Æbelskivers Give 4-H Cooking Club a Taste of County History

“Having fun while learning to cook” is the goal of Franklin County’s 4-H Kitchen Krew. Club leaders are Pat Sackville and Michelle Sackville. Club members, from left to right, in the back row are: Meg Christensen, Emma Sackville, Mary Winsor, Ashlyn Hanson and Ellie Latham. Pictured in front, from left to right, are Jenna White and Keturah Sauke. Members not pictured include Benji Sauke, Max O’Dell and Anika Miller

Whether admiring the boat-shaped ceiling of Nazareth Lutheran Church in Coulter, walking through St. John’s cemetery in rural Coulter or visiting the historic Harriman-Nielsen house in Hampton, the community’s Danish heritage is apparent.

Danish heritage is also celebrated annually when local churches host an annual Æbelskiver Dinner.  Æbelskivers are traditional Danish pancakes in a distinctive shape of a sphere.  When translated from Danish to English, æbelskiver literally means “apple sliced.”  Traditionally, a very thin slice of raw apple is pressed into the dough.  Fillings also may include jam or small fruits like raisins or blueberries.  After it’s baked to golden brown perfection, æbelskiver may be topped with apple sauce, baked apples, syrup, jam, brown sugar or powdered sugar.

4-H Kitchen Krew

Last Sunday members of the Kitchen Krew 4-H Club got a taste of county history during a field trip to St. John Lutheran Church in Coulter, Iowa, to see first-hand how aebelskivers are made.  While the Krew didn’t actually make æbelskives that day, club members are used to making their own meeting treats.  About 10 members, including my daughter, meet monthly after school at the Methodist church in Hampton.

Designed to teach life skills for members in fourth through eighth grades, the Kitchen Krew is in its second year.  The mother-in-law / daughter team of Pat and Michelle Sackville decided to start the club due to Emma Sackville’s interest in spending time in the kitchen with her friends.

Each club meeting focuses on specific skills needed for contestant in the “Cook This!” youth culinary competition:

  • Cutting, chopping
  • Braising, broiling
  • Grating, peeling, blending

Club leaders introduce tools needed and demonstrate the skills.  Then club members are given as homework assignment, which involves practicing that skill at home.  Roll call for the next club meeting includes each member reporting on how they practiced a given cooking skill at home.  Members shared what worked well for them in the kitchen and what they learned from their experience.

Part of the “Cook This!” challenge involves a three-minute presentation, so Kitchen Krew members practice their communication skills monthly. In addition to gaining cooking skills, they talk about balanced diets and portion control.

The next challenge for Franklin County’s Kitchen Krew is catering a meal on March 19 for participants in Annie’s Project.  For more information about Kitchen Krew or Annie’s Project, contact Michelle Sackville at 641-386-2138 or sackvill@iastate.edu.  Farm women also may register online https://www.ucs.iastate.edu/mnet/annie/quickregister.html.

While æbelskivers aren’t likely to be on the menu for March 19, you can have a ball with Danish aebelskivers at home.  Our daughter is looking forward to making a batch of aebelskivers at Easter time with her grandparents.  We’re sharing a recipe today on TheFieldPosition.com.  Click here for Top-Rated Æbelskiver Pancake Recipes from Williams Sonoma: Lemon-MascarponeBlueberry-Filled PancakesCinnamon-Bun Filled PancakesSpiced Apple-Filled Pancakes, and Bacon & Cheddar Filled Pancakes.

Buttermilk Æbleskivers



  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 2 c. flour
  • 2 T. sugar
  • 1 tsp. soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • Salt
  • 2 c. buttermilk



  1. Beat egg yolks until light and lemon colored.
  2. Add sugar, salt, and buttermilk; mix well.
  3. Sift flour, soda, and baking powder; add to egg mixture.
  4. Beat egg whites until stiff. Fold into batter.
  5. Place a small amount of shortening in each cup of the æbleskiver pan and fill 2/3 full with batter.
  6. Cook over medium heat until bubbly; turn carefully with fork and finish baking on other side.
  7. Turn each æbleskiver several times during baking to ensure thorough baking.
  8. If desired, a very thin slice of raw apple can be pressed into batter in each cup before turning.
  9. Serve with butter and syrup, jam, brown sugar, or sprinkle with powdered sugar.