Fried Fair Food: Elephant Ears
posted 2023 Apr by Naomi Poe
I created this recipe to meet the request of a couple of our customers who were craving this fair food staple. A form of Fry-bread, elephant ears (also called mouse ears or beaver ears, depending on where they're made and the size) are a deep fried sweet bread dough, topped with cinnamon and sugar. I'd never even heard of them before we got the request, so I was excited to try them. Elephant ears remind me of the best part of a donut, or of cinnamon toast crunch - all good in my book. Follow the instructions carefully for best results.
2 1/4 c (532 mL) milk or dairy free sub
1 t (5.69g) salt
2 Tbsp (25g) sugar
6 tbsp (71.63) shortening, melted and slightly cooled
2 tbsp (17g) active dry yeast
4-5 c (560-700g) Better Batter Gluten Free Flour, plus more for rolling
Oil or shortening, for frying (use high heat oil)
3 tbsp cinnamon
6 tbsp sugar
In a bowl, combine the milk or dairy free sub, salt, sugar, and shortening. Stir until evenly combined.
Add the yeast and 4 c of the flour. Blend together until mixture thickens to about the texture of drop cookie dough - about 8 minutes by hand, or 4 minutes in a stand mixer. You may need to add up to 1 c of flour to achieve this texture.
Set aside and allow to proof for 30 minutes.
Mix the 3tbsp cinnamon and 6tbsp sugar and set aside. This is your dredging mixture.
Meanwhile heat a very heavy pan or pot over medium high heat. The pan should be big enough to have at least 2 inches of space above the oil, and you will need at least an inch of oil in the bottom of the pan - enough for the dough to float and be submerged.
Prepare the dough - remove golf ball sized lumps of dough from the bowl - about 2-3 inches - and roll in a bit of flour. this will help take the stickiness off the globs of dough and enable you to roll them very thin. Make sure you have your rolling area relatively close to your frying area, or have several people to help. The dough takes only 10-15 seconds per side once it is placed in the oil!
When the oil hits about 375 F (190C) and starts to shimmer, begin to roll out the dough.
You will want to roll each glob of dough to about 6-8 inches long, by 4-6 inches wide (rough ovals) and about 1/8 inch thick. You may want to make these smaller, larger, or thicker as desired- yield and cooking time will vary depending on how you do this. The dough will not stretch, so only make these as big as you can comfortably carry with the palm of your hands.
When the dough is rolled out thinly, carry it to the pan and very gently slide/lay the dough in a single layer into the pan. If you have a large pan, you can do several, but you should not crowd the pan! Make sure the dough is fully submerged - you can press down on it with a spatula. The hot oil washing over the dough is what will create the small bubbles that these are famous for. Cook until the top bubbles and the bottom browns - 10 to 15 seconds - then flip and fry on the other side.
Drain and immediately dredge with cinnamon sugar mixture. Serve immediately.
This recipe makes a lot of elephant ears - 16 or more, depending on the size you make them. 2-3 per person should do.