Waffles for Our Lady

Not to forget our important traditions, today is Waffle Day in Sweden. End of March brings out the urge for waffles in Swedes, a sweet tradition created through, well, a mispronunciation. 

  • Celebrate våffeldagen (Vårfrudagen, Lady Day, really) with a Swedish waffle with whipped cream and jam.
  • If you are in Sweden on or around March 25, chances are you’d eat waffles! March 25 is the day for eating waffles, or våfflor, as they are called in Swedish. This tradition to eat waffles on Jungfru Marie bebådelsedag or Vårfrudagen (Lady Day or The Feast of the Annunciation of Our Most Holy Lady) came about when people lazily began to pronounce Vårfrudagen as våffeldagen — a mistake that has made many people happy as it means "våfflor med grädde och sylt "(waffles with whipped cream and jam) are being served almost anywhere you go. Spicing it up on Waffle Day: Spicing Up Waffle Day

  • Våfflor, Swedish style with lingonberries and whipped cream topped with red currants. Bildbyrån photo.
  • Waffles is an old dish, dating back to the Middle Ages, when they were grilled over an open fire and the waffle irons were different than the ones used today. In those days, the irons had a scissor-like grip with two plates in the front, which made a square waffle, but already with the check pattern that Swedish waffles still have today. It wasn’t until the late 19th century that the waffle iron that makes heart-shaped waffles was invented. Waffles used to be a food eaten everyday, dressed up or down depending on occasion. The ingredients varied. The simplest waffles contained only flour and water, but for festive affairs cream, sugar, butter and eggs were added. Eating waffles with cream and jam, like Swedes do today, became popular at the beginning of the 20th century. It was something most people enjoyed with their coffee after their Sunday walk. In those days there were several “våffelbruk” around Stockholm and other cities and towns where one would gather. Enjoy one of these waffle recipes! (If you're looking for the more basic Swedish waffle, see Swedish waffles on Våffeldagen)

  • Some will add chocolate to the waffle ...
  • Hallonvåfflor (raspberry waffles)
    1 1/8 cups milk
    2 eggs
    4 ounces cornstarch
    8 ounces flour
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    3 Tablespoons raspberry jam or 4 ounces frozen raspberries
    2 Tablespoons sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    4 Tablespoons cooking oil

  • … others will create a more grown up version - here, a Dinkelvåffla (made with whole-meal and less sugar), with Bleak roe, shrimps and a splash of sour cream. Bildbyrån photos
  • Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
    Beat milk and eggs and stir in the jam (if you are not using frozen berries).
    Add the dry mixture and the oil into the milk mixture and mix. If you are using frozen berries add them now.
    Let the batter sit somewhere cool for 15-20 minutes before you bake them.

  • The quintessential Swedish waffle iron makes heart shaped sections, but it doesn't have to be; Swedish waffles can be any shape, especially if they're topped with fresh berries or jam and whipped cream.
  • For something less dessert-like, try
    Våfflor med örter (waffles with herbs):
    4 ounces freshly cut herbs, like dill, chives, basil and/or tarragon
    5 Tablespoons butter
    2 eggs
    3 cups milk
    2 cups flour
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 pressed garlic clove
    1 teaspoon baking powder

  • Melt the butter and let it cool.
    Beat milk, flour, egg and baking powder to an even batter. Stir in the melted butter, herbs, salt and garlic.
    Let cool for a bit before baking.

  • You will need a Swedish våffeljärn for these recipes.

  • Våffeljärn/waffle irons can be found at several Scandinavian specialty stores or at for instance JC Penney, Williams & Sonoma, Target and a variety of other stores. (Ask for a Belgian Waffle Iron - and yes, the Swedish waffle is only distantly related to the Belgian but, US retailers call the appropriate irons ‘Belgian’ nevertheless)
    During a quick search online we found several Old Fashioned Cast Iron Waffle Irons, both at eBay and amazon.com. We recommend electric waffle irons rather than the stove-top variety or the moulds that can be baked in the oven. You’ll find several electric and iron heart waffle makers on amazon.com ranging in price from $20 - $100