Day 23 of "25 Days of Angels Baking Christmas Memories"
Was it Gram’s recipe or Mom’s?
Every year, a few days before Christmas, we would make rosettes and store them in waxed paper lined boxes in the attic. Then on Christmas Eve we would have a treat of rosettes and cookies, and open up one gift per kid. I never knew if the rosette recipe we used back then was Mom’s recipe or her Mother’s. Whoever it belonged to, the rosettes were fun to make, cover with sugar and eat. I DID recently find a rosette recipe in Gram’s handwriting, which is the recipe I’ve published below. The crispy sugar-coated treats are a tasty remembrance of childhood Christmases. My husband and I even used to make them at Christmas time when we hosted the family Christmas dinners. I think we’ll make them again this year.
When we made rosettes with Mom, it was an efficient assembly line in our big kitchen. First, she would get the rosette irons out of storage in the back of the lowest kitchen cupboard shelf and clean it up. It was usually a little dusty from not being used since the last Christmas. I would help mix up the batter, stirring when Mom said to. She would carefully heat up the rosette iron, test it and dip it in the batter to fry the rosettes in the very hot oil on the stove. When they had turned a light golden brown, she would delicately release them from the iron onto old but clean cloth dish towels spread over cookie sheets. (There were no convenient throw away paper towels back then, but that’s how I drain them now.)
While the rosettes were still warm, we siblings would drench them in sugar with our little fingers from a wide low bowl that Mom had set out for us. We would cautiously arrange the crunchy rosettes in waxed paper lined shirt boxes that Mom had saved from previous clothing store purchases over the year – she was always thinking ahead or creating ways to reuse items. And, the waxed paper lining the boxes included waxed paper wrappers from inside the plastic bread loaf bags purchased from the discount Holsum Bread Store in town. (Mom, as thrifty as she was, would save those plastic bags and waxed paper inserts for all sorts of uses in the home. She was recycling long before it was “the thing to do.”) Of course, there never seemed to be the same number of rosettes coming off her rosette iron compared to the number we actually placed in wax paper lined shirt boxes. It seems we were usually “tasting” the darker ones that shouldn’t be served to guests. (I think she would overcook a few just for us to snitch.) Then we would trudge up to the cold attic with the boxes of sugary delights, selecting a special corner for storing them until our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day celebrations.
Rosette Ingredients according to Gram’s notes:
¼ t Salt
1 Heaping teaspoon Sugar
1 C Milk
½ C Flour
½ C Cornstarch
Stir up the batter:
- Beat the eggs lightly.
- Add the sugar, salt and milk. Set aside.
- Whisk together the cornstarch and flour.
- Gradually stir the flour and cornstarch mixture into the wet mix. Make sure there are no lumps.
Heat up the oil:
- Gram does not have any information in her recipe notes as to how much oil to use or how hot to heat it up. But my husband I always used a Presto Fry Daddy to make our rosettes in. The appliance had an indentation on the inside showing how much oil to add, and it automatically heated up the oil to a high enough temperature for rosettes. We have since retired that appliance and heat up the oil in a large saucepan on the stove to make our rosettes. It’s a 3-quart saucepan to which we add oil to fill it about half way. We set the burner on medium high to get it bubbling. Then, start frying our rosettes. I’m sure there are appliances available now to fry things like chicken, French fries, etc. that could also be used to make rosettes. Just experiment with them to find what you like for your rosette frying.
- Make sure the iron is hot before you dip it into the batter and fry your rosette.
- According to Gram’s notes: If the batter fails to adhere to the rosette iron, it may be overheated. Just let it cool a bit, wipe it off and try again.
- I remember Mom would let the rosette iron cool a little or wipe off excess oil periodically, maybe because the batter would not stick to the iron when she tried to coat it.
Different sugar dustings:
- Drench the rosettes, while they are still a little warm, in granulated sugar.
If the rosettes have cooled, sprinkle a little powdered sugar on them.
- Drizzle a little white powdered sugar glaze, flavored with almond extract, over the solid side of the rosettes and dust them with a few sprinkles or colored sugars.
- Drizzle a little bit of colored candy melts over the rosettes for a different flair.
- For the butterfly shaped rosettes, lightly tip the edges of the wings with colored frosting or candy melts to make some bright treats. Sprinkle sanding sugars on the wings before the frosting dries to give them some sparkle. You can do the same with other shapes, too.
- Really go crazy! The open side of a rosette makes for a wonderful vessel to carry sweet treats. Drizzle some colored candy melts over the open side of the rosette and tuck in little pieces of Andes Mints, Hershey chocolate bars, Skittles, M&M’s, toffee, mixed chopped nuts, etc.
Go wild! Make them pretty. Bake Your Own Memories!