Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Three Kringla-teers

IMG_Kringla final

When I met my boyfriend's family almost ten years ago, one of the first things they said to me was, "Wait til you try Grandma's Kringla." They might as well have said, "7@t$b%9," because I had no idea what they were talking about. Then I heard the word cookie and stopped in my tracks. Something involving sugar? Bring it on family! As I took my first bite, their expectant and hopeful faces stared at me like, "Insane, right?" I ooh'd and awed although inside I was thinking, "Eh." I mean, I was new to the family and didn't feel like offending anyone just yet. As a show of good faith, I took another bite...and another...and another...until I 'came to' and had eaten...four. I don't know what happened. No initial wow factor, but so yummy. Soft and buttery and not too sweet...is it a cookie, a pastry...a biscuit?! I didn't know and didn't care. The slow burn of Kringla had reached me and I was officially under its spell. Kind of like when you meet a guy who's not your 'type', but you go out with him anyway and something slowly starts to tickle your fancy. Then suddenly, you're like, "Where have you been all my life?!"

There are different ways to make Kringla, but I'm only interested in Grandma Blanche's recipe. Truth be told, she doesn't really care for Kringla, but her family loves 'em and she loves her family. While in Iowa, I asked Blanche to show me the way and she was kind enough to share. I even got my niece, Skye, in on the action and the three Kringla-teers set off on an adventure.

IMG_Three amigos

Blanche's Kringla
(yields 50 to 60 cookies)

1 1/2 cups sugar
*1 stick margarine (we're goin' old school)
2 Tbsp. butter
2 egg yolks, unbeaten
1 cup sour cream
1 cup buttermilk
2 level tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder, rounded
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
4 1/2 cups flour

*I plan on trying an all butter version at some point, but imagine they won't be the same. Will let you know.

Cream butter, margarine and sugar. Mix in egg yolk, sour cream and buttermilk. Add dry ingredients and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Next day - Heat the oven to 425ยบ. Lightly flour a pastry cloth (we used a thin tea towel). Be careful not to use too much flour. Remove only a handful of dough at a time, keeping the rest in the refrigerator. If the dough gets too soft, it's a bummer dude...

IMG_sticky hands

Next, cut off a small amount...


...and with very lightly floured hands, roll into a pencil.


Don't roll it too much or you end up with this...

IMG_skye's roll

Then, shape each roll into a figure 8...


...and place on an ungreased cookie sheet...


Try and place them at least an inch apart...


When you've rolled your last one, place the Kringla in the oven (we did them one sheet at a time) and bake for about 5 to 8 minutes. Keep an eye on them; you want the bottoms to be a very light brown. Remove from the oven and let sit for a few minutes, then transfer from cookie sheet to cooling rack. Brush with cold water to keep them soft.

They're delicious while warm, so dive in...


...and wait for the slow burn of Kringla-dom.


  1. This sounds a lot like my grandmothers version (also from Iowa). Does Grandma Blanche use liquid buttermilk or the powder baking buttermilk? Thanks for sharing

    1. Liquid. What town is your grandma from?

    2. She was from Jewell, passes away a few years ago

    3. My grandmother was from Jewell also! And this is how I was taught to make them. I'm sure they knew each other, you can throw a rock from one side of town to the other.