Swedish Timbale Iron

What could this beat up old thing be?

I have had this thing forever! I was unpacking a box of miscellany today and found it along with another gem I will save for a future post. My mother had this, it had been her mother’s. I don’t remember Mom ever using it. It is a Swedish Timbale Iron… We aren’t Swedish lol and I have no clue why Gram would have had it, except maybe it was a popular thing at the time she acquired it. It’s heavy and would make a good weapon haha, I believe that end piece is solid iron. I’d guess many of these were surrendered to the war effort in the 40s.

The end piece looks like it screws on

What exactly is a timbale, you ask? You have probably come across them in some form or fashion. In a general sense, a timbale is a crust, originated from the French for drum, and can also refer to food cooked inside a crust or case.

Looks yummy!

Rosettes and timbales

People of Scandinavian descent may recognize timbales, as they are the counterpart to rosettes, the popular Norwegian, Danish and Swedish Christmas treat. To call them a cookie doesn’t sound right, but they aren’t a donut either. Both rosettes and timbales are made by dipping the iron into batter and frying in hot oil or grease. The resulting case or pastry are then dusted with sugar, filled with puddings or fruit, and enjoyed with coffee, tea or chocolate.

I haven’t tried making these yet, having just unpacked this today, but I would love to try them one day. I remember having rosettes at my friend Diane B’s house in high school. So good, and I’m sure her mom would know what this iron is missing – its other pieces! When it was given to my mom, it must have had this shape on it and the rosette or other shapes somewhere else. You can see the iron handle is threaded so the head could be changed. Original sets were sold with a variety of shapes and sizes. Mine looks just like the ones below in a photograph out of the famous Fannie Farmer cookbook. I do wonder now about its age! (I also feel like this was a missed opportunity on the Great British Baking Show lol.)

From the 1896 Fannie Farmer cookbook, look at all the pieces!

The recipe for both treats appears to be the same, but you can fill your timbales with things other than sweets. Much like kolacky, the influence of new surroundings and cultures changes the way foods are consumed. While kolacky is traditionally a sweet bread, in Texas there is a popular savory kolacky movement that sounds delicious. Swedish timbales can be filled with salmon, asparagus, minced meats, and so many savory choices. My mouth is watering! Just a search on cooks.com brings up numerous pages of recipes for timbales of all kinds.

Did you know what this was when you first saw the picture? Some newer rosette sets have two prongs so you could make multiple items, whereas the traditional Scandinavians spent up to 3 minutes per item. Sounds tedious! Made the long winter days pass, I suppose. Have you made timbales in the past? I’m curious about your experience and memories.

Here’s a recipe I found specifically for timbales, from SwedishFreak.com.

Swedish Timbales

1 c (230 g) sifted all-purpose flour

1 Tbsp (14 g) sugar

1 tsp (4 3/4 g) vanilla

1/8 tsp (3/4 g) salt

1 c (230 g) milk

2 eggs (well-beaten)

timbale iron (rosette)

1. Sift sugar, salt and flour, mixing together well.
2. Stir milk and eggs together.
3. Gradually combine flour mixture and egg mixture.
4. Heat timbale iron in shortening or fat for 2 minutes at 375°F (190°C), then let the extra fat drain off.
5. Dip timbale iron into batter so that it’s submerged approximately 1/2 inch from the top.
6. Put the timbale iron back into the shortening or fat.
7. Let the case fry until it is golden brown and slides off the iron.
8. Reheat iron for a few minutes, then repeat.

Serving size: 24

TIPS: if the batter slips off, the iron is too cold; if it sticks to the iron, the iron is too hot.


Additional Resources

Step by step pictorial instructions to make rosettes via TheSpruce.com

Timbale recipe in the Fannie Farmer cookbook via K-State Libraries

Video on how to make both via NordicWear on YouTube

Bouquet Garni

A while back, I posted a recipe for a bouquet garni – basically a selection of herbs or spices, either tied or in a cheese cloth pouch. Since we have all new appliances that are significantly better than anything I have ever used in my life, I felt I needed to have a practice run on making a turkey before Thanksgiving next month. We did that yesterday, and I used a bouquet garni to season the bird with some amazing flavors.

