Bunuelos / Swedish Rosettes, mmmm

(Note: this post has been certified 100% bunny-free.)

Although my Mom now can’t believe she let me do this, when I was fifteen I rode to Mexico to spend Christmas with a Mexican family who’d been living here in Utah  and was moving back (I flew home afterwards.)  I was friends with their daughter who was my age, but other than that we didn’t know the family particularly well, and they didn’t speak a lot of English and I didn’t speak Spanish.  It was an interesting trip and, all things considered, went pretty well. The best part was that they had a family tradition of making “bunuelos” for Christmas (there should be a squiggly over that n, but I don’t know the code to make the squiggle.)  I ate many bunuelos, and managed to purchase a bunuelos iron of my own to bring home with me.

I’ve always wondered whether there were any difference between bunuelos and Swedish rosettes, and this year it finally occurred to me to search “bunuelo” in an online Spanish/English dictionary.  It turns out it means “fritter,” and the more common type of Mexican fritter appears to be a fried pastry ball, although the rosette type occasionally show up in internet searches, too.  Anyway, I’m now pretty sure they’re the same as the Swedish ones, and the rosette recipe I tried this time tasted just the same as I remember the Mexican ones tasting — the main difference is that the Swedish type are usually dusted with powdered sugar, but I prefer mine dredged in cinnamon sugar, as they did in Mexico.

Making the rosettes is quite a demanding enterprise — you have to be willing to stand over a hot stove for about an hour, watching them be devoured as fast as you can create them.  It had been long enough since I’d mustered the energy to make them for Christmas that my kids didn’t even remember what they were, and it was actually a hard sell (if you can imagine!) to talk them into our making them for our Family Home Evening on Monday.  Actually, Isaac was converted once he saw the recipe, but Mabel took a little more persuading.  Once she’d tasted one, Mabel realized her folly and thanked me profusely.  I realized my folly when it took a whole day of lying down as much as I could on Tuesday before my ankles got back anywhere close to a normal size, but I told the kids that making them was a labor of love and a late Christmas present. I was also happy to get to eat the rosettes (during the short time they lasted.)

This year I used this recipe from Allrecipes.com.  I love the reviewing system at Allrecipes, and I found some of the reviewers’ suggestions very helpful — in fact, this was the first time I’ve made these when I really haven’t had any flops or failures in getting the rosettes to come out right.

Dipping the heated iron into the batter. The recipe says to heat the iron for 2 minutes, but I found that about 10-20 seconds was plenty. A candy thermometer is very helpful to keep the oil at the right temperature — we found that anything from about 350 to 375 degrees Fahrenheit worked well.

Notice also that you dip the bottom and sides of the mold into the batter, but don’t let the batter go over the top of the mold — otherwise you wouldn’t be able to remove the cookie from the mold.

Isaac with the mold I bought at a flea market in Guadalajara. I also have one that has interchangeable shapes of a butterfly, a star, and rosette. You can purchase them at specialty cooking shops; I think I got my 2nd one at Sur La Table.

Almost as fun to make as they are to eat (if you’re young and spry, rather than old and very pregnant.)

Love at home

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16 Responses to Bunuelos / Swedish Rosettes, mmmm

  1. Kristina says:

    How cool is that! They look delicious!

  2. Cheryl says:

    hmmm, sounds yummy. Can I come over and help make some next time?!
    I say help make some but really mean help make and eat some! 😉

  3. Jennette says:

    They look amazing!! I had no idea…..now I’ll have to keep my eyes open for a cool mold.

  4. Melanie J says:

    My mom made something similar to this when we were growing up. I miss those things! Although, being a Louisiana girl, I did have the good fortune of eating beneigts whenever I wanted so that’s a good consolation prize.

  5. Mariko says:

    I think I found my next activity, as soon as I can locate one of those iron things.

  6. zstitches says:

    I just did some quick Googling for “rosette iron” and there are plenty of sources. I would look for one with a bent handle rather than a straight handle, and if you go for one of the ones that holds two molds at a time, do bear in mind that you’ll need both a wider pot (which means using more oil) and a wider batter bowl. (We only realized this after we’d begun so we only attached one of the molds at a time, so as not to dirty another bowl.) But on the other hand, the cookies would get made twice as fast.

    You do have to handwash the mold (no big deal since it’s not used daily) and it looks like they come in cast iron or aluminum — mine are aluminum and work great.

    (Have fun!)

  7. zstitches says:

    I just saw an Amazon review that said they prefer cast iron — but my scientist husband says aluminum is actually great at conducting heat (and it’s cheaper.) Also, apparently you can get different attachments that make something called “timbales,” so that’s another search term to try.

  8. SANDRA says:


    • zstitches says:

      Hmmm, were you dipping the iron in the oil first? Was your oil too hot? Your batter too thick? Or too thin? Were you letting the batter go over the top of the iron and not just the bottom and sides?

      With these ones I did have to take a fork and gently pry them off the iron, but they did come off in one piece.

      Good luck. They are a lot of work to make but very tasty.

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