Editor's Note: Nikki Goldstein, longtime friend of Serious Eats and our newest contributor, will be checking in with a different kitchen gadget every week. Please welcome Nikki!
Few would dare question the power of pancakes as comfort food--what's better than waking up to the smell of warm batter puffing up into cakey vehicles for syrup and jam?
If you thought this was the pinnacle of Sunday brunch, meet the aebelskiver. It's a warm, doughy concoction that essentially crosses a pancake with a jelly doughnut. They're relentlessly addicting. While many trek to the few eateries that make these fresh (including Aunt Else's in the Twin Cities area, Shopsin's in New York City, and almost any place in Solvang, California), aebelskivers are quite simple to make at home--that is, if you have an aebelskiver pan.
And the best part about homemade versions? Homemade fillings, of course.
Inspired to buy an aebleskiver pan? Here's a recipe to get you started: Basic Aebleskiver Batter with Bananas Foster Filling
But perhaps the greatest aebleskiver resource is aebleskiver.com, run by "Mr. Aebleskiver" himself, Arne Hansen--the founder of Arne's Aebleskivers in Solvang. Aebleskilver.com sells a wide variety of pans for all stove types, mixes, and is full of aebleskiver cooking advice.
The cheapest pans, so long as they're made of cast iron, work just as well as the expensive ones. Always be sure to butter your pan before each batch to avoid sticking, and don't get frustrated if your first few attempts don't go over perfectly--they get prettier with additional flipping experience. And while sweet fillings like bananas foster or berry jam and chocolate chips are consistent winners, this pan is also versatile enough to churn out savory delights, like pan-puffed gougères or chili-stuffed bread balls.