Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Extra Credit Christmas Cookies: Rosettes

OK, good on ya, you’ve done your shopping and the cupboards are bulging. You’re already planning how to knock out those basic cookies, but now – now we get to think about trying something a little more challenging.

I will admit, this is not such a challenge to me. I grew up watching these made every year, it’s a Swedish thing. Now I make them every year, continuing the tradition. So I am going to share all the secrets with you, and you are going to do just fine.

First, a little theory. The rosettes I make every year use a sweet, lemon flavored mixture. Twice I have made savory timbales – you use a different batter. Those timbales are used to serve vegetables or something like lobster newburg when you have a lot of time and you want something to look very elegant, but the truth is, it’s a lot of work.

Meanwhile, rosette cookies for Christmas are also a lot of work, but you make a big batch at once, they last for up to six weeks in an airtight container, and they look very very cool and take up a lot of space on a cookie tray. And everyone thinks you are amazing, because they look so hard, but really, they’re not that hard.

Basic Rosette Lemon Batter

Beat 2 eggs
add 1 cup milk

Sift 1 cup flour
with a pinch of salt
1 Tablespoon sugar

Add to above and mix all together. It should look like thick cream. Add:

2 teaspoons of lemon extract, stir in.

Then you let the batter stand at least an hour. I often make it the night before and let it stand in the refrigerator overnight, then pull it out when I get up so that it warms up to room temperature. If you don’t let it stand, it doesn’t blend the right way.

You can do this in a pan on the stove . . .I did it that way for many years. But there is this wonderful machine called a deep fryer . . . if you have one, you are home free. I use something called a Fry Daddy, which is just the right size.

You will need a LOT of oil. I use a very mild vegetable oil like safflower oil or corn oil, something that doesn’t have a strong flavor on its own.

Warm the oil to 375 F/180 C.

Put out several sheets of paper towel. When the hot rosette comes out of the oil, you will pry it off the mold with the tines of a fork and let it rest upside down on the papertowel to absorb any of the excess oil.

Have a fork handy.

Choose the rosette wheel you want to use – most kits come with two or three. The most classic is a wheel shaped, but I also use a star and occasionally have used a butterfly. The timbale shape is also wheel shaped, but without all the divisions. Attach the form you choose firmly to the iron.

Get a comfortable chair, and sit by the hot oil. Have your bowl of batter right next to you, and paper towels nearby. Please, this isn’t something to do with children around, not when you are working with 3 – 4 cups of sizzling oil.

Dip the rosette iron in the hot oil, maybe five seconds, so it gets hot. (A hot iron is the secret to being able to get the rosette off easily when it is finished cooking.) Pull it out, tap it against the side of the pan to knock off excess oil.

Dip it quickly into the batter, it will hiss as the hot oil hits the cooler batter. Hissing is good, it means the iron is hot enough.

But dip into the batter only up to the top edge, not over the top edge! If the batter goes over the top edge, you will not be able to get the rosette off when it finished cooking.

So now you have a hot iron with batter on it, just right.

Plunge it into the hot oil. It will really hiss and bubble, that is what it is supposed to do, that means it is cooking. It will only hiss and bubble for maybe 30 seconds, then the hissing and bubbling will slacken. Somewhere between 45 seconds and 1 minute, pull the rosette out and see if it looks crisp and golden. Turn it upside down, tap excess oil back into the hot oil.

Over the paper toweling, use your fork to gently pry the rosette away from the mold in a couple places, and using gentle pressure, push the rosette off the mold. Place it upside down on the toweling so that it drains. One down!

At first, take it one at a time until you feel comfortable that you’ve got the hang of it. Then – you can actually do two irons at once. You let one iron heat while you are cooking the other rosette, then switch back and forth.

From time to time, maybe every ten rosettes, stir the batter again, because it can get oily and needs to be stirred.