I happened to have fresh sage and thyme, which I combined with garlic and shallots, then wrapped in cheese cloth and tucked into the cavity of the turkey before roasting. The flavors were subtle and enriched the meat with a beautiful flavor. This is a technique I highly recommend!

Here is the roasted bird with the bouquet garni peeking out. In the past I would put a regular white onion cut in quarters into the cavity, and while it did add flavor to the meat, it could be sharp if not a good onion. The shallots and garlic add a richness and the herbs temper that with sweet and savory aroma.

Our “Test-giving” dinner turned out great! I hope that as you begin thinking about your upcoming feasts, trying something new will open new flavor doors to you.

Enchilada Casserole

This is another microwave casserole I made during the dark days of no stove or oven during construction. I adapted it from a recipe that required baking, but I realized I could do it the easy way. I have made it with Fritos and gourmet tortilla chips, but I found regular old tortilla chips in a bag – like Tostitos – do the best. Adapt this how you like for your family, as well!

Enchilada Casserole

2-4 chicken breasts – based on your family size

1 can beans – refried or whole, such as black or pinto

1 can enchilada sauce

Tortilla chips

Shredded cheese

Green onion, chopped

1 small can black olives, sliced

Tomato, chopped


In a 2.5 quart microwave safe dish, place chicken breast and a bit of water. Top with paprika, salt & pepper, then microwave covered until chicken is just done. Shred chicken (I use my mixer) and return to bottom of dish. Place beans on top of chicken. Crumble tortilla chips over that to make a nice layer, but not too thick. Pour over that the enchilada sauce. Next put a layer of shredded cheese. Return to the microwave for 4-5 minutes until cheese is melted. Top with sliced olives, onion, tomato and avocado. You can also add the onion and olives before you microwave it.

Variation – make it with 1 lb ground beef instead of chicken.

Easy side dish – Make Minute Rice instant rice and replace 1/2 cup water with 1 cup salsa. Mix well.

KJ Potatoes

During the past 10 months of construction, I had to get creative in my cooking efforts since I lacked a stove. Or regular oven. Necessity is the mother of invention however, and I made up a dinner that my family enjoyed. I don’t think I will make it again just because it feels like “construction food” haha, but it was good during the cold winter and filling, and easy.

Following is the recipe I created after looking into the refrigerator to see what I had on hand. The name KJ Potatoes comes from an inside joke about our construction. You can change the name if you like the dish. It is written as baked in a convection toaster oven, so you may adjust according to your kitchen facilities. I like gold potatoes because the skins are soft and you don’t have to peel them if you don’t want to.

KJ Potatoes

2-4 large gold potatoes

1 package of Nathan’s or other all beef hotdogs

1/2 medium onion, chopped or sliced

Shredded cheese

Butter or margarine

Thinly slice the potatoes. The thicker they are the longer they take to cook through. Slice enough for your family, I usually used 4. Layer in the bottom of a 9×13 pan. Top with the onions, then add a couple dollops of butter or margarine. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or so, until potatoes are mostly done. While that is baking, slice hot dogs into 1/4″ discs. Once potatoes & onions are cooked, add the hot dog discs in a layer, then top with shredded cheese. Return to the oven for another 15 minutes or so, until the hot dogs are cooked through and cheese is bubbly.

Could be served with ketchup, sour cream, bacon bits, whatever you like.

On the home stretch…

My dear, patient readers and friends,

Last year I asked for your patience as I went on hiatus for some home construction. You can look at the post previous to this one to see where we were at that time – concrete floors, framed walls, no insulation. 

Here we are today

Although it has taken longer than predicted – what major construction project ever finishes early? – we are finally on the home stretch! What does this mean?

Lots of cooking & baking! 

Lots of scanning of recipes!

Lots of blogging!

