When it’s time to make Christmas cookies, it’s time to make rosettes. Rosettes are crispy delicate cookies made of batter and deep fried in shapes like the floral rosettes for which they are named, or stars, snowflakes or concentric circular shapes. They are beautiful and melt in your mouth. People who want rosettes mostly have to make them. People who want results without process are better off eating something else because the road to rosettedom is about process. You aren’t going to do this in five minutes. Dipping those little goodies in hot fat and waiting for them to turn into heaven takes time.
Is it possible to buy rosettes? I haven’t seen them in grocery stores, although at Christmastime I suspect that we can find them at Fosdal’s Bakery in Stoughton, Wisconsin, where the slogan is “here to make life a little sweeter.”
Rosette making is inexpensive and not difficult. Rosettes are made from everyday ingredients and fried like doughnuts. They are made on an iron, which actually is aluminum. It would seem awkward to call a rosette iron an aluminum. Rosette irons can be bought in some stores or online from NordicWare or (you guessed it) Amazon.com.
Here is how I make them. Required equipment includes rosette iron and deep fryer. Take your time.
Swedish Rosettes (about 3 dozen)
2 eggs 1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon sugar ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt oil for deep frying (I use canola oil)
1 cup all purpose flour powdered sugar
Have milk and eggs at room temperature. Beat eggs slightly in a small deep bowl. Blend in sugar and salt. Add flour and milk alternately; add vanilla. Mix until smooth. In your deep fryer heat oil to 375 degrees. Put the rosette iron into the hot fat. When it is well heated, remove it from the fat and immediately dip it into the batter. Do not let the batter run over the top of the iron or the rosette will stay stuck and not be removable. Immediately put the batter coated iron into the oil for at least 30 seconds or until the rosette is crisp and beginning to brown. Remove it from the oil and let it drip, then slip the rosette off the iron and drain it on absorbent paper such as paper toweling. Put the iron back into the oil for a few seconds before making the next rosette. Sprinkle the rosettes with powdered sugar.
Some things to know:
That iron isn’t ready to go right out of the new box. It must be seasoned first. I learned this the hard way rather than from my mother, who never made rosettes. If your iron is already seasoned, you may disregard this paragraph. To season it, coat the shaped frying part with oil and put it into the oven (in a dish) at an unspecified temperature (I don’t remember what temperature) and let it bake for a half hour or so. At this point the iron should be ready for rosette making. If you don’t season the iron, the batter will become stuck on the iron. The first rosette onto the iron might stick anyway, so don’t give up.
If rosettes drop from the iron after cooking, the fat is too hot. If they are soft when cooked, they have been cooked too quickly. If they have blisters, the eggs have been beaten too much.
My source says the rosettes will keep for about two weeks, but in my home they have never lasted that long so I make no guarantees. I keep them in a covered container until the wild hordes discover them and start to eat.
Wash the iron in water but do not use soap or dish detergent, or you will undo the seasoning.
It is ok to use cream or diluted evaporated milk in place of the fresh whole milk.
My source for this recipe is The Electric Company Christmas Cooky Book, which I acquired in about 1962 from The Wisconsin Electric Power Company in Milwaukee, the city where I lived for about a year with my new husband Rick. The booklet shows no author and no publication date.
Another source for rosettes is Swedish Food: 200 Selected Swedish Dishes, The Smorgasbord, Traditional Party and Everyday Menus, published in Gothenburg, Sweden, 10th edition, undated. I got it from my mother, who was not Swedish but loved to cook during her life. Fortunately, the book is written in English.
A third source is a departure from the others. It is a recipe on the back of the package of an angel rosette iron piece that I got from one of my daughters. It suggests use of beer in place of milk. I haven’t tried that. Also, it suggests that you purchase ready made rosette batter. I don’t stand behind that suggestion and have never actually seen any.