I wanted to make these for our guests, OK, mostly for me. The fact that we were having Tapa's night was just an excuse to indulge myself. I did notice that people would try one and then go for seconds. And they made inroads on the big bowlful I placed on the table.
So many good memories are tied up in the making of Klejner for me. Mom at the stove frying the Klejner while the rest of us tried to keep up with Mom. One of us would roll out the dough, then we'd cut it, and twist the little diamonds into the shapes, hand them to Mom and she'd fry them on up. This dough is very soft, and so you only roll out a little of it at a time. The recipe suggests dividing it into fourths and only working with a quarter of the dough at a time. I would say that if you've only got an assembly line of one, like I had, to divide the dough up a little more. I ended cutting each quarter of the dough in half again. Otherwise it warmed up so much it was hard to handle.
First off, let me give you the directions, then I'll write out the full recipe.
Start by creaming together the butter and sugar, add the eggs, flour with baking powder, cream and vanilla, and cardamom and mix together in a stand mixer. The dough will be very sticky.
Tip it onto a lightly, very lightly floured piece of plastic wrap and place it into the fridge for at least an hour to chill. You can also place it into the freezer if you like. Won't hurt it.
Divide the dough into quarters, and take out only one portion, return the rest to the fridge.
Then the fun begins.
Cut the dough into long strips,
then crosswise again into diamond shapes.
I found out it's really hard to do this and take pictures at the same time, so you'll have to forgive me. But I think you get the drift.
If you've got a Frydaddy, use it. Best invention ever for frying Klejner. Dump them into the hot oil and fry them til they're golden brown. You'll need to turn them over once or twice so that they cook evenly. Then take them out and drain them either on a rack or use my trick of coffee filters.
Here's the recipe, it's from Karen Bergs cookbook Danish Home Baking.
1 cup butter
1/4 cup cream
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
4 cups Flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
* 3-4 whole cardamom seeds, peeled and the seeds crushed in a mortar and pestle, to a fine powder.
or a 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom.
4 cups oil, for frying the Klejner (if you can handle lard, these do taste best cooked in lard)
Cream the butter and sugar together for a minute then add the rest of the ingredients and mix into a dough. Set into the fridge to cool for about an hour, or until the dough feels a little firm. This is a very soft dough.
Dust your counter or rolling surface very lightly with flour. Take out a quarter of the dough, and roll out thin, and cut into long strips about 1 1/4 inches wide. Cut the strips diagonally into smaller strips about 3 1/2 inches in length. In the middle of these smaller pieces, make a slash with the point of a knife. Pull one end of the piece through the slash to form a half knot.
Heat oil to 375 degrees after making the knots. If you have a Frydaddy, this is excellent for maintaining the right temp., if not then just use a good solid pan on top of the stove. Drop into boiling fat and cook until golden brown, turning to cook them evenly. Lift out with a perforated spoon and place in a strainer or on brown paper (or my trick, some coffee filters) to allow the fat to drip off.