Oh… my… GOODNESS. Butter-Pecan Kringle

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Warning: This is not your father’s kringle. Or your grandma’s.

It’s not the kringle you’d buy in Copenhagen. Or in Racine, Wisconsin, home of Racine Danish Kringles – “Always the best.” Check out their 28 flavors at kringle.com.

THIS kringle is beyond decadent, a dense, moist pastry base covered with flaky layers of buttery dough, topped with a thick ooze of caramel, a heavy layer of toasted pecans, and drizzled with rich, thick icing.

This is MY kringle story, and I’m sticking to it.

Now, before you kringle connoisseurs jump to the defense of Wisconsin’s Finest, let me just tell you I’m a Wisconsin native – born in Madison, a certified Cheesehead.

I admit, I was raised here in New England. But culinarily speaking, brats and lutefisk, cheese curds and kringle are in my genes.

Which (hopefully) gives me license to dub around with (read: simplify) the kringle preparation process. While at the same time complicating its toppings (read: make them ridiculously rich).

If you’ve always thought kringle was something you had to buy at the bakery (or online), I’m here to disabuse you of that notion. THIS kringle is easy enough for a 10-year-old to make.

Which is why we call it The Easiest Butter-Pecan Kringle Ever.

Can you do it? Well, I guess. Kringle, kringle, yes yes YES!

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You love caramel? That butterscotch-y, buttery, sugary, smooth-textured, melt-in-your-mouth treat?

We did a taste test; picked our favorite; and offer it by the block: 18 ounces, or the value-priced 5 pounds, for those of you REALLY into caramel.

This caramel not only has great flavor, but it’s “scoopable,” making it really nice to use. You don’t have to hack at it when you need, say, 1/2 cup; just use a spoon to scoop it into a measuring cup, and pack it down.

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And here are some more of my favorite kitchen pals: extra-strong flavors. As you can see by the succession of label styles, we’ve had these around the test kitchen a long time. They don’t go bad, they don’t get weak, and you only use a little, compared to extracts. Any of these three flavors is a good choice for the kringle you’re about to make.

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“3 large eggs, at room temperature.” HA – you didn’t read through the recipe before starting, did you? Whoops – neither did I!

An easy way to bring fridge-cold eggs to room temperature quickly is to submerge them in hot tap water for 10 minutes or so.

OK, let’s dive in. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

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Combine 1/2 cup butter, cut into pats; 1 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. If you’re using salted butter, reduce the salt to 1/4 teaspoon.

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Mix till unevenly crumbly.

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Drizzle in 1/4 cup ice water. Yes, this is akin to making pie crust.

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Line a baking sheet or 14” shallow pizza pan with parchment.

I’m using our new anodized USA Pans pizza pan here, a pan I’ve been dying for us to get in stock. The pan is anodized, which means it’s electrically treated to create a very thin, very tough outer coating (of its own aluminum), an invisible coating that’s corrosion- and scratch-resistant, and non-reactive with foods.

Translation? The pan isn’t coated per se, so there’s nothing to peel or chip. But unlike most plain aluminum, it won’t give food a metallic taste, and after a few uses it becomes quite stick-resistant, all on its own. Plus its dark color makes the BEST pizza crust.

So after all that, why am I lining this pan with parchment? Because I don’t want my kringle to brown TOO much on the bottom.

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Back to the mixing bowl. Stir the mixture to make a soft, sticky dough.

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Wet your hands, pick up the dough, and shape it into a 12” x 8” oval ring on the sheet pan; or a 10” ring in the pizza pan. This will be messy going, but just keep wetting your fingers and pushing it into a ring.

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Once you’ve made the ring, flatten the dough so it’s about 1 1/2” wide.

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Basically, it’ll look like a train or NASCAR track.

Set the pan aside.

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To make the pastry: Place 1 cup water, 1/2 cup butter, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a saucepan; use 1/4 teaspoon salt if you’re using salted butter. Heat over medium heat till the butter is melted…

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…and the mixture comes to a boil.

