Aniskringler – a Norwegian grandmother’s special recipe
Aniskringler is what most people would associate with traditional baked goods from the good old times in Norway. Many people will recall that their grandmother used to make these, especially in the county I’m from. They evoke the kind of memory of sitting around in your grandparent’s home on a Sunday afternoon smelling the comforting scent from the kitchen and then being served these mouthwatering pretzels (kringler= pretzels), gently spiced with anise seeds that pair perfectly with the sweet dough. I’m not sure of the reason why anise seeds were added into the dough, but since anise seeds has the flavor of licorice, many people thought it tasted sort of like “candy” Don’t think about the kind of salty pretzels you get in this country- they are quite different, more delicate and not salty at all. Delicious on their own, they also taste wonderful with a dollop of good butter and some brown cheese (gjetost) or strawberry jam.
I don’t see aniskringler represented very often at modern bakeries or in homes today, which is why I find them even more enticing. These are simply too good to be forgotten. I would love to start an “aniskringle revolution” to bring these mouthwatering creations back!!
The below recipe produces incredibly fluffy, sweet and aromatic kringler. What makes these pretzels so unique is the flavor of the anise seed. Make sure you use fresh spices- not something that has been hidden in your cabinet for years. I buy my spices often from Kalustyan’s in New York, my favorite local spice shop- and I rotate them every other month or so. Don’t substitute ground anise, it is not the same, and you want the texture of the whole seed.
Warning: when making these, be prepared to eat the entire tray in one sitting!! And don’t even think about starting an anisekringler bakery business, I’ve patented the idea!
Makes about 25 kringler
6 dl/2 1/2 cups milk
225 /2 sticks unsalted butter
50g fresh yeast (or 2 packs dry yeast)
2 1/2 dl 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp cardamom
2 lbs flour (hold back a little initially and add in as needed)
4 tsp whole anise seeds
1 egg for brushing the pretzels
In a bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. In a small saucepan, heat up the milk and butter to about 37C. Pour into the dry ingredients and knead until a smooth dough forms. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and place in a warm spot and let rise until double in size, about 1 or 2 hours, depending on your yeast and kitchen temperature.
Divide the dough into 20 parts, and roll out into about 12″ /30cm thin links.
Shape into pretzels. Place them on baking sheets, cover and let rise again for another 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 450F. Brush the kringler with the egg wash and place them in oven and bake for about 15 minutes until nice and golden brown. The kringler taste best when eaten warm, straight out of the oven but you can also freeze them for a later occasion.