Elephant Ears - An American Food And A Midwest Favorite


Updated Fri, Aug 29, 2014 3:35 pm
All across this great land we are fond of outdoor food! Exciting as they are fairs, carnivals, amusements parks, rodeos and seaside resorts are not only popular because of the activities, but, because of familiar scents that are undeniably a main attraction.
 
Heavenly scented and mouth-watering FRIED DOUGH is the specific name for a variety of fried bread made of yeast dough, also known as: fry dough, fry bread, doughboys, elephant ears (smaller versions called mouse ears), scones and frying saucers. Smaller pieces are called bunuelos and are primarily identical and noticeably different from doughnuts, beignets or fritters which are also fried. In Canada, pieces of fried dough have been coined the phrase, beaver tails.  A writer of books on Canadian word origins, Bill Castleman, stated that this term was used as it described quick-baked dough because early in the 19th century people would camp for one evening and may not have had a frying pan to use. Also, a chain of restaurants called BeaverTails was founded in 1978 by Pam and Grant Hooker of Ottawa, Ontario. They specialize in fried dough pastries that are hand stretched to the shape of…you guessed it…a beaver’s tail.
 
Most commonly, elephant ears are a fried and flattened flank of dough sloughed with butter and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. Other toppings may include: powdered sugar, fruit sauce, chocolate sauce, cheese, maple syrup, whipped cream, tomato sauce, garlic butter, lemon juice, honey, butter, nuts or a combination of these. There is absolutely no nutritional value in an elephant ear and it comes with a calorie intake of 300-500 calories. There is one WARNING, all though not on any label…It’s best not to share, even with your dearest friend.
 
TWO EASY VERSIONS TO MAKE AT HOME
 
MY MOM’S MOUSE EARS
 
Preheat preferred oil for frying; melt butter; combine cinnamon and sugar in paper sack
Work with unfrozen bread dough
Stretch dough to desired thickness and size
Place dough in oil and fry to a golden/light brown hue
Drain on paper sacks or paper towels
Brush with melted butter
Toss in paper sack filled with cinnamon and sugar
Courtesy of Carol Stanley, Jacksonville, Ohio
 
COUNTY FAIR ELEPHANT EARS
 
1 ½ cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
2 packets dry yeast
2 Tablespoons sugar
6 Tablespoons shortening
4 cups flour
Oil for frying
Powdered sugar, sifted
Cinnamon / sugar mix
 
Heat but do not boil milk, sugar, salt and shortening until shortening is melted. Cool to lukewarm. Add yeast and stir until dissolved. Stir in flour 2 cups at a time, beating until smooth after each addition. Put in to greased bowl. Cover with damp cloth, let rise until double. Dust hands with flour. Pinch off pieces of dough size of golf ball. Stretch into 6-8 inch circle. Drop into hot oil in pan large enough to fry 6-8 pieces. Fry until pieces rise, turn with tongs and fry until light brown. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with desired topping.  Courtesy of COOKS.COM
 
Additional details courtesy of: Wikipedia and personal experience.