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Immediately pour the boiling liquid over 1 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, which you’ve put in a mixing bowl.

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Beat until the mixture is cohesive, and starts to form a ball.

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Now you’re going to beat in 3 large eggs, one at a time.

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When you first start beating, the batter will look stringy and slimy.

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Eventually it’ll smooth out, which means it’s ready for you to add the next egg.

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Here it is after all 3 eggs have been added – smooth as silk!

Beat in 1/2 teaspoon butter rum flavor, eggnog flavor, or vanilla butternut flavor. Or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

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Spread the pastry along the ring.

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Cover it completely, edge to edge and all the way around.

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You’ll now have a much wider ring, though it won’t be closed in the center; it should still look like a ring.

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Bake the kringle for 50 to 60 minutes…

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…till it’s a mellow golden brown.

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Don’t under-bake; err on the side of darker rather than lighter. In retrospect, I should have baked this longer.

When the kringle is done, remove it from the oven, and allow it to cool completely on the pan. This is a good opportunity to toast 2 cups pecan halves; they’ll need about 9 to 11 minutes in the 350°F oven. When they’re golden, remove them from the oven and cool.

Have the pecans all ready beside the pan of kringle; you’ll be sprinkling them atop the caramel as soon as you pour it on.

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Place 12 ounces caramel, cut from a block (about 1 cup, packed); or about 3 dozen individual SOFT caramel candies in a microwave-safe spouted cup, if you have one; it’s not necessary, but makes it easier to pour.

If you use caramel candies, be advised that the wrapped ones you find on the supermarket shelf will set up hard, too hard to be pleasant in this application. Stir in a couple of tablespoons milk or cream, when melting, to remedy this. Or, substitute soft candy-store caramels, or 1 cup prepared caramel sauce.

Melt the caramel till it’s bubbly, remove it from the microwave, and quickly stir a few times to smooth out the bubbles.

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Immediately drizzle the melted caramel or caramel sauce over the kringle. If it stiffens up, reheat briefly in the microwave.

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Use it all up; yes, it’s a heavy coating.

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Sprinkle/arrange the pecans atop the caramel, pressing them in gently.

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You can barely see the pastry; that’s fine. As my dad used to say, “Nothing in moderation – everything to excess!”

Allow the caramel to cool completely before moving on to the final step: the glaze.

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To make the glaze: Stir together 1 cup confectioners’ or glazing sugar; a pinch of salt; and 2 tablespoons heavy cream, half and half, or milk, or enough to make a thick but pourable glaze.

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Add 1/8 teaspoon butter rum, eggnog, or vanilla butternut flavor, if you like (I like).

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Drizzle the glaze over the kringle.

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As I said at the beginning: Oh… my… goodness.

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Serve in wedges. SMALL wedges; it’s rich.

And try not to mess up the glaze-drizzling, like I did. See that puddle, upper right? I was drizzling with one hand, taking a picture with the other, and just drizzled too long in one spot. WHATEVER.

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See that moist center? Those flaky layers?

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OK, this isn’t the MOST traditional kringle. But oh… my… goodness, is it decadent.

It’s not really breakfast… not even really dessert. Think of it as an afternoon pick-me-up, perfect with a cup of coffee; or a post-shopping stress-reliever, an “I got all my shopping done and I’m going to treat myself to something ridiculously good” treat.

Read, rate, and review (please!) our recipe for The Easiest Butter-Pecan Kringle Ever.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. Susan LaGrande

    So why not say at the beginning that the recipe uses pate a choux?

    Because many of our readers may not know what a pate a choux is… I try to keep things simple here. But yes, the second layer is indeed a classic pate a choux. PJH

    Reply
  2. Susan

    Oooo… Yes! KRINGLE!!! And I can make it at home instead of waiting for the annual visit to my Ancestral (Dairy)Land? Awesome! Can you do a cheese one next?