If you do this with a pan on the stove, it is harder to maintain a steady temperature, and you will need a hot oil thermometer to keep track of it. When the oil gets too cool, the rosettes turn out too light and too floppy. If they get overcooked, they get too brown and they are hard to get off the iron. The deep fat fryer is your best bet for maintaining an even temperature.

This is also something more fun to do with a sister or a friend. My Mother and her best friend did it every year together; it was their special tradition.

OK, when you are finished with all your rosettes, and they have cooled, store them in a large tupperware container, WITHOUT CROWDING. These are so fragile, and they break easily.

Sift Powdered Sugar over Rosettes

When you want to take a tray of rosettes somewhere, you need to sift powdered sugar over the top, with the empty side up (the way they were when they were cooking) so that the powdered sugar goes down into the crevasses.

Some people use a sifter, but my preference is to use a small basket seive/strainer with a handle, put powdered sugar in it and tap it on the side with a fork. It controls where the sugar falls a little better, and gives more control over how much sugar you put on each rosette. Put them on the platter empty side up, so that they look all snowy and sugary and crisp.

WARNING! Do not attempt to eat one of these wearing a black dress! They are crisp, and they crumble, and sometimes powdered sugar goes everywhere, and it is a (mess) to get off.

As the cook, you get to eat the mistakes as you go along. At the end, you won’t want to eat any more. They aren’t so sweet, but they are mostly FAT! You will get other recipes for rosettes with your iron.

Have fun.


I found this photo at About housewares and it is a good photo, but to my way of thinking, the rosettes are upside down. I serve them the other way.

2011 Update: I used a Fry Daddy this year and every single rosette turned out perfectly. šŸ™‚

November 30, 2006 - Posted by | Christmas, Cooking, ExPat Life, Friends & Friendship, Holiday, Recipes, Uncategorized


  1. I also turn them around and shake confectioner sugar on half and honey & crushed walnuts on the other half.

    Comment by Roberta | December 14, 2007 | Reply

  2. The honey doesn’t make them soggy? Sounds YUMMY, Roberta

    Comment by intlxpatr | December 15, 2007 | Reply

  3. A friend of mind has a rosette iron with a release button. The iron actually is an iron within an iron, and outer side slips off when you push the button. It is held by side springs on a wooden handle. It came from her Mother-in-law from Moorhead, MN. Have you ever seen one. It makes a deeper rosette, and no problem with them sticking or getting them off the iron. I would love to find one.

    Comment by Linda Karwath | December 16, 2007 | Reply

  4. I have NEVER seen such an iron! How inventive! There is a Minneapolis based catalog of cooking goods, whose name escapes me, and they would have it if anyone would. +checked+ It was Maid of Scandinavia, but now they are Sweet Celebrations. I couldn’t get detailed info, but here is a toll free number:

    I searched about an hour on Google, and I can’t find it! Fascinating, Linda, please let me know if you find one.

    Comment by intlxpatr | December 16, 2007 | Reply

  5. I have tried making these rosette. I have a kit with 6 irons. My problem is when I immerse the hot iron in the batter as I lift it out the batter falls off into the batter. Please help is my iron too hot or too cold. ( I have not invested in a thermometer). Can anyone tell me why they fall off the iron before I have a chance to drop them in the oil?

    Comment by Carol | December 17, 2008 | Reply

    • I find touching the bottom of the iron on a folded paper towel before dipping in the batter can help prevent this – if there is too much oil on the iron, the half-cooked rosette batter just slides right off. The iron may also not be hot enough.

      Comment by Kevin Donohue | December 24, 2014 | Reply

  6. I think your iron is not hot enough. If it is too hot, it gets immediately crispy on the iron.

    The temperature of the oil really has to be heated to a narrow range, like 370Ā° – 380Ā°. Some irons work better than others- the classic round one is the best one to learn with. Be sure the batter only comes up to the top and not over, be sure the oil in hot enough.

