Friday, April 9, 2010
Norwegian treats: Kringla
When I was visiting Fort Dodge in central Iowa last week, I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw a little store near the mall with a sign that said, "Kringla." It was a Norwegian bakery! I just had to stop and check it out for myself.
I had a nice talk with the owner to find out more about how they ended up running a Norwegian bakery in the middle of Iowa. Turns out, the family is descended from a group of Norwegians who settled in nearby Story City. The bakery owner told me his mom made Kringla, a Norwegian flour-and-butter cookie, every day. His dad would butter the Kringla, then dunk it in coffee, as a treat during his breaks from farm chores.
The bakery owner's mom taught his wife how to make Kringla, and she got so good at it that they started selling Kringla at the Fort Dodge farmers' market. Eventually, they opened the bakery, although it's more of a store front. They actually do the baking in their licenced home kitchen. However, he told me that they are moving their store to nearby Rockwell City in May, since they had an opportunity to buy an entire bakery, equipment and all. They hope to get a Web site up and running so they can ship out their Kringla. They already are sending out orders to the East Coast for folks who remember eating Kringla as kids.
What I really loved about the Kringla was how soft and tender it was, not like the hard Kringla you find offered for sale at gas stations here in Iowa. They also bake up different flavors of Kringla. I came home with the traditional Vanilla as well as a Banana-Walnut and a Chocolate.
I'd have to say my favorite was the chocolate. The bakery owner told me they also make seasonal Kringla varieties, including pumpkin in the fall, eggnog for Christmas and strawberry-banana in the spring.
I also came home with an apricot pastry inspired by Chech kolache, another local favorite. These buttery treats melt in your mouth; they are so soft and yummy!
How much fun would it be to own a little bakery like this and have time to experiment with different recipes? They are living my dream!