    Susan, go for it – a cheese one sounds delicious. I’ve never seen a cheese kringle, so I’m happy for you to enlighten us all! PJH

    Reply
  3. Kari Pokorny

    Oh wow, I can tell it will be the real thing just by how it looks! How can i do that with apricot preserves?

    Kari, try our Apricot Puff Loaf – same thing, only with apricot preserves, almonds, and a different shape. SO yummy… PJH

    Reply
  4. Mary

    This could easily be my favorite of all your recipe gifts to us out here who love baking. I am not a chocolate person, rather love caramel. This recipe and the picture made my sweets desire light up like a Christmas tree.

    I have one question before I undertake to create one of these for my family. Although I trust your guidelines more than any other I know of,
    I am curious to know why you make a separate little ring under the second larger one containing the eggs. I am sure there is an important reason for that and I would like to know what it is. At first, I thought you were going to put some sort of cream filling on that one, but I see now that is not the case. Can you enlighten me please? Thank you and Happiest of Holidays :)

    Mary, those two layers are different – the inner is moist and almost pastry-cream like, albeit unsweetened; it just has that very moist consistency. The upper layer is more like a cream puff, lighter and airier. And happy holidays to you, too! PJH

    Reply
  5. Lee

    all you need is a little chocolate drizzled over that glaze and you’d have turtle kringle! My first dog (a mini long hair dachsund) as a kid was named Kringles, and she was about the same color as your lovely pastry. :) :)

    Reply
  6. Tera

    Looks oh-so-yummy!! Never having “traditional” kringle, what is the difference?

    More involved pastry, Tera – I think it’s a “laminated dough,” one you make with lots of folds and turns…

    Reply
  7. Janice Arnstein

    I can’t wait to to try this. One question: Why do you call the first layer the filling and the second layer the pastry? Shouldn’t it be reversed or is it only a matter of semantics?

    Janice, West Nyack, NY

    Because the bottom layer acts like filling; it’s dense, and filing-like, while the pastry on top of it is lighter/airier, more what I’d consider “pastry.” Just trying to manage expectations with – yes – some semantics! Thanks for adding your thoughts here, Janice – PJH

    Reply
  8. Carolyn

    This looks fantastic! However, dare I say it, I can’t stand pecans. I’m sure I could just leave them off but I was wondering if there is a substitution that would be just as yummy?

    Chocolate chips or cinnamon chips or butterscotch chips? Another type of nut (toasted walnuts, toasted almonds)? Let your imagination go wild, Carolyn… I’m sure you’ll come up with something fabulous! PJH

    Reply
  9. Sue

    STOP THE MADNESS ! I’m having trouble keeping up with all these yummy recipes. I have never heard of a Kringle being from central NY.. I can’t wait to try it. The weather man said another possible nor-easter is on it’s way so I’ll have plenty of baking time
    Sue :-)

    Reply
  10. Jan

    Wow – the possibilities!! Thank you for the detailed, step-by-step directions.
    P.S. – Sounds dangerous to have a “scoopable” block of caramel in the pantry…

    Reply
  11. Anne

    This brought to mind another treat I’ve been craving…KRINGLA. Little figure 8 shaped cookies, somewhat cakey in texture? Do you have a recipe for those? I’d love to see a blog post about it someday…nudge nudge…

    Sorry, Anne, not this year – we’re into April already with our planning… But I googled them, they sound yummy! PJH

    Reply
  12. Sandy

    Oh my gosh…is my mouth watering! I will absolutely be making this kringle sometime during December. It is so straightforward and not complicated at all…and I will never tell anyone either!

    Reply
  13. Kat DeFonce

    Oh my God!!! This really resembles a pastry that Entenmann’s sells in the grocery store for around $7! (They merely call it a “Pecan Ring.”) I’ll bet that this costs much less to make. (You didn’t do any cost comparisons.) I grew up with Entenmann’s pastries for Sunday mornings as a kid. How wonderful to be able to make it myself now.

    One question: I would like to be able to make this and include as part of my giant trays of goodies that I give to everyone for Christmas. Can this be made in your bake and give ring pans? I would probably have to cut them down, no?

