by Kathy Buzza
In 17 years, Good Shepherd, Decorah, Iowa, has sold more than 50,000 krumkakes at the city’s annual Nordic Fest celebration.
Not only do we sell them and bake them, we demonstrate the whole creation process during the festival held the last weekend in July. And the money collected goes to good causes. It is the Women of the ELCA group at Good Shepherd’s biggest source of income. Last year, the group brought in $2,405.
Krumkake, or curved cake, is a thin, rolled Norwegian cookie made from a batter of flour, butter, eggs, whipping cream, sugar and sometimes spices. They’re baked on a decorative, two-sided iron.
In 2016, 63 members of all ages donated 350 hours to the project. The fun begins with “bake-a-thons” at the church two weeks before the fest.
“Pairs of willing workers team up to bake and roll for several hours,” said Doris Barnaal, one of the annual project’s coordinators.
Forming community and friendships
The baking sessions give members a chance to reacquaint themselves with each other or even form new friendships.
During the festival, volunteers make the batter and bake krumkake at the church’s demonstration table. “We are one of 14 food stands and one of only three that demonstrate,” Barnaal said. “Folks seem to enjoy our demonstration, samples and take-home recipes.”
The church’s recipe comes from Doris Klocke, a charter member of the congregation.
“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,” Barnaal said.
In 2016, the church began selling gluten-free krumkake thanks to Good Shepherd members who can’t eat gluten. They were disappointed when they couldn’t sample the Norwegian goodies. The gluten-free recipe proved to be a hit and is “just as tasty as the original recipe,” Barnaal said.
Women of the ELCA treasurer Marty Steele says the group pools krumkake profits with other fundraising efforts during the year. The money is then distributed each year to local, national and global charities. Over the past 13 years, Good Shepherd’s krumkake booth has donated $20,554 to charitable causes.
What does your church do to raise money and build community?
Kathy Buzza is a member of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Decorah, Iowa, where she lives with her husband, Jim. She is the Interlibrary Loan Coordinator at Luther College Library in Decorah and enjoys walking, reading, baking, traveling, watching Masterpiece Theatre, and time with family and friends.