Today’s cookie is something from my childhood. Even though I grew up in the 70s, I was fortunate enough to have taken home economics cooking classes in junior high school. I loved that class so very much. It cemented a life-long love of cooking and baking. And I learned so very much. The teacher was a big and somewhat cranky African-American woman from the South named Mrs. Baker (I know–perfect, huh?). Even though she was a bit on the cranky side, I loved her and the class. I couldn’t wait to get to class each day.
The room itself was divided up into several U-shaped cooking stations, each with a sink and a stove. Every few days, we cooked some sort of thing that we were learning about that week. Sometimes it was a baked good, sometimes it was a whole meal. We were divided up into small groups and we cooked with each other. On cooking days, we were charged with bringing things from home that would create a properly set table–table setting was part of the grade for class. So we brought flowers for centerpieces and nice napkins. Interestingly, I don’t remember any fighting or arguing during this class. Since it was an elective, I think everyone in there really enjoyed being there and put a lot of effort into it.
In between cooking days, Mrs. Baker would lecture us about cooking and baking rules, as well as good kitchen hygeine. I can hear her even now, admonishing us that, “Hair [pronounced hey-ah] has NO nutritional value whatsoever!” Thus, on cooking days we all had to wear those shower cap-like things to keep our hair out of the way and off of the food. She would absolutely flip out if she found hair in the food.
I learned so much from Mrs. Baker and that class. I learned how to measure out flour and other dry ingredients (dip, scoop, swipe). I learned to always look at the baking powder expiration date to make sure that it was still viable. I learned how to proof yeast. And, oddly enough, we learned how to make rosettes.
Rosettes, if you don’t know, are a Scandinavian deep-fried cookie that is kind of like a super-fancy funnel cake. They are traditionally served at Christmas time. They are made by dipping a hot rosette iron into batter and then quickly dunking it into hot oil to fry for about a minute. Once out of the oil and drained, they are dusted with powdered sugar. They are delicious like anything deep-fried is, and they are so very pretty!
It completely cracks me up that rosettes were just another thing we learned to make and that I’ve made ever since. It never dawned on me until I was a young adult that not everyone knew how to make rosettes–or even what rosettes are. Once you have one, though, you will wonder where they’ve been all your life.
Rosette irons are available in all different shapes and sizes. I have a holiday-themed set that I purchased a few years ago that is like this one:
And I also have some vintage ones that my neighbor gave me after he found them at a demolition site at which he worked (I know, what a weird thing to find at a demo site). The vintage ones are heavier and are in the traditional rosette shape, like this one:
Regardless of what shape they are, they are very easy to use. Rosettes, like any type of delicate pastry, take a bit of practice to make well, but once you get the hang of making them they are fun and easy! The batter is simple to make and you can make it ahead of time and then store in fridge for when you want to use it.
You need to season your rosette irons before the first time you use them. They are usually made of cast iron or aluminum and need to be seasoned like a cast iron pan. To do this, heat up a pan of oil (I like to use rice bran oil) to about 350-365 degrees and submerge the iron in the hot oil for about 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, carefully remove the irons from the oil and place them onto a cookie sheet lined with paper towels to absorb the oil. They will be extremely hot–take care! Also, the more you use them, the better they perform.
The basic technique for rosettes is quite simple. You take your chosen iron and screw it onto the end of the handle it came with. Carefully submerge the iron in oil for about 10-20 seconds in order to heat it up. Then you dip the hot iron into your rosette batter and quickly submerge the batter-covered iron into the hot oil until it is a light brown. Remove the rosette iron from the oil and using a knife or a fork, carefully push the rosette off onto a paper towel-lined plate or cookie sheet to drain. You then repeat the process for more rosettes. It takes a bit of practice to get the feel of how much batter needs to cling to the iron in order to create a nicely-shaped rosette. And, you need to make sure that you don’t submerge the entire iron in the batter because you don’t want to cover the top of the iron with batter–because you can’t easily get the fried batter off when it needs to come off.
Rosettes, Gluten-Free (can be made dairy-free)
Special Equipment Needed
-candy or oil thermometer
1 cup (140g) Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix
1/4 tsp salt
2 extra large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup (235ml) milk (or milk substitute)
Oil for frying (I use Rice Bran oil)
Powdered (confectioner’s) sugar for dusting
In a small bowl, mix together flour and salt.
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, vanilla, and milk. Add the flour and salt mixture and whisk until the batter is somewhat thick–about the texture of heavy cream or pancake batter. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. The resting and cooling process helps the rosettes be more crispy, but it isn’t necessary.
When ready to make the rosettes, heat about 3-4 inches of oil in a heavy saucepan. Place a candy thermometer in the saucepan. Heat the oil until it is 350-365 degrees.
Screw the rosette iron you want to use onto the handle. When the oil has reached 350-365 degrees, remove the batter from the fridge and pour some into a flat bottomed container–use a glass, pottery, or metal container–don’t use plastic or anything that will melt from heat of the rosette iron as you dip it in. This will be your working batter. Return the remainder of your batter to the fridge to stay cool.
Carefully submerge the iron in the oil for about 10-20 seconds to heat it (20 seconds for the first few, then 10 after you’ve used the iron a few times). Lift it out of the oil and dip it into the working batter, being careful to cover the bottom and sides of the iron but not the top of the iron. Quickly lift the iron out of the batter and submerge the batter-covered iron into the hot oil, making sure it’s completely covered with oil but not touching the bottom. The oil will bubble and foam quite a bit at this point. Let the rosette fry for about 40 seconds or until it is a light brown. When it’s done, lift the iron with the rosette out of the oil. With a fork or butter knife, carefully remove the rosette to a paper-towel lined plate to drain. Every so often a rosette may come off of your iron while it’s in the oil. That’s OK. Just let it fry until it’s light brown and then remove it from the oil to drain.
Repeat the process. As you get low on working batter, add more of the batter from the fridge. You will notice that the working batter will become warm as you work with it and will stop attaching to the rosette iron. As this happens, replenish with new, cold batter.
Once the rosettes are drained and cooled, place on a new plate and sift powdered sugar over the top of each. Store in an airtight container.
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