Kleinur - Icelandic Doughnuts
Versions of Kleinur are found all over Scandinavia, but Iceland has its own take on the slightly sweetened fried dough rolls, usually served with coffee. And unlike the rest of Scandinavia, kleinur are not a Christmas speciality; Icelanders love to eat their version of doughnuts all year round.
This extremely popular snack is found everywhere nowadays in Iceland, from service stations and grocery stores to cafes and restaurants. You could say Icelanders love them!
Kleinur have been eaten in Iceland for around two centuries. They are sometimes called doughnuts but they are quite different from the American-style doughnuts in consistency: dense, bready and less sweet with the flavour of cardamom and vanilla coming through.
Sometimes they are covered in chocolate, occasionally with caramel or powdered sugar. Mostly they have no glaze. In America, they are called ‘angel wings’ as the knotted mixture has the appearance of celestial beings.
The dough is cut into diamond shapes with a kleinujárn, a cutter used especially for the job, then a thin slit is cut into the middle of the diamond shape, one end pulled through to make the distinctive kleina form. The mixture of flour, sugar, butter, raising agents, spice, and kefir (a bit like buttermilk) is then deep-fried.
Kleinur are extremely more-ish at the best of times, but after a hard slog up a mountain, they taste divine! Even better, they’re light, portable and filling, perfect for a day out in the hills. Before heading into the uplands, you can stock up from supermarkets like Bónus and Krónan.
They taste even better, however, if you grab freshly made Kleinur from one of Iceland’s excellent bakeries nearer to your hike. There are three branches of Almar Bakari along the ring road in Hveragerði, Selfoss and Hella, with kleinur on offer.
Here you can find the recipe if you'd like to make Icelandic doughnuts yourself.