Earlier in the year, we stumbled on the Baker’s Corner Funnel Cake Pitcher and Mix and decided to try it out. (We liked it.) Then, a few months later, we came upon this little surprise in the Special Buy section:
How could we not try this?
First, for the uninitiated: elephant ears are a distant dessert cousin to funnel cakes. Like funnel cakes, they’re made of dough, dropped into oil to cook, then given a sweet dusting. There are differences in preparation, texture, and, to a degree, taste, and the two have differing levels of popularity in different parts of the United States.
Baker’s Corner Elephant Ear Mix comes with elephant ear mix, a yeast packet, and a packet of cinnamon sugar. According to the box, you’ll also need: 3/4 cup of warm water, a large bowl, a rolling pin, parchment paper, vegetable oil, a 3″ deep frying pan, and metal tongs.
When we made the funnel cake mix, it was pretty simple — mostly a matter of mixing ingredients, then pouring them into 350 degree oil. The elephant ear mix is messier, longer, and more complicated. The first step involves dissolving the yeast in the water, followed by mixing the yeast and water into the mix, followed by kneading the dough into a smooth, wet mix. (For those unfamiliar with working with dough, a word of advice: put a little flour on your hands before working the dough. It’s sticky.)
Now, you have to cover the mix and wait for 30 minutes.
When the 30 minutes are up, the dough is to be portioned into 1-2 inch dough balls, then spread out on lightly floured parchment paper. (We didn’t have a rolling pin so we used floured hands.) From there, the mix is dropped in an oil-filled skillet at 375 degrees. We used a Dutch oven.
Dropping them in the oil is one of the more potentially dangerous parts of the job. One might be able to use a spatula dusted with flour, but we felt hands would be more precise for dropping them in. For this step we strongly advise 1) again dusting your hands with flour and 2) pulling your hands back from the oil as soon as you drop them to avoid being hit with hot oil.
From there, the elephant ears are cooked for 30-60 seconds on each side, then removed to be dusted with the cinnamon-sugar mix. We recommend putting them on a plate with a paper towel, in order to soak a bit of the oil out.
The box said it was good for a dozen elephant ears of six inches each. We ended up with seven, and not all of them were six inches. This may have been due in part to the fact that we didn’t roll them with a pin, but we also felt they were pretty thin on the parchment paper, so we’re not sure if there was any way to get more out of the mix. Given that we also came up short on the projected serving count for the Baker’s Corner Funnel Cakes, we’re not totally surprised, although the price on this is so good — $2.50, the same as the funnel cakes — that it’s not a huge deal.
As for the taste, they were pretty good. They had a nice blend of sweet with a bit of salty. Some of them were a bit tougher and less airy than others, though we wonder how much of that was user error in making them rather than flaws in the mix itself.
As one of the more unique offerings in the Aldi lineup, the Baker’s Choice Elephant Ear Mix isn’t a bad bet for fans of the carnival treat. Just be aware that they’re a bit more work than funnel cakes.
can you use the elephant ear mix to make funnel cakes
I have baked bread for many years, so I know about using yeast in baking and rising time. I followed the package instructions exactly and the result was NOT a dough consistency that you could pick up, much less roll out with a rolling pin. It was so fluid I had to ladle it into a funnel and make funnel cakes out of it. I won’t buy this again, but I suspect the 3/4 cup of water is way too much to get a dough mixture with the amount of dry ingredients in the package.
Janet: I replied to you a while back on Facebook but I realized I didn’t here. Under normal circumstances the answer should be no: the consistency of the elephant ear mix is too thick to pour as funnel cake mix. But obviously Susan had an instance where the mix was so liquid it wasn’t suitable for elephant ear mix.
Susan: I wonder what happened. Obviously you’re seasoned when it comes to working with breads and those instructions, so I’m going to assume user error is not the problem. Possibly a bad batch either of the ingredients or the yeast? I’d especially like to know if anyone else has experienced the same thing you did.
Is there Anything else that can be made with elephant ear mix?
hoping to find another use other than frying them.
I recently tried the Baker’s Corner Elephant Ears and was not happy with the product. I ended up throwing the mixture away. I followed the instructions exactly and the problem I had was waiting for the dough to rise. After 30 minutes, no size change to the dough. I waited another 30 minutes and still no change. The dough was super sticky and had a strange smell. I would not buy this product again and would be hesitant to buy other similar products from Aldis.
I made these yesterday and they were so good. Very easy to make, they just need to be eaten warm for best taste. Would buy them again in a heart beat. Nice quick snack when unexpected company comes.
Made these for the family tonight and they were great! They were easy to make, not sure why some people had trouble. I made the dough while cooking, then covered it for the required 30 minutes while we ate, after that put them in the oil for 30 seconds on each side. They tasted just like we were at the fair and the kids loved them!
Tried it, it was great
“Found” a box of these Elephant Ear mix from Aldi’s in my pantry. The expiration was a couple of months ago and I was worried that the yeast could have gone bad, but it was fine and rose within the 30 minutes.
Since the weather has been cold, I did turn on the oven for a few minutes and shut it off, to have a warmer place the dough’s 30 minute to rest/rise. I rolled and flattened some on the parchment paper like “elephant” ears and fried them; then got lazy and just rolled the rest into donut hole shapes/sizes and fried them. They taste like cinammon donuts and are great while fresh and warm.