    Yep – time to invest in a thermometer. It is worth it, not wasting your time on rosettes that take forever (oil too cold) or that are crisped onto the iron (oil too hot) and have to be soaked off.

    Keep trying. I promise you, it will come, you will get it, and then you can do the timbales (little rosette crusts that you can serve things inside) and the fancier irons.

    Oh! If you see them on sale, one of the very best ways to keep the temperature steady is to buy a FryBaby or a FryDaddy. I only use mine once a year, but it is an amazing tool for helping make rosettes that turn out consistently every time. If you invest in one of these fry machines, you won’t need the thermometer.

    Comment by intlxpatr | December 17, 2008 | Reply

  7. […] I’ve been making rosettes for over 30 years now; I can’t remember a Christmas I haven’t made them. I’ve […]

    Pingback by Rosette Update « Here There and Everywhere | December 20, 2008 | Reply

  8. looks tasty!

    Comment by ::: ShoSho ::: | December 21, 2008 | Reply

  9. They are delicious, ShoSho – mostly because they are all fat and sugar! Very delicate, very special.

    Comment by intlxpatr | December 21, 2008 | Reply

  10. We mad these when my kids were young with a borrowed iron. Now we have 2 grand daughters and I got a good set of irons off of e-bay. Six irons and handles at half the cost of a new set with 3 or 4 irons. But i have always had a few problems. First when I place iron with batter on it in the oil the rosette comes off the iron and we turn it with a fork and then remove it with a fork. Second how do you keep them from getting soggy. HELP Thanks
    P.S. Wput a small amount of power sugar iceing over the rossette.

    Comment by Danny | March 1, 2009 | Reply

  11. Danny – that happens, the rosette coming off the iron, if the iron isn’t hot when you dip it into the batter.

    First, either you need a FryDaddy type fryer that controls the temperature, or you need to invest (they aren’t expensive) in a deep fat thermometer, so you can maintain your cooking temperature.

    Dip the iron in the hot oil, like 5 seconds. Take out, give a little shake to shake off the excess oil, then dip into batter and immediately back into the hot oil.

    Cook until it stops having lots of active bubbles.

    I also use powdered sugar, just shaken over the rosettes just before I serve them. I store them in a medium sized Tupperware container with a tight lid.

    Nice going – finding it on eBay! I’ll have to try that! šŸ™‚

    Comment by intlxpatr | March 2, 2009 | Reply

  12. I want to make these for Christmas – but the last time I made them and stored them in container with a lid, they ended up soggy. Is this because they should have cooled longer? How long should they cool before I store them? Thanks!

    Comment by Stacy | December 21, 2009 | Reply

  13. Stacy – They cool pretty quickly – like within minutes. They need to drain the excess oil, too, so be sure they are turned upside down, (open side down). I leave them out while I am cooking all the rosettes, and then by the time I am finished, they are ready to be put into the Tupperware.

    Your batter may have been a tiny bit thick, and when they are thicker, they stay less crisp. I don’t know about other containters, I am superstitious about using Tupperware, it really keeps them fresh and crisp.

    Comment by intlxpatr | December 21, 2009 | Reply

  14. […] are the hardest, the Rosettes, which you make one by one, standing over hot oil with a metal rod and form, but they are […]

    Pingback by Christmas Cookies – Check! « Here There and Everywhere | December 19, 2010 | Reply

  15. I made four batches today for my daughter’s wedding, which is in two weeks….to keep them that long, I am afraid that the tupperware will make them soggy!? I put them in bakery cake boxes….do you think that will work? Should I keep them at room temp or put them in the garage (could that be too damp this time of year)? I just want them to stay nice and crisp! Haven’t made them in many years!!

    Comment by Elaine | January 16, 2011 | Reply

  16. Elaine, I have kept them up to four weeks in Tupperware; I have some relatively large containers. Even in Pensacola, which has a damp climate, they stayed crisp, but I think keeping them in air-tight containers is a really good idea. If you are in a soggy area, the bakers boxes give them protection from breakage but not from the humidity. Good luck!

