Krumkake Article Receives National Exposure!

NOTE:  The following article written by Kathy Buzza was published in the Decorah Public Opinion on July 18, 2017, and again, slightly edited, in the national blog of WELCA.  It was also posted on the Good Shepherd Facebook page.

For Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Nordic Fest and Krumkake Go Hand in Hand

Over the past 17 years, Good Shepherd members have baked, demonstrated, and sold over 50,000 krumkake at Nordic Fest. Krumkake, or curved cake, is a thin, rolled Norwegian cookie made from a batter of flour, butter, eggs, whipping cream, sugar, and sometimes spices and baked on a decorative, two-sided iron.

Last year, 63 members of all ages donated 350 hours to the project, which begins with “bake-a-thons” at the church two weeks before the Fest, “with pairs of willing workers teaming up to bake and roll for several hours,” according to Doris Barnaal, one of the annual project’s coordinators. “These sessions provide the opportunity for members to chatter with each other; many acquaintances are renewed and other friendships develop. When cooled, the finished product is packaged in plastic bags and stored in large popcorn cans. If you are familiar with krumkake, you know they do not survive in humid conditions and it’s always hot and humid at this time of year. Luckily, we have a very good air conditioning system and take full advantage of it!”

Volunteers also make the batter, bake krumkake at the church’s demonstration table in the Bank of the West’s lobby, sell krumkake at the church’s booth just outside of the bank, shuttle krumkake to the booth, and organize the project.

“We are one of 14 food stands on Water Street, and one of only 3 food stands with demonstrations (the others include lefse and rosettes),” Barnaal added. “Folks seem to really enjoy our demonstration, samples and take-home recipes. Many visitors have made krumkake using our recipe that they acquired in previous years. The recipe was shared by a charter member of the congregation, Doris Klocke, many years ago when Good Shepherd began making krumkake for Nordic Fest.”

“Many visitors like to reminisce about how their mothers or grandmothers made krumkake on a cookstove using an earlier non-electric version of today’s irons. Some folks are seeking tips on baking procedures and others have never heard of or seen krumkake. It is rewarding to see how folks are always fascinated by the process and delighted at the flavor and texture of the small tasting sample. Our demonstrators always enjoy meeting and visiting with the many folks who stop by,” Barnaal remarked.

Recent marketing efforts include workers’ aprons embroidered with “Good Shepherd” and an eye-catching label attached to each bag of krumkake.

Last year is the first year the booth sold gluten-free krumkake, initiated by Good Shepherd members who are gluten-free and were disappointed they never could eat any of the Norwegian goodies sold at Nordic Fest. The gluten-free recipe proved to be a hit and is “just as tasty as the original recipe,” added Barnaal. “There was great interest in them as well as the printed recipes that were available. We’re pleased to be able to offer these along with traditional krumkake and will certainly include them in the years to come”, expanding on their number this year.

Last year, krumkake sales netted $2405 and is Good Shepherd’s Women of the ELCA’s biggest source of income, according to WELCA treasurer Marty Steele. All krumkake profits are pooled with other fundraising during the year and distributed annually to local, national and global benevolences. Over the past 13 years, Good Shepherd’s krumkake booth has donated $20,554! For the past two years, Good Shepherd received a $250 gift card from Thrivent for project supplies and a $30 gift card from Walmart. Other years, Thrivent has provided matching funds.

Good Shepherd’s Statement of Purpose for its Krumkake Project: “Participation in the Nordic Fest celebration supports our community while providing a fellowship opportunity for our members. We accept this fundraising activity as an opportunity to support a number of charitable causes in our community and throughout the world as well as projects at Good Shepherd.”