    Yes, this should do well in the ring pans. Since the 10″ ring you shape the pastry into is about 25% larger than the 8″ ring of the paper pan, you’d have some batter left over. You could probably do this if you kind of eyeball it… Good luck – PJH

    Reply
  14. Kate

    seriously how am i supposed to get work done when all i want to do is bake every day with all these awesome yummy inspiring recipes? *drool* my family and coworkers thank you, my boss, perhaps not so much LOL

    Reply
  15. Peter

    I live in Kenosha and work in Racine which is just to the North…I’ve had my share of Kringle over the years, never would have thought to attempt to make it, but I may just have to give this one a try…I don’t think I will be bringing it to work to share…not sure how it would go over with all of my native Racine co-workers :)

    That’s great though, Peter – you can do a side-by-side comparison. Let us know what the differences are, OK? We’ll look forward to hearing back from you – thanks- PJH

    Reply
  16. Jackie Julty

    Hi :
    One of my former co-workers who is originally from Wisconsin introduced kringle to us and it was a treat that we always looked forward to. As that he has moved out of the state, I am tempted to try to do this. However, I don’t have any of those extra strong flavors or the caramel block on hand. Could I use a double strength vanilla like Penzey’s and ordinary caramel that I can make at home instead?
    Thanks

    This will be an experiment. The vanilla subsitution will likely be very successful. However recreating the caramel consistency will be a bit more challenging. Go for it. Frank @ KAF.

    Reply
    1. Tonia

      Jackie — Try this for your caramel: 1 can (14 oz) sweetened Cond. milk; 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter; 1 cup brown sugar; pinch salt; 1 tsp. vanilla. Combine milk, butter and br. sugar in a medium sauce pan and cook over medium-high heat until all ingredients melt together, stirring occasionally. When it starts to boil, start stirring constantly and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in salt and vanilla.

  17. Sandy

    Would these freeze well? Was thinking I could make a bunch, stick in freezer then take to various friends right before Christmas. What do you think?

    I think the texture is going to change dramatically after freezing. Before making up “a bunch”, I’d freeze one just to see what is going to happen. Frank @ KAF.

    Reply
  18. Trish

    My husband comes from pure Swedish roots and love these pastries. His family calls them Kringla. When we we married five years ago we had a wedding brunch and kringla was served along with a Kranskaka (traditional Swedish cake – baked in rings). Very traditional for his family – it and the kringla were quite a hit. They were baked for us by an old Swedish bakery here in Omaha which has sadly since gone out of business.

    All familiar, Trish – my mom is Norwegian. We sold the kransekake rings up till very recently… Thanks for sharing your story here. PJH

    Reply
  19. Jenny

    I noticed the comment someone made about using the wrapped caramels you get in the grocery and that they’d be too hard to use. I’ve made a few recipes that use “those” caramels and if you only melted them…yes, they’d go back to being hard BUT most recipes call for you to add milk/cream to the caramel to not only soften the caramel but to keep it soft after it cools. So no hating on the wrapped store bought caramels! LOL

    Well, thanks, Jenny – I’ll add that to the recipe. Great idea, and thanks for sharing – PJH

    Reply
  20. Jennifer

    Hi I’m from Texas and I’ve never heard of this before. But it looks wonderful and I can’t wait to try it.

    Reply
  21. linda

    This is very similar (except for the topping) to a recipe for an Almond Puff in a very old Betty Crocker cookbook – sort of a pie crust covered by sort of a cream puff dough. Who knew the result would be so creamy and delicious no one believes it is not a custard filling. Was that recipe a starting point for you or is that combination of doughs more common than I thought?

