20 September 2008

Can Elephant Ears do Upscale? Remembering the Circus.

One of the highlights of my childhood was getting to ride on a huge pachyderm, a.k.a elephant. For my cousins and I, the circus was a frequent part of our childhood. On this occasion, the circus made it's home in the dusty dirt floored arena of a historic fairgrounds, whose fairway had seen many, many generations of eager carnival, concert or rodeo goers. The concessions had a looming presence between the main arena and the white washed wood, gray roofed exhibition out buildings who had welcomed 4-H livestock, various crafts and the eleclectic mix of gawkers whose ages were of a varied range.

This was all surrounded by a scenery of ancient Maple, Oak and Locust trees - whose gnarled appearances of lacy leafy canopies gave shade on the hot sultry summer nights and perfumed the air with an earthy sweetness, when these events were usually scheduled. A once proud chained link fence, now disheveled kept watch over the whole property, only the ticket booths and metal arms of the floor to head height turnstile gates allowed slowly for the pandemonium to spill outward and overflow into the street.

The circus was an adventure for my cousins and I, we delighted at the splendor and surprise of all that the circus offered. From the sugary sweet aroma of cotton candy and caramel corn and of course elephant ears, to the buttery unmistakable popcorn aroma and roasted peanuts that permeated the whole grounds.

Concession Stand for Elephant Ears - fried disc of dough, rolled in cinnamon sugar.
Parking Lot Entertainment By M.Markus
To the magic feeling of the performers and smells and sounds of the trained animals. Through our child eyes, these routines did not seem rehearsed, they seemed as though they had been played out especially for us.

The circus has the power to touch a special part in all of us - to harness the child-like wonder and air of magic, as adults, we wished existed.

I think out of all the circus and carnival concessions, elephant ears might be my favorite. The kid in me loves all of there soft, warm and cinnamon-sugar goodness.
Elephant Ear - fried disc of dough, rolled in cinnamon sugar.
Elephant Ear By {ErinKphoto} aka redcargurl
The baker in me knows their is a more upscale, adult version. The Crispy. Crispies use puff dough as a base. You can find a formula for puff dough here in my previous post Formula: Scratch Italian Puff Pastry

Formula for Cinnamon Sugar (home use version) [commercial version should be increased by 8 times]
  • 26 oz all purpose sugar
  • 2 2/3 oz. cinnamon
  • 1 oz. vegetable oil

Mix together cinnamon and sugar first with paddle attachment in kitchen aide (for commercial version use 20 QT), then add oil .

You can store this in an air tight container for future use with breads, cinnamon rolls etc.

Procedure For Making Crispies:

Roll out or sheet puff dough to 5 cm (you can use a yard stick to measure the dough thickness if rolling it out by hand).

You will need to have a dough width of 20 inches. (remember to roll out your dough a few inches wider , then using your hands push the sides in to get the 20 inches width on your yard stick. This is called "shrinking" which promises that your crispies will stay the size you originally made them and not shrink during bake off).

Egg wash (1 egg beaten), the dough rectangle. Spread the cinnamon sugar over the egg washed dough, leaving 1/2 inch uncovered for seem allowance.

Starting at the top of your dough triangles left side, tuck your first 4 fingers of each hand under the edge of the dough - keep your thumbs free, and start by tucking the edge under using the heal of your hand and thumbs until you have spanned the length of your rectangle to the right. Keep repeating until you have tucked all of your dough, creating a tight roll. (it is very important not to press the layers of puff dough to tightly, as this will effect the integrity of the puff dough it's self.)

Once you have a roll, slowly pull the length of the roll so that it is of a uniform length and width. Using a sharp chef knife cut in increments of 1 inch wide pieces using a rocking motion when cutting each piece - you may need to hold each piece while cutting - be careful in the position of your knife blade.

When you have cut all your pieces, using all purpose sugar, spread it out all over your work surface to form a thin layer. Place each piece spiral facing up and roll with rolling pin until paper thin and semi circular. Place crispies on a parchment covered sheet pan, in groups of six (arranged 2 by 2 by 2). Continue adding new parchment onto the finishes sets of six until your pieces are all done.

