My aunt Gudrun was one of the best cooks I have ever known. She was widely known in my home town of Sykkylven for being an extremely knowledgeable and talented baker and homemaker, preserving traditions from our region of Norway that were hundreds of years old. Every time I went home to Sykkylven on holiday, I would look forward to visiting my aunt Gudrun who only lived a 5 minute walk away from the house I grew up in. I would always find her in the kitchen, where she felt most at home. It seemed she always had a project going on her kitchen counter, the coffee machine was constantly brewing coffee for all the guests that would stop by during the day and the house smelled heavenly and lived in. My aunt Gudrun’s house was a warm and welcoming house where we would learn about life in the old days, and how she tended to the animals in the barn intermingled with baking everything from flatbreads to lefse, breads and desserts from morning to night. I can still hear her laughter and see her big smile – she reminded me so much of my father, who had passed on several years before. Unfortunately, my aunt Gudrun left us a few years ago too, at the age 92, and I still miss her and all her delicious food but I am happy to keep her alive in my heart through her recipes.
Aunt Gudrun was in great shape for most of her life, kept her own house and tended the farm after her husband died, and she baked everything from scratch even after she turned 90 years old. This is her recipe for “tørrevafler” – her recipes were always rich and never skimped on anything, and was really a depiction of the type of generous person she was, always sharing with others and giving whatever she had. I haven’t experienced or seen tørrevafler in many other households in Norway, and they always seem to be derived from somebody’s grandmother or great grandmother. They look like regular waffles but are actually made into a dough rather than a batter, and then baked in a waffle maker. They are a bit sweet, but not too sweet, and many people include this in their “seven types of cookies” they make for Christmas. I choose to make these any time I want to think of my aunt Gudrun and our times together in her kitchen. This is a very special recipe that evokes many wonderful memories of a fantastic woman I was lucky enough to call my aunt, and I would like to share it with you all today.
Ever since posting a photo of tørrevafler on my Facebook page, I have received many requests to share the recipe, so here it is. Think of it like a cookie or a biscuit with a little extra softness, and unlike fresh waffles, these taste good for a week or two after you bake them as long as you keep them stored in a cookie jar. They taste great with Norwegian gjetost, which is the classic way to serve these but you can certainly use your own imagination and use whatever topping sounds good to you!
2 cups sugar
1 cup unsalted butter or margarine, room temperature
1 cup full fat sour cream (or vegan sour cream)
2 eggs + 1 egg yolk (or 1 large banana or 1 cup applesauce)
2 tbsp hornsalt (or baking soda)
2 tsp vanilla sugar or vanilla extract
about 400 grams all purpose flour (a little under 4 cups or enough all purpose flour to release dough from bowl when stirring)
In a stand mixer, combine sugar and butter and whip until light and fluffy. Gradually add in the eggs or banana or applesauce, then the sour cream. Fold in the hornsalt, vanilla sugar and enough flour to form a firm enough batter to roll out. Be careful not to add too much flour, as the waffles will end up being too dry. This you may have to try a couple of times before you perfect it. Divide the dough into pieces and roll each out to about 1/4 inch thick, that fits your waffle iron.
Place the piece in a prepared waffle maker (spray with baking spray or coat with butter) and cook according to your waffle maker’s instructions. The waffles should be nice and golden and you will have extra dough around the heart or square shaped cookie that you can peel off once the waffles have cooled on a rack. Top with your favorite Norwegian brown cheese and /or jam!