Why pancakes would taste better in the form of balls, I haven't the foggiest clue. They just do. Why "Munchkins" taste better than regular Dunkin Donuts, I'm not sure of either. Why "balls" sounds so much more vulgar than "spheres," well, I do have a clue why that's the case...so I shall strategically avoid that terminology for the rest of this blog post.
A few years back, I visited a touristy Danish village in Southern California known as Solvang. It means "sunny meadow." It's cute and quaint, full of wine-tasting establishments, four-seater quadricycles, and German-looking fachwerkhäuser. Along one of the picturesque side-streets, an unassuming hole-in-the-wall consistently attracts a crowd of people waiting to try what the Danes call "aebleskivers" (eh' bil skee vers). Sonia and I took a gander at the plates of some of the patrons. They served the pastries with a raspberry sauce and an optional scoop of ice cream. We immediately decided to brave the long queuing line and get a plate for ourselves. The aebleskivers were amazing.
When we first saw these Danish Pancakes at TJ's, we thought, "Hmmm, I wonder if those are similar to aebleskivers?" Upon closer inspection, we noticed that Trader Joe's writes on the packaging, "aka aebleskivers." Score!
Trader Joe's Danish Pancakes are every bit as good as the aebleskivers from Solvang. They were slightly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. We heated ours in the oven, and we can't imagine them turning out nearly as well in the microwave, although they list that as an option on the packaging. My biggest complaint about these confectionery spheres is the lack of "fixins." If the product had come with powdered sugar and raspberry jam, these might have been real candidates for our Pantheon of Great TJ's Foods. Of course, we used our own powdered sugar, and fortunately, there's not a lot of variation from one brand of powdered sugar to the next. That raspberry jam from Solvang, on the other hand, would be very difficult to replace. It's very unique. We used some of our Welch's grape jelly instead, which actually wasn't as bad as I expected it to be. We also tried them with maple syrup. No, sadly it wasn't Trader Joe's Organic Grade B Maple Syrup, but maybe we'll try them with that next time. Homemade whipped cream goes well with them, too.
Click here to watch 52 seconds of aebleskiver madness on YouTube, featuring my repulsive attempt at a Danish accent!
Sonia and I each give them 4 stars.
Bottom line: 8 out of 10.
Make your own aebleskivers!