Friday, September 3, 2010

"E" is for Elephant Ears

We tried a new recipe this week, making Elephant Ears for my friend Ellen, her daughters Elizabeth and Esther, and Everyone Else in their family.  

Anyone else never heard of Elephant Ears?

Basically, it's a flaky dough rolled up and sliced like a cinnamon roll and then flattened into circles and baked like cookies.  So it's a cinnamon roll cookie.  Sort of.  

Anyways.  Apparently these are treats found at county fairs....(I think it's been about 20 years since I went to a fair, so I cannot confirm that) but often times they're deep fried. I wanted to avoid this recipe fit the bill.  I found it on my good old standby, Allrecipes.  

I did make some changes, because things were NOT working according to the original directions.  For example, if you don't knead enough flour into the dough before rolling it out, it will be too sticky to do anything.  Also, parchment paper is your friend for baking these.....and don't forget it!  
Be sure to plan ahead because the dough has to chill for a couple of hours.  

The result: my kids LOVED them and are begging me to make more.  I thought they were really good too, despite the mess I made in the kitchen.  It's fun to try new things.  I did double this recipe to make enough for both families.

Recipe: (yield - 14 to 18 rolls)

1 (.25 oz) package active dry yeast (or 2-1/4 t. bulk yeast)
1/4 cup warm water
1/2 t. sugar
1/2 cup warm milk
1 egg yolk
2 cups all-purpose flour (or whole wheat)
1-1/2 T. sugar
1/2 t. salt
1/2 cup butter, cold
2 T. butter, softened
2 cups sugar, divided
3-1/2 t. cinnamon, divided
4 T. melted butter (optional)
1/4 c. chopped nuts (optional)

Dissolve yeast in water with 1/2 t. sugar.  Combine with milk and egg yolk and set aside. 

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, 1-1/2 T. sugar, and salt.  Cut in butter until pea-sized or smaller.  Add the yeast mixture and stir well.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.  

Preheat oven to 400°.
Turn dough out onto a heavily floured surface - (read at least 1/2 cup, maybe more of flour).
Knead lightly, then roll out into a rectangle 10"x18". 
Spread with softened butter.  
Combine 1/2 c. sugar and 2 t. cinnamon and sprinkle over the dough.
Roll up like a jelly roll, sealing the edge.  The roll should be 18" long. Cut into 1 to 1-1/2 inch slices.
Combine remaining sugar and cinnamon.  Pour some onto your pastry board.  Take one slice of dough at a time, flatten into a large circle on top of the cinnamon sugar, and sprinkle with nuts if using.  
Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (seriously, don't skip'll be sorry if you do). 
Brush with melted butter (if desired) and sprinkle with more cinnamon sugar.
Bake for 10-12 minutes (10 was perfect in my oven).
Cool on wire racks. 

Sorry if these seems confusing....I kind of had to wing a few things as I went so writing it down can be a little hard to explain.  Just ask me if you have any questions!


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