Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Fransk Vafler (French Waffles)

Special occasions call for special dishes, ones that are made once or twice a year.   Obviously, this time of year is when people drag out the cookie pans, dust off the cookbooks, and start a baking frenzy.   And I have to include myself in with them.

I make Fransk Vafler once or twice a year, or for very special occasions.    The process of making them is very easy, just a little time consuming.    And boy are they good.    Almost too good, not too sweet, rich and yet light at the same time.   

The basic recipe is butter, flour and a little light cream.    Really simple, rich and good.

Start by cutting cold butter into flour, until the mixture resembles a coarse cornmeal or small peas.

Bowl of flour with grated frozen butter.
  Then add the half and half, and form into a ball.   It will feel a little loose, but just keep on patting it together.   This dough is very tender from the butter and should not be overworked.     I tried a new technique this year and grated the butter into the flour and formed the ball with the half and half.     I'm not real fond of that one and the next batch of cookies I made, I cut the butter in the old fashioned way.

After forming the ball, flatten it out a little and place in the refrigerator to rest.    After a couple of hours or even the next day, divide the dough into quarters, and take it out of the fridge and start rolling it out.    I've discovered that I can pat the dough down a little more and then using my rolling pin just get it nice and even and thin. 
Cut out rounds.

I use a small juice glass for this, but use whatever you have.   Dipping the cutter into some flour helps the dough release, and you can then place them in a pan of sugar.   Pressing the cut rounds lightly into the sugar and then transferring them, sugar side up, to a parchment covered cookie sheet.
Cookie rounds in the sugar
Ready for the oven
Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden in color.

See how they puff up, that is the action of the butter in the dough.  
When cooled, put a smear of butter cream frosting on each cookie and make a sandwich.    (of course if you're anything like me, you've already sampled one or two of the cookies after they came out of the oven. )

Then just place them on a plate, with a few homemade caramels in the center and place them out for your guests, or just yourself.

Whoops, it is Christmas, so you might want to purty up the presentation a little with some mini candy canes.  Now go pour yourself a cup of tea, grab a book and snuggle down on the sofa and enjoy a respite from the season. 
Merry Christmas, og,  Glaedlig Jul

Here's the full recipe:

French Waffles (Fransk Vafler in Danish)

1 pound cold butter, cut into chunks

4 cups flour (or one pound weighed out)

12 soup spoonfuls of light cream  (yes, soup spoons, not tablespoons, but the big soup spoons, this is a very
old recipe). 

Granulated sugar to top cookies

Butter Cream frosting

Cut butter into flour until it resembles corn meal, then add the cream and stir together. Dough will be extremely soft. Shape into a flattened ball, wrap in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours to firm up. Cut dough into sections, and roll out ¼ of the dough at a time, replacing the remainder in the fridge. (I take out each piece of dough about 10 minutes before I roll it out. This gives it time to warm just a smidge and makes it a little easier to roll out). Cut out rounds, then place in sugar and coat one side of cookie with sugar. I either pat the cookie into the sugar or place about 6 or 8 cookies on some sugar sprinkled on a sheet of paper and take the rolling pin and do a quick roll over. This elongates the cookie a little. Place on cookie sheet, sugar side up. Bake for about 12 minutes at 350 degrees or until color changes on cookie, I like them a tad browner, so I bake them a couple minutes longer. This is the kind of cookie that needs to be watched as some cookies are ready before others on the same pan. Just take those off and put them on a rack to cool while keeping an eye on the rest of the cookies while they bake.

After baking all the cookies they can be put together with butter icing.

My recipe
2 cups confectioners sugar (plus a little more if needed. You be the judge. )
½ cup butter
Cream well together
Then add 1-2 teaspoons of good vanilla, or sherry or your favourite liquer. 
Personally, I prefer a good glug of Kahlua in it, it adds a nice flavour and lightens
the butter cream a little . 


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  1. Thank you for posting this! I will have to try. I am Danish and grew up with these at the Danish bakeries in Santa Barbara and Solvang, CA (they include raspberry jam in the middle) and I have been in search of this recipe for years since I now live in New England. Very exciting!

  2. I'm a long way from any Danish bakeries, but learned how to make these from my mother. They were our special occasion cookie. And they are one of my husbands favorites, of all the Danish cookies I make.