    Comment by intlxpatr | January 16, 2011 | Reply

  17. […] Mom’s Cranberry Salad Christmas Punch, Rum and Rumless Rosettes […]

    Pingback by Over the River and Through the Woods « Here There and Everywhere | November 22, 2011 | Reply

  18. I received my grandma’s rosette kit. I havent made them since before the internet…when I tried back then, the batter wouldnt stick to the iron. I obviously failed to heat up and blot the iron first. This time…since I can find so many recipes on the internet….I found that some were too soggy……what causes them to get soggy? Is it not hot enough???Do I not have them in long enough?

    Comment by lesely | December 20, 2011 | Reply

  19. I cant believe I mispelled my own name….the oil really got to me. As I was previously posted…some got too soggy…not light and crispy enough……I tried a slightly different recipe…I might try this one…..

    Comment by Lesley | December 20, 2011 | Reply

  20. Lesley, never even bother doing rosettes on a day with high humidity. And invest in a few tupperware or similar air-tight containers for the rosettes.

    Be sure the oil is hot enough, and dip the iron for ten seconds or so before dipping into the batter. The batter should HISS when the iron goes in.

    The oil should bubble extravagantly when the batter-lined rosette iron is plunged into the oil. Continue to hold under the oil until the batter ceases bubbling significantly, probably about 30 seconds. It seems like a long time, but thirty seconds isn’t that long šŸ™‚

    A floppy rosette is an undercooked rosette.

    If you have your grandmother’s rosette kit, you are one lucky woman. The old ones are the goodies. Yours is already tempered and ready to go. Honestly, go to a thrift shop or two and find a Fry Daddy; they hold the temperature perfectly.

    Good luck!

    Comment by intlxpatr | December 20, 2011 | Reply

  21. WOW!

    The look the same! I would love to get my hands on one of those forms; they are wonderful, so lacy! The batter looks to me like it may be savory – I saw some green flecks. I would love to know how they are served – as dessert? As appetizer?

    I had no idea! I am guessing this is something one of those early 10th century traders took back to Scandinavia from India, but who knew? Thank you, Onlooker, I have learned something today!

    Comment by intlxpatr | December 21, 2011 | Reply

  22. Where can u buy the irons to make those cookies ?

    Comment by Rachel | April 26, 2012 | Reply

  23. […] Rosettes – DONE. […]

    Pingback by Christmas Cookie Prep – Done! « Here There and Everywhere | December 13, 2012 | Reply

  24. finished rosettes but they are sooo soggy..think my Fry Daddy is dying, anyway I know I can crisp them in the oven BUT what temp & how long/ My Grandmother would have a fit if she knew I had to resort to that.

    Comment by Jane Manley | December 17, 2012 | Reply

  25. LOL! Jane, I’v never had to do that! I don’t know!

    Mine WERE crisp, but due to a damp and humid couple of days, have become less crisp – not quite soggy, but not feather light crisp. I think they absorb humidity from the air, so I keep ones I am not using right away in airtight Tupperware containers.

    Might want a new Fry Daddy šŸ™‚ And let them cook until the bubbles slow way down, so they are cooked all the way through, try that. Good luck!

