(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.