With the Christmas season almost officially upon us (we held off on pushing yule tidings as long as we could!), we thought it would be a good idea to revisit two classic holiday treats: the pizzelle and the krumkake. The two sweet delights are difficult to classify — are they cookies or cakes, or even waffles, or what? And as we said last week, if they’re tasty, does it really matter? Probably not, but we can try to answer the question anyway. Recipes at the end, of course!
Pizzelles, whose name literally means “little pizza”, originated in the Abruzzi region of Italy, and are commonly referred to as cookies, although anyone who has ever made them can testify that the process is a little more difficult than simply mixing the dough and throwing it in the oven (as is the nature of cookies). Pizzelles, which are usually flavored with licorice-like anise, are a holiday tradition in many Italian families — both the baking and the eating!
So basically, pizzelles are sweet holiday cookies with a name that means pizza. Makes sense, right? We could throw a further wrench into the definition by pointing out, for instance, that pizza is now a vegetable, but that’s a whole ‘nother cookie to crumble.
And speaking of crumbs, if pizzelles are cookies, what do we make of krumkake? At first glance, the irons used to produce both pizzelles and krumkake are nearly identical. However, the devil is in the sweet, sweet details — or in this case, the batter, and also the depth of the grooves on the iron.
Krumkake is a traditional Norwegian treat consisting of flour, butter, eggs, and sugar, with the addition of cream. Along with a larger egg ratio, the cream makes krumkake batter something closer to the thin batter used to make crepes, compared to the far denser pizzelle batter.
Which brings us to the difference between the irons.