    It’s the same, Linda – I didn’t get mine out of Betty Crocker, but the recipe has indeed been kicking around for decades, and for good reason – SO easy, SO delicious! PJH

    Reply
  22. Bridget

    Made this as the sweet for a cookie exchange, since we were supposed to take the cookies home not devour them. It really was so easy, but so impressive. My pastry topping looked a bit thinner than yours, even after adding a bit more flour, but it baked up just fine. I did have to bake it a bit longer than suggested also, especially since you mentioned to err on the side of overdone. I used sliced almonds instead of pecans, used about 7 oz of (harder) caramel with 1/4 cup of cream, and forgot the glaze, oops!
    But it was fantastic, and had to send this link to several people so they could try it themselves. thanks for the recipe and idea. Even though I’m in Minnesota, no one had ever heard of kringle before.

    Thanks for reporting back, Bridget, and your variations sound delightful. I guess kringle doesn’t “cross the line,” eh? Strictly a Badger State thing – you betcha! :) PJH

    Reply
  23. Natalie

    I made this to share with my coworkers…it was absolutely delicious! It blows my mind how it made so many flaky layers. I did make one mistake…I used caramel TOPPING (like for ice cream) instead of caramel SAUCE. It was a bit runny, so I hurriedly melted some candy caramels with a bit of cream. It turned out okay, but the next time I’ll shoot for somewhere in the middle. The candy stuck to my teeth while I was eating it, but I like how the topping kind of soaked into the pastry. And for some reason, I had to add MUCH more than 2 tablespoons of cream to get the right consistency for the glaze. Not a big deal though, I just kept adding it little by little until it was the way I wanted. But nothing affected its buttery, flaky deliciousness. As I say, “it’ll eat!” Thank you for this recipe and the awesome directions!!!

    Natalie, confectioners’ sugar seems very fussy about how much liquid you add. I think maybe the different brands are ground slightly differently, and have different absorption rates, because I’ve noticed a big difference in how much liquid to use, too. PJH

    Reply
  24. Liz

    Can I just say that this looks so good?! I may have had something similar when I was out in Indiana. My friend took me to this place that makes Indianapolis Specialty Desserts and we both had a piece of something that looked like this. Very delicious, I was sad I had just one piece! Maybe I’ll try this sometime!

    Hope it meets your expectations, Liz – I think it’s pretty darned special! PJH

    Reply
  25. Kate Ward

    I’m from Racine–born and raised, and grew up with kringle. It was as normal and delicious a treat to me as mom’s homemade stollen, and Christmas cookies. It wasn’t until I moved away from Racine that I realized it’s not common anywhere else. THAT was a sad day. I do miss the German cuisine that is readily available there, as well as the great Italian and Danish foods. I’m anxious to try this, though my favorite kringle flavor has always been apricot. So if you come up with one that is apricot instead of carmel/pecan, please let me know! Ach du lieber himmel they’re good. :0)

    Kate, not the same shape, but try the Almond Puff Loaf on our site, made with apricot jam – mmm-MMM! PJH

    Reply
  26. Deanne

    I made it a couple weeks before christmas and put it in the frezer. I thought it was going to be bland and dry and we all just loved it. I will make it again….I put the carmel ice cream topping and it was great…
    Galesburg, IL

    Reply
  27. Karen from Poquson VA

    I finally got this made, brought it in to work today and got 2 thumbs up from co-workers originally from Wisconsin, it was really good. The funny thing the first two to try it here at work wanted to know what “alcohol” was in it, guess I “stumped my toe” with the Butter Rum oil, that is so strong stuff, will make sure I use just a little less next time. My next creation will be the King Cake for Mardi Gras, love Mardi Gras.

    Reply
  28. Linda Gabriel

    Can the coffee cake be baked the day prior to serving? On the day to be served –carmel, pecans and glaze applied?

    Absolutely, Linda – not a problem, the kringle keeps very well. Enjoy – PJH

    Reply
  29. joan

    I would like to make the kringle at least 2 days before serving. Being the recipe contains eggs (although cooked), can the kringle be kept at room temperature or does it need to be refrigerated? Thanks

    Keep the kringle at room temp like you would unfilled cream puffs. Enjoy this treat! Irene @ KAF

    Reply
  30. morse22

    I am going to make this and substitue some drained green and red maraschino cherries for some of the pecans to make it look even more festive.

