My Mom's chruściki (rozetki) iron is about 50 years old. The batter is sticking to it and doesn't release easily now. How can I recondition it?

I picked up a new one (aluminum!) but it’s not the same. I’d like to get the old one working again. It weighs 39 grams, compared to the new one’s 24. Since the new one is thinner, 50% makes sense for the difference in mass, with them being the same density.

I think the old one needs to be cleaned, since it’s discolored on the sides. The new one worked out of the box. So what can remove the staining?

I had assumed that it was cast iron, but comparing the weight against the new one, I'm not sure. I suspect it’s aluminum too.

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    A good way to tell is to see if a magnet is attracted to it, if yes - it's not aluminium. – Tim Post Aug 13 '16 at 17:14

I am going to assume that your chrusciki is cast iron. I have been collecting and using vintage cast iron for 30 plus years and use the following method for reconditioning pieces which have lost their seasoned finish. Your irons must be able to separate from their handles, unless the entire piece is cast iron.

  1. Separate all non-cast iron pieces from the cast iron pieces.
  2. If there are crusty bits stuck to the cast iron remove these. I use a variety of methods including fire, scraping, and soaking in a hot water bath for 15 minutes or so. Soapy water is only okay before skillet is seasoned, never after. Keep the cast iron off porous surfaces during the soak as rust may form and be difficult to remove from them
  3. Dry cast iron pieces and apply heavy coat of fresh cooking oil to entire piece.
  4. Bake on a foil covered cookie sheet in a hot oven (350-375) for up to 1 hour.
  5. Let cool, pieces may be sticky and this is normal.
  6. Store on wax paper until first use.
  7. Use as recipe suggests. Clean up irons using hot water only and a cloth of some type.
  8. To keep seasoned, dry after cleaning, wipe with a paper towel dipped into fresh cooking oil, store away from moisture. Pieces don't need to be dripping with oil, just lightly covered completely. Can repeat steps 3-6 once yearly.
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  • It's nothing like a seasoned frypan. IAC we leave it in the hot fry oil for 10 to 20 minutes before use. – JDługosz Aug 13 '16 at 3:33
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    Cast aluminum can be seasoned in much the same way as cast iron, but I don't personally have experience with that. Soaking or dipping into hot oil would not be a substitute for the seasoning process, there does not seem to be an effective shortcut method. – s.d.u. Aug 13 '16 at 15:46
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    I'm interested in your mention of "fire" in number two, a torch I presume? It sounds like you've done this quite a few times and I'm interested in more details on that if you've got time to edit and elaborate :) This is a great answer and I chuckled as I remembered making every single mistake you mention to avoid :) (except the soap, I've never soaped a seasoned piece) – Tim Post Aug 13 '16 at 17:16
  • @TimPost I think there are existing posts on (re)seasoning cast-iron pans that would discuss this in detail. – JDługosz Aug 13 '16 at 18:27
  • @TimPost I put my cast pieces directly into a bonfire type of fire if they are particularly grubby /or and have a lot of caked on grubbiness on them. – s.d.u. Aug 14 '16 at 1:23

Cast aluminum molds for this sort of cookie do not season in the same way as cast iron. It doesn't rely entirely on polymerization of oil upon the metal for a nice release, it simply needs a very clean and smooth surface for the cooking oil to cling to before adding the batter. Over the years, small burnt-on bits and oxidation may accumulate upon the metal, making a clean release hard to achieve.

It sounds like it simply needs a good and thorough cleaning with a long soak in hot vinegar. If that doesn't work, a kitchen rag doused with lemon juice and sprinkled with table salt is the next step, be gentle and get inside all of the nooks and crannies. If that fails, A metal scouring pad, or even a wire kitchen brush, may need to be employed, but take care not to leave deep scratches. The idea is to smooth the surface.

Don't clean it with soap after using it again, which may damage the aluminum, instead wipe away any cruft with a paper towel and leave it to drain on a stack of paper towels. The oil will protect it from tarnish. (We'll just call it tarnish. Aluminum and oxidation in cookware is too complex a topic to cover in this answer.)

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  • I thought s.d.u. was way off the mark in his answer to season it like a fry pan. – JDługosz Dec 29 '16 at 8:00

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