    Comment by intlxpatr | December 17, 2012 | Reply

    • thanks for the suggestion..I’m thinking that the oil really didn’t get hot enuf,even tho it said. Last nite baked them all in a slow oven and crisped them up but they arn’t up to usual par–not going far enough to throw them out tho,not that foolish..thanks and Merry Christmas

      Comment by Jane Manley | December 18, 2012 | Reply

      • Yes, Jane, get the Fry Daddy. You can save a lot by finding a used one, it doesn’t have to be pretty, you will only use it once a year. These cookies are too time consuming; the Fry Daddy holds the temperature constant and every cookie turns out. Good luck! šŸ™‚

        Comment by intlxpatr | December 19, 2012

      • shall have to do that..before I forget until time to do them again next year..most irritating because I have made rosettes for 40 years without problems, guess it finally caught up with me. Merry Christmas

        Comment by Jane Manley | December 20, 2012

  26. Merry Christmas to you, Jane!

    Comment by intlxpatr | December 20, 2012 | Reply

  27. and a very Merry Christmas to you–oldest son, the rosette lover, says they are crisp but not as good as last year..oh well,there iss always next year with a NEW Fry Daddy–thanks for your help and Happy New Year

    Comment by Jane Manley | December 21, 2012 | Reply

  28. I just made a batch of rosettes and all of them (except maybe two or three) are kind of floppy, not crisp. I see from reading the comments that this means they weren’t cooked enough. I thought they were because they were the right colour. So if I put them in the oven to crisp up, what temperature should I use and for how long? Thanks!

    Comment by Elise | December 24, 2012 | Reply

  29. Elise, I would think maybe your oil wasn’t hot enough. It should be between 350 – 375; they crisp faster, you shouldn’t have to cook them too long, maybe 30 – 45 seconds. Second, maybe your batter was too thick? Did you make your batter and let it sit, at least two hours? It makes a difference. The batter should be like thick cream, no lumps, and should sizzle when you stick the hot iron in. For me, the biggest difference guaranteeing success has been having a deep fryer to maintain the right temperature.

    Comment by intlxpatr | December 25, 2012 | Reply

  30. I made some last year and stored them in plastic containers in the garage and they became soggy so I thought maybe they should be in cardboard boxes that breath but you say Tupperware. I’ll try them again this year because my grandaughter loves them. I made them at a friends house in the 1960’s and then when I was first married in the 70’s. I taught my mother-in-law how to make them and she became the expert. Now that she’s gone I have to fill the gap and I just haven’t been having good luck. She always kept them in a coat box and they were perfect. We’ll see what happens.

    Comment by Mary Jane | December 4, 2013 | Reply

    • I was going to make them this year for Thanksgiving, but it just kept raining! If it is raining, don’t make them, it is just too humid. I use a big ‘cake-taker’ Mary Jane, but also a tin with a tight lid works well, too. Making them on a day with low humidity works best. I’m making mind this coming weekend šŸ™‚

      Comment by intlxpatr | December 5, 2013 | Reply

  31. I am bound and determined to make a great rosette, sounds like I’m in good company! I purchase them from a bakery in Schulenberg, TX but the bakery admits they buy them elsewhere so they weren’t able to help me with the recipe or techniques. Theirs are crisp, huge, ‘upside down side’ dipped in icing made from powdered sugar & milk (I assume). So not dry powdered sugar but the wet icing kind. So at home I used the Basic recipe that came with the rosette irons – then dipped the underside edge in icing made of powdered sugar & milk. They taste pretty good, not as good as the bought ones but it’s a work in progress. I used shortening to fry them in. They were very crispy and light and perfect after frying. I let them cool and dipped slightly in to the powdered sugar / milk wet icing. Dried them again, they were still perfectly crisp. Stored in a genuine Tupperware container overnight, now they are all soggy. I’m so sad! All that work! I was going to submit to family reunion silent auction but not anymore. You promise Tupperware will keep UN-iced rosettes nice and crisp? Once I get the gumption to try again, I will try that. Also, I need to try the safflower oil and corn oil, even the shortening has a bit of an oily taste. The storebought ones don’t taste like oil at all, darn it! Thanks for any advice on these items!

    Comment by Karen S. | June 23, 2015 | Reply

    • oh and I also need to try peanut oil- trying to find an oil that doesn’t make them taste oily haha.

