. It will be ugly but still tasty.
This all sounds easy, but just make sure you use the candy thermometer and make sure the oil is just this temp. You don’t and you will end up with rosettes so hard they will break Grandma Ola’s dentures! Also store them in airtight containers. We always use tins, not Tupperware©. Every time I use a plastic container they end up getting soggy quick, where as with those cute metal tins you can get at the market they stay crisp. We also made these cookies a couple weeks in advance. Whether in our kitchen or our resident Nord, Auntie Aileen, once school got out and mom and I were packing up the station wagon to drive over to Auntie Aileen’s house to bake up a storm for a week.
Now for my next trick in this whirlwind holiday recipe fest…wait for it.. wait for it.. OK its a secret but it may contain bacon, so keep watching! I plan on posting a blog a day till at least Christmas!