Milkmaid's Recipe Box

FOOD, FOOD, FOOD! I'm such a FARMER at heart-- even a CALF knows that so much in life is about the FOOD! (A bit of a "bio" about me can be found way down near the bottom.)

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Monday, December 14, 2015

Helen's Elephant Ears (and/or "Twirly Rolls")

After already getting a lot of rain this month and almost three more inches of it since yesterday morning (instead of what would normally be December snow for our area), I just knew today would feel like the perfect day to make these--so,... I started them before going to bed last night.  I may be an odd ball and all alone in my thinking, but, for me,  these are more of a favorite than Christmas cookies!  With very little extra effort, I could make these look really festive, too, ...IF I wanted to, that is!

Elephant ears with chopped pecans rolled into the dough...
Without nuts...

"Twirly Rolls" made with the same dough...

All three variations together...
Glazed 'Twirlies' pictured further down in this posting.

Some food stands at County Fairs sell "Elephant Ears", but theirs are  'deep-fried' whereas these are baked.  When I roll these out to be quite flat, they are so similar to a yeast bakery sometimes called "Cinnamon Crispies".  (Helen gave me this recipe in the early 70's.)

Here's the recipe for these VERY EASY to make (non-kneading) rolls:


2 tablespoons dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (not too hot!)
1 teaspoon sugar (to activate the yeast)
1 cup milk (scalded, then cooled to 'warm')
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 cup softened butter
4 cups flour (about 1.25 lb.)
3 tablespoons granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup soft butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon cinnamon
Chopped nuts (optional)


1.  Soften yeast in warm water with 1 tsp. sugar, set aside until 'foamy/rising'.

2.  In small kettle, heat the milk only until little bubbles form around the edges of the kettle.  Cool this to 'lukewarm' and then add the slightly beaten egg yolks.

3.  Add bubbly yeast mixture.  Add softened butter.  Mix until smooth.  Add flour, sugar, and salt. Mix well.

4.  Put in a lightly oiled bowl, rotate to coat top with oil, cover, and place in refrigerator for not less than 2 hours, but not more than 2 days.

Turn dough onto lightly floured board and divide into four balls.  Punch each ball into a flat 6" circle and let rest for about 10 minutes*

Next, roll each of the flat circles into a rectangular shape and spread with a quarter of the 1/4 cup soft butter.  Sprinkle each buttered circle with a quarter of the combined sugar(s) and cinnamon mix.  Taking the narrow side, roll each rectangular portion of dough up as you would a jelly roll.

Cut each roll into 4 sections (slices).  Place each (with a cut side down) on a surface that has been sprinkled with a small amount of the sugar/cinnamon mixture (you can also sprinkle some nuts on  the surface so that you can "roll them in". Coat both sides of the "cut roll" with the sugar/cinnamon mix and then roll with a rolling pin until it is about 1/4 - 1/2" thick.  (Again, ...before rolling out, you could sprinkle some chopped nuts onto the dough and roll them in, also.)  I like to roll these really flat so they bake up thinner and crispier. 

Transfer the flattened roll to a sprayed OR foil-covered OR parchment lined (my choice) cookie sheet and let them rest for 15-20 minutes; bake at 375-degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.   Ovens vary, so adjust temperature accordingly-- for yours, maybe 350-degrees will be best. (?)

*At this point in the recipe, if you want to make the 'twirly' rolls in my picture, roll dough into rectangle, 15x9 inches.  Brush with melted butter.  Mix 1/2 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon; sprinkle that evenly over rectangle.  Roll up, beginning at the wide/long side.  Seal final edge by pinching the dough tightly together for the length of the roll.   Cut rolled 'log' into 1-inch slices.  Place a small round handle of a wooden spoon in center of each slice parallel to cut sides; press down and almost through the dough.  Transfer to greased OR parchment paper-lined baking sheet.   Or, I've found that I can do the 'pencil crease' AFTER the rolls are on the baking sheet.  (The 'pencil push' makes the ends of the little slice push out.)  Bake about the same as with the Elephant Ears recipe above.   If desired, frost with a light glaze kind of icing.

GLAZE:  1 cup sifted powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon milk, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.  Mix well and drizzle over rolls.  (Adjust consistency  by adding either more milk, or more powdered sugar.)

Better than this vanilla glaze, I like to drizzle over these a burnt (browned) butter kind of icing... stirring constantly, I heat butter until it is a med. dark color.  Then, very quickly add small amount of milk to stop it from darkening further.  To that, I add sifted powdered sugar and quickly (QUICKLY) pour it in strips over the rows of rolls.  One must move quickly with this kind of icing because it "stiffens up" so quickly!

These freeze well, but two of them won't make it into the freezer...
The hot chocolate was not as 'dark' as it looks in the picture, but it 'wuz-z-z-z' good.

If you have any questions about this recipe, send me a message.

1 comment:

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