      The storebought ones i have stay crisp for weeks, in a simple plastic container with screw-on lid. At the bakery they’re in a glass jar with metal lid, AND they’re iced with the powdered sugar/milk wet icing so I don’t know why mine turned soggy after being so crisp before storing only 1 night.

      I will also try the suggestion of letting a layered pan of cooked rosettes sit in a 200 degree oven for a while before cooling (again) and storing. Any tips along these lines are much appreciated!

      Comment by Karen S. | June 23, 2015 | Reply

    • wow I don’t know how a frosted rosette can stay crisp..I have decided that a lot of ours is luck of the northwest and no humidity. I don’t remember my Swedish Grandma having any problems so why do I “sometimes”..daughter in Ca. also has problems and we finally decided some of her problem was not hot enough “fry baby” and things were better. I store mine in a tight “Charlie Chip” can and tthat helps alot. Today is 98 here so here I am gladly thinking about chill of Christmas..Good luck

      Comment by Jane Manley | June 23, 2015 | Reply

    • Karen, I have never frosted my rosettes! I’ve never even seen a frosted rosette! If I were to make a frosted rosette, I think I would leave it out drying overnight, as we do with glazed sugar cookies. You want the icing to be thin and hard, with no moisture before you put them in an air-tight container. My glazed sugar cookies remain crisp, but thorough drying is critical.

      There are so many random variables. Jane is right, a Fry Baby/Daddy really helps maintain the right temperature. I always use corn oil and shake the excess out before removing from hot iron. I store in Tupperware, but I have also stored in old coffee cans with tight lids in a pinch. The ones I store in Tupperware can stay crisp for a couple weeks šŸ™‚

      Good luck with the frosting. It has no place in my tradition, so that is a battle I will leave to you! Bon courage!

      Comment by intlxpatr | June 24, 2015 | Reply

  32. Thank you both for your replies! I will purchase a Fry Daddy, and I look forward to having room to do more than 1 at a time that way. I stayed at 365-370 degrees F. I think you’re right, it’s the frosting that brought in the moisture. I tried a tip someone listed either here or on a different site: heat oven to 200 degrees F (I have a gas oven). Layer the finished rosettes in a cake pan and set them in the oven. Wait 5 minutes, turn oven OFF. Don’t open the oven, leave them alone overnight. 12 hours later I removed them and voila! The rosettes are ultra crisp and even stayed crisp in a glass jar w/ metal lid with a paper lid-liner overnight the 2nd night. So happy!! The frosting didn’t melt at all, it only looks dried out a bit but since the icings are bright colors they still look cute in the jar. And they taste fantastic and are crisp as all get out šŸ˜‰ Heart, butterfly, flower, and circle shapes- pink, blue, green, and yellow. I’m able to put these in the family reunion silent auction after all, they’ve been resurrected, thanks for all your advice!! Now I can finally make these anytime I wish, without the fear of disappointment! I will try the peanut and corn oils too since I bought them, haven’t tried them yet.

    Comment by Karen S. | June 25, 2015 | Reply

  33. Old thread but thought I’d share my experiences because I have such happy memories of making dozens and dozens of these every year with my dad before Christmas and giving them to so many friends. We stored them stacked in brown paper grocery bags – you can sneak one over the top as a cover. They stayed crisp for a couple of weeks this way. We also would wait to sugar them until they were going to be eaten or given as gifts otherwise moisture makes the sugar gooey and the cookie soft. Hope this helps some of you. šŸ™‚

    Comment by Vaughn | December 23, 2016 | Reply

  34. LOL, old thread it may be, but it lives on and on šŸ™‚ I am so glad it touched off happy memories for you. I still do them every year, and I do the same thing you do with the powdered sugar – sift it on just before giving or eating. You are right, it disappears or gets gummy otherwise. They are such a wonderful treat!

    Comment by intlxpatr | December 23, 2016 | Reply

  35. I have powdered rossete how and i use them a week later

    Comment by Cathi | November 4, 2017 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: