Aebelskivers with Amanda Loveless

I met Amanda several years back, when we both served on the board for Creative Fresno (Amanda still serves). Her husband, Steve, went to high school with Kim.

When I first started talking about the Legacy Project with Kim, she mentioned Amanda’s affinity for baking—what we didn’t know at the time was her deep connection to her Danish ancestry. I sent an initial email to small group of friends to test the waters, and Amanda was one of the first to respond:

I was brought to tears just remembering how much I loved cooking with my Grandma. Those were such sacred moments and always made me feel connected to my family.

The history that Amanda outlined for me traces her mom’s side of the family. Her mother’s grandparents, both from Denmark, immigrated separately to America at the turn of the century. “My great-grandfather worked as a servant and then in the gold mines, finally making his way across America to San Francisco where he met my great-grandmother, another Danish immigrant working as a house maid. Together they had nine kids, including my grandma.”

Amanda flipped through a recipe binder, each plastic page protecting a hand-written recipe.

There are quite a few traditional Danish foods that have been passed down (almost all involving copious amounts of butter and cream) but the one that stands out the most is aebelskivers. Aebelskivers, round pancake like concoctions laced with cardamon, are the central dish at all of our family gatherings.

With her ingredients arranged on the counter, we she started cooking. Though aebelskivers start with common ingredients—flour, eggs, sugar, vanilla—the cardamom adds depth of flavor, and the whipped egg whites keep the batter light and fluffy.


Growing up, my job was to mix the dry ingredients. Only the senior members of the family were allowed to actually cook the aebelskivers (it is quite a technique).

As the baby of the family, Amanda’s still not allowed to cook the aebelskivers at family gatherings. If her family’s reading this, I hope they’ll reconsider—she made it look easy!


The family recipe book contains two recipes, side by side—one for aebelskivers (below), and one for ebelskivers. By trying both, “We’ve determined [the former] to be authentic.”

I asked how often she made these: “It’s something that’s always been for special occasions—we usually make them for Christmas and birthdays.” But Amanda believes that aebelskivers may have started as a traditional breakfast dish in Denmark. The flavor and texture work well for breakfast, though they’d work just as well for a light dessert.

One thing I learned about Amanda through our time together is that she’s a bit camera shy, though to be fair, I’m not sure I gave her fair warning about how close I like to get when I’m taking pictures. Still, she couldn’t hold back a smile as she cooked. Whether this was from fond memories of her grandmother, or from the satisfaction of not having to hand over the pan to an older sibling, I’ll never know.

Thanks for sharing, Amanda, and for agreeing to go first!

Aebelskivers

Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 egg yolks, beaten
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tbsp. melted butter
  • 2 egg whites, whipped

Instructions

Blend dry ingredients. Add egg yolks and buttermilk, mix. Fold in vanilla, butter and egg.

Butter wells of heated pan before each aebelskiver is poured 2/3 full. Cook until bubbles formed; turn and cook until golden.

Note (at bottom of card): “temp between med and med low”

(Also, if you’re going to try these, you’ll need a specialty pan—they’re pretty easy to find, though.)


This is Amanda’s cat, Rufus—I couldn’t resist.

20 Responses to “Aebelskivers with Amanda Loveless”

  1. atout
    June 29, 2011 at 4:38 pm #

    Thanks James (and Kim!) for coming over and having Aebelskivers with us! I love this project and cannot wait to see more.

    • james
      June 30, 2011 at 7:15 am #

      Thanks for sharing with us, Amanda!

  2. Kim
    June 29, 2011 at 4:59 pm #

    Theses were so yummy. I’m drooling over my computer reading this. Plus, it’s a fun word to say – aebelskivers…aebel-shivers. Aebelskivers = Yummers.

    • james
      June 29, 2011 at 5:00 pm #

      aebel-shivers?

  3. Lauren
    June 29, 2011 at 5:12 pm #

    I received an aebelskiver pan from my in-laws for Christmas and this recipe will be the perfect way to christen it! I love this project James!

    • james
      June 29, 2011 at 5:22 pm #

      Any gift of cast iron is a gift of love :-)

      Kim and I should come out to Florida so you can cook for us!

  4. Abe Lopez
    June 29, 2011 at 5:30 pm #

    Totally dig this project James! Can’t wait to read more!

  5. Aunt Laurie
    June 29, 2011 at 5:56 pm #

    What a wonderful re-telling about our family tradition! Though I don’t recall not “letting” Amanda cook them; its more like: the one who cooks usually gets last bite, so she’s a smart one! The camera-shyness is heredtary, she comes from a long line of camera shy people.

  6. hilary
    June 29, 2011 at 6:19 pm #

    could my sis do one of these on my grandma’s tamales?

    • james
      June 30, 2011 at 7:14 am #

      Shoot me an email, Hilary – I have a few lined up, but the project is open-ended :-)

      james [@] paprikastudios.com

      • hilary
        July 6, 2011 at 5:19 pm #

        okay, i’ll ask her! we only make them at Christmas so it would be around that time.

  7. Laura Brickey
    June 29, 2011 at 7:03 pm #

    Aebelskivers have been apart of our brunch tradition ever since my husband and I got married, he grew up eating them. I have been looking for a tried and true recipe, thanks for sharing! I can’t wait to try it! Awesome project James!

    • james
      June 30, 2011 at 7:13 am #

      Just remember the pan! I hadn’t seen one before this, and I’m not really sure what else they could be used for, though that could be another project…

      Let me know how yours come out!

  8. Kimberley
    June 29, 2011 at 7:39 pm #

    I love this project! And the name. Fantastic all around.

    • james
      June 30, 2011 at 7:11 am #

      Thank you, Kimberley! One of the trips to SF I’m going to make you cook for me.

  9. Chuck
    June 30, 2011 at 5:35 am #

    1) I’m jealous they have a booth in their kitchen. Been wanting one.
    2) I think the Legacy Project is a great idea and I’m also jealous I didn’t do it for my blog.
    3) Those look tasty.

    • james
      June 30, 2011 at 7:10 am #

      That booth was pretty cool – they’ll be moving soon, so I can connect you if you’re looking for new place :-)

      Feel free to adapt for your own use – there are plenty of stories to be told!

  10. Jonathan W
    June 30, 2011 at 6:21 am #

    Great story, reminds me of my family having Aebelskivers for Christmas every year. Everything about the Danish traditions resonates with me since my own family is of Danish background. The part about the senior family members doing the cooking definitely sounds familiar…

    • james
      June 30, 2011 at 7:08 am #

      Thanks for sharing, Jonathan – and for stopping by the blog. I love hearing that siblings have defined roles, because that means everyone’s cooking *together*. That’s a beautiful thing.

  11. Luke
    July 1, 2011 at 10:06 pm #

    Ooo… every once in awhile I convince Sarah to make aebelskivers. We usually fill them with lingonberry jam!

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