    Excellent idea – thanks for sharing! PJH

    Reply
  31. Brenda Plumley

    I made this awesome kringle and it was gone in a flash! I could not belive how easy it was and how professional it looked! Could you use some kind of cream cheese mixture? would you add this after baking and what would you add to the cream cheese? i had thought about sugar, sour cream, but was not sure it this would work. Can you give me some suggestions please. I want to make this Christmas morning.
    I just found your site and first used King Arthur Flour with the kringle. I love the product as well. Thank you again
    Brenda (North Carolina

    Brenda, try the cream cheese filling from this raspberry braid. You’d need to spoon it atop the kringle before baking. Haven’t tried it, so no guarantees as to how it’ll work… but should be OK. Let us know how it turns out, OK? PJH

    Reply
  32. Jennie Knight

    My great Tante was born in Sweden and I remember all of her yummy Christmas treats including Sil.

    I have been using a similar recipe for years but without the caramel and with walnuts instead of pecans. My children tell me that I am not allowed in their house if I don’t bring Kringle with me. Next year I just have to add the caramel and pecans and see what happens then.

    Reply
  33. Denise

    Kringle is a Danish pastry made with all types of filling. A good place to look at traditional Kringle is O&H bakery in Racine WI it is fab.

    Would love to stop by on my next drive through the Midwest. Thanks for the tip! Kim@KAF

    Reply
  34. Terry

    This looks totally amazing!! Question on the “under-pastry” part – directions show you first adding 1/4c. ice water, then 1/4c. cold water. 1/2 c. water total, right? Thanks!

    Reply
  35. Carol

    The old Betty Crocker cookbook (1964 publishing date) has a similar recipe called “Danish Puff” that is similar to the base before you added the caramel and nuts. I have used it and added a layer of jam between the two layers of pastry. That might be a solution to those who want apricot or raspberry kringles. Maybe add some toasted almonds on top along with the glaze.

    Reply
  36. Nese

    PJ…We’re empty nesters as are many of our friends who might enjoy getting Christmas Kringle! If I made 2 smaller Kringles instead of one big one…other than baking time, would there be a problem? What would you suggest for baking time?

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      No, no problem making two smaller ones. I don’t think the baking time would be that much less – maybe 40 minutes or so? When it’s a deep golden brown, take it out. Good luck! PJH

  37. Lynn R

    Looks good — I’ll give it a try.

    How would one go about replicating the traditional Racine-style kringle? Asking for a (cough) friend (cough) who grew up in the area…

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Lynn, I’m not certain, but I believe it’s a typical Danish pastry dough. The filling is usually apple, pecan, almond, or raspberry. It can be shaped into either a long strip, or a long strip rounded into a wreath. Here’s a thread on Chowhound talking about “real” Racine kringle – hopefully you can use that for filling, technique, and baking instructions… It’s a LOT of work; sorry your friend won’t settle for our recipe, which is nearly identical for a fraction of the effort. Good luck! PJH

    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Not exactly, Corinne – you’d need to make further changes, I believe. Please call our baker’s hotline, 855-371-2253 – they can help. PJH

  38. pdt8223

    Made this for Christmas and it was the biggest hit! Even my son who is not a sweet eater couldn’t keep his hands off of it.

    I was curious though; can I freeze my remaining caramel to use when I need it? If not, how to keep it from going bad?

    Thanks KA!

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      If you mean just plain caramel, rather than caramel sauce, it keeps well at room temperature indefinitely. Caramel sauce? That keeps a long time in the fridge. Glad the kringle was a hit! PJH

  39. Patricia K Niemer

    Just read all the comments and the recipe. So glad someone told me to look at the blog! It will certainly help me when I decide to make it. Can’t wait to make. I love caramel. PN

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Patricia, if you love caramel, you’ll certainly enjoy this kringle. Have fun with it – PJH

  40. Jane Wood

    This looks wonderful I grew up i Clinton Iowa, we always had prune kringle, from the German bakery near our house… What a treat.

    Reply

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