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« Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet Links! | Main | Grilled Cheesecake: A Sweet Take on a Classic Sandwich »

A Rosette By Any Other Name: Getting To Know a Sweet Nordic Treat

Rosette, Hillcrest Bakery, Bothell, WA
Last week while trolling the Seattle suburbs for baked goods, we came across one that completely caught our fancy at the Hillcrest Bakery in Bothell: the rosette. Displayed in sweet little rows in two shapes (rosettes and butterflies), these cakes were available plain or garnished simply and prettily with powdered sugar.

Hillcrest Bakery, Bothell, WAHillcrest Bakery, Bothell, WA
Dainty yet substantial would be the perfect way to describe these treats, which are actually hollow (see below); while they are light and delicate, they do get a substantive and delicious boost from deep-frying, which gives them a flavor something like funnel cake, but with a tantalizingly crunchy texture.
Rosette, Hillcrest Bakery, Bothell, WA

So what's their story? Well, according to Epicurious.com's food dictionary, the rosette is:

A small fried pastry made by dipping a rosette iron first into a thin, sweet batter, then into hot deep fat. When the mixture turns crisp and golden brown, the rosette is removed from the iron and drained on paper towels. While warm, these pastries are usually sprinkled with cinnamon-sugar. A nonsweetened batter may be used to make savory rosettes, which can be sprinkled with salt and served as an appetizer. A rosette iron has a long metal rod with a heatproof handle at one end and various decorative shapes (such as a butterfly, heart, star or flower) that can be attached to the other end. 

They are also cousin (that is to say, there are attachments that can be added to the same handle to make them--see left) to a sort of open-ended pastry family called timbale, which  Epicurious.com tells us is
a pastry shell made by dipping a timbale iron first into a batter, then into deep, hot fat. When the crisp pastry is pushed off the iron and cooled, it can be filled with a sweet or savory mixture.
The rosette cookies, it seems, are typically served in Sweden as a Christmas cookie; however, as discovered on a Rosette wikipedia blurb, in Finland they "may be served at May Day (Vappu) celebrations as an alternative to funnel cakes (tippaleipä)." Clearly they've got the right idea--these little treats are definitely too good to hide away most of the year.
Hillcrest Bakery, Bothell, WA
If you're not near a Swedish bakery (poor thing!) don't despair quite yet--you can make your own at home. The only catch is that they do require specific equipment--those signature delicate shapes are, after all, the result of special molds; however, they're not outrageously priced (here's one set for $23!). However, beyond that they don't seem too difficult to make; according to Diana's Desserts, which also has recipes,  "The trick to making good rosettes is to preheat the iron in the oil, and to be sure not to dip the iron so deeply into the batter that it coats the top of the iron."
Of course, if all that seems too hard, you could always hop the next plane to Sweden. We hear airfare's good right now.


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Reader Comments (28)

I love Hillcrest Bakery. When in Bothell I usually hit Cafe Ladro, Hillcrest Bakery, sometimes the donut shop a few stores up, and Yakima Market. Beautiful Pictures.

April 26 | Unregistered Commenteralice

Oooh, I LOVE rosette's! I must admit that I eat several every Christmas :)

What delicate looking delights. So pretty!

Hola!! Aquí en España es muy típico de la parte andaluza ... yo en mi blog también las hice!! Es interesante ver que no importa de donde seas ... todos al final comemos lo mismo!!

April 27 | Unregistered Commentervacapaca

Wow!! I can almost smell them, it looks delicious. It reminds me of summer and faires!!!

Did you get a chance to see this? (Warning: You may not enjoy funnel cake afterwards)

April 27 | Unregistered CommenterBear Silber

How delightful! I would certainly never limit these beauties to a single holiday - In fact, I'm now wondering where in NYC the rosettes might be in early bloom.

These looks so beautiful and make me very hungry looking at them. Beautiful photos.

April 27 | Unregistered CommenterTreehouse Chef

Mmmm looks lovely and crispy and sugary

these are actually very similar to a light flower pastry that my grandma makes at chinese new year - I was surprised to hear you say they were a swedish treat!

April 27 | Unregistered CommenterGrace

Thanks for the tid-bit. These rosettes look so nicely delicate, like the perfect thing to have with tea.

April 27 | Unregistered CommenterEliana

Beautiful pics. I need to go check out this bakery!

My late grandfather-in-law used to make these every Christmas. It was a cherished family tradition that we all miss. Thanks for bringing back that memory for me. :)

I'm Swedish. I've failed. I've never made these :( Come to think of it, I don't think my Swedish grandmother ever made them either. Oh well. I guess there's still time. You know I'll be taking this challenge on sooner or later! Love a good challenge :)

Hey, are going to IFBC in your fair city in a couple of weeks??

April 27 | Unregistered CommenterRecipeGirl

That's really cool! We used to call these Chinese pretzels in Hawaii. I had no idea they were Swedish!

April 27 | Unregistered CommenterOwl Chick

Greetings from Finland!

These are very delicious :D

April 27 | Unregistered CommenterEbe

oh. i had never known how rosettes were made! thanks for the dtailed post..gosh, it looks so good i feel like having some for pudding now. x

April 27 | Unregistered Commenterdiva

this is also quite similar to a traditional thai snack which the batter is made of what i think is coconut milk and there is an addition of black sesames into the batter.
its called "kanom dok jok"
which "kanom" means snack, "dok" means flower and "jok" is a type of flower.
when fresh out of the deep frying, the piece of pastry if put onto a little chinese tea cup which creates delicate petals of the Jok flowers.


Bangkok, Thailand

April 27 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

there is something very similar in south indian cuisine too. Its called achappam and is made with rice flour. This post describes the snack very well. http://mydiversekitchen.blogspot.com/2007/12/achappam-rose-cookies.html

April 27 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

My Norwegian heritage is drooling right now...

April 27 | Unregistered CommenterDeelish Dish

How lovely all these shapes look! I loved the butterfly!

April 27 | Unregistered CommenterTalita

We used to make these as kids with my Texas Granny. It helps to refrigerate the batter- the cooler it is the better it stays on the iron before you get it to the oil.

April 27 | Unregistered Commentercherryflute

I have been hunting for the tool(s) to make rosettes for years! When I was little, my friend's mom always made them for us as a special treat, in shapes to suit the occasion. I was thrilled to see them here on your blog today. Thank you :)

OMG, they look so delicious...such a temptation. Great pictures...so yummie!

April 27 | Unregistered CommenterJuliana

These are so pretty! Though, my favorite part of funnel cakes are the soft, doughy insides, so I have I feeling if I ever had one of these I'd end up thinking, "but what about the best part??!!??" Of course, I wouldn't mind taste testing a few, just to see :)

April 27 | Unregistered CommenterHayley

Looks yummy! This is one of the many local snacks here in Malaysia, minus the powdered sugar. :) One rosette mold here, complete with a handle, probably costs less than RM10 (~$3) - though I haven't really looked it up in detail. ^-^" I remembered my mum buying one a few years ago.

Love this blog by the way. The grilled cheesecake is a KILLER! :D

April 28 | Unregistered CommenterSing Yee

I've never had one of these, but they are certainly pretty!

April 29 | Unregistered CommenterHannah
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