I do need to ask for your continued patience though. When we packed our entire house last October, we thought this project would be finished in March. April outside. As we are now well into June, you can imagine how eager we are for this to be completed. BUT, once it is, there will be the task of bringing our stuff back out of storage and putting it away. I imagine this to be akin to getting a filling without novacaine. Since we weren’t moving, I don’t know that we packed as well as if we were. Plus, our stuff has been in storage for 8 months. Who knows where anything is!!

I sat with a friend tonight though and we talked about her mother’s recipe cards, and I was so excited about them, let me reassure you that as soon as I possibly can, I will be bringing you vintage recipe cards, ephemera and commentary, recipe reviews and as much great content as I can!

Until then, I hope you are cooking, baking, and enjoying life!


Hello vintage-handwritten-antique recipe lovers! Thank you every single one of you for helping to make this website so very popular! Every day we continue to gain new followers from the website and the Facebook page, and I am overwhelmed and grateful.

When I started this little project with 150 of my grandmother’s recipe cards, I never expected we would have so many kindred spirits out in the world who would enjoy this along with me. The project has grown to encompass numerous grandmothers, mothers, aunts, friends, grandmother’s of friends, etc. and many many more. I have found recipe cards in little boxes in stores from antique to junk, on eBay and thrift sites. Some recipes seem to find their way to many people, such as the easy and quick lasagna recipes which are so popular they still appear in cookbooks today.

Also when I started this project, I had an enormous kitchen. I was able to cook and try many of the recipes I found, and then blog the experiences for you. Since that time, we have moved to a smaller house, which made it difficult to cook and blog. The kitchen was sooo small! I say “was” because it has now been torn apart and we are building a lovely new kitchen with plenty of room to cook, photograph, blog, and just enjoy being in the kitchen again. I cannot wait for it to be finished. But….

Big empty room

…this is what it looks like right now. Much of the rest of my house is also bare like this – walls to the studs, concrete floor, no ceiling, no lights, no nothing. My family is living in two of our untouched bedrooms and I am cooking in the microwave and toaster oven. To say it is hectic is an understatement, lol.

Because we have had to empty out so many of our rooms, I was forced to pack away my source materials for this site. I had in mind that I would scan a ton of recipe cards and then just blog them over the ensuing months of construction, but as it happens, that plan was dashed when we had to hurriedly pack up. The thing about construction is that you wait a long time, wondering when it is going to start, and then BAM, it starts tomorrow!

This construction project is expected to last until March 2017, so unfortunately until then, I have to put this site on hiatus. I’m not happy about it, but I am so tickled about having a custom built kitchen etc., that it overcomes my disappointment to suspend my recipe blogging for a bit. Until I return, you may want to check out some of the most popular recipes we have:

Apie Cakes

Icicle Pickles

Watergate Cake

Apple Brown Betty

Ham Balls with Pineapple Sauce

Vintage Holiday Recipes


Sour Milk Waffles

Egg custard Cheese

Plum Pudding

I did manage to scan a number of vintage photographs and holiday cards, so if you love vintage ephemera in general, you might want to visit my site Who Were They? That site is dedicated to antique photos and a few fun other things. Every year I blog vintage Christmas cards, and this year I hit the mother load, so I hope you will check it out too.

Until next March, thank you for your continuing support and interest in all things cooking, baking, and blogging!

Chow Chow #3

Chow Chow 3 Chow Chow 3 Back

Our third and final (for now) recipe for Chow Chow. This one calls for tomatoes, onions, celery, mango peppers (aka bell peppers), cabbage and cauliflower. I’m guessing either this person had a prodigious back garden, or she just loved to can. It may have been “the thing” she was known for, or her family relied on her for sandwich spreads, pickles and relish, etc.

Note the items to be added to a pickling bag – celery seed, mustard seed & turmeric. You don’t want these to remain in the chow chow once it’s made so after pickling, remove the bag and discard it. The back side of the recipe is a bit confusing to me. Do we pickle the cabbage and cauliflower separately and then add to the rest of the chow chow? Continue reading