You can then bake off each parchment sheet containing six crispies until crisp and golden at 375 F °ree; The unfinished crispies can be refrigerated if encased in a plastic bag, knotted tightly (airtight), to bake off later.

These are a very crispy and sticky sweet version of the elephant ear. They make great garnish for custards or cheesecake - break into pieces and arrange by gently pushing into the center of each dessert portion.

Now back to the topic of circuses, I know there is a circus tour starting soon. Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus have tour dates planned for all over the East Coast and South East corner of the US. There is one Stop in California on the West Coast. You can click on the picture below to see the tour stops below on the map.

To Get more info visit http://www.ringling.com/, where you can purchase tickets or view other fun things.



6:22 AM, September 23, 2008 Reply  

I've always loved circuses. Not only for their shows, but mostly because of that feeling they brought with them, it was always like a festivity day. And of course food! All types of candies, popcorn, elephant ears and many other tasty delicacies that I hardly remember now.

10:41 AM, September 23, 2008 Reply  

Nearly each week look in I here and read with large interest the interesting and always well written contributions. Today I would like to leave gladly to a greeting from Thuringia in Germany!

1:58 PM, September 23, 2008 Reply  

Wow, you give excellent descriptive details.

11:46 PM, September 23, 2008 Reply  

I love breads with cinnamon, the sweet smell and the unexplainable taste of a cinnamon makes me crave for it often and thanks for posting the recipe for home version cinnamon sugar. It helps a lot, I can’t wait to make my own and by that time I can eat cinnamon rolls anytime of the day. This blog is helpful and very interesting plus it's very informative.


12:52 AM, September 25, 2008 Reply  

I love breads with cinnamon, the sweet smell and the unexplainable taste of a cinnamon makes me crave for it often and thanks for posting the recipe for home version cinnamon sugar.

8:33 AM, September 26, 2008 Reply  

Nice post
its very details :)

7:52 AM, September 30, 2008 Reply  

i just came back running as fast i could from a local circus. in the circus, an elephant was to perform some tricks to entertain the crowd. as soon as the handler hit the whip to the ground to signal the elephant to dance, the elephant instead grabbed his handler by the trunk and threw him with such force that the handler was tossed at least 60 to 70 feet away. unfortunately the handler couldn't make it.

1:14 PM, September 30, 2008 Reply  

Hello, honestly, I love the smell of cinnamon. Though most of my friends never liked cinnamon buns, I often buy because I love it.

As for the elephants, I never tried riding them. Lucky you, for you had already.

10:37 PM, September 30, 2008 Reply  

Nice Post.

2:47 AM, October 01, 2008 Reply  

I've never had a chance to ride an elephant :( but it must be very exciting for kid to try that :)

10:57 AM, October 01, 2008 Reply  

Lol...once when i visited to a national park from school...i got a chance to ride an elephant...I enjoyed the ride a lot..

11:24 AM, October 01, 2008 Reply  

I rode an elephant last year in Thailand. I thought that the elephant ears I got at the state fair were big, but a real elephant's ear is like 4 feet tall.

12:19 PM, October 01, 2008 Reply  

Not only have I never heard of or eaten elephant ears, I have never been to the circus! I'm going to check the map to see when the circus is coming to New Orleans... it's sad, isn't it?

2:32 PM, October 01, 2008 Reply  

Yeah i did hear about this elephant ear thingy long time back when circus was common in our city. But then a check was done by the government on such activities. Don't know if this still exists.

2:55 PM, October 05, 2008 Reply  

w0w is very Nice :)

9:10 PM, October 05, 2008 Reply  

I'm a lucky guy! I have rode an elephant once in my lyfe....it was a incredible feeling... :)

3:14 AM, October 06, 2008 Reply  

I have been to the circus, but this is the first time I've been heard of eating elephant ears.

5:11 AM, October 06, 2008 Reply  

I never heard of the elephant ears. I have asked my mom and she is saying that she got the recipe it would be good and she will make it for me. And not only this, she is happy with me as I make her learn new recipes now;)

11:33 AM, October 06, 2008 Reply  

great article, enjoyed reading this, id love to have the chance to ride on an elephant

5:18 PM, November 15, 2008 Reply  

I like the recipe of the crispies. Thank you so much!!

9:01 PM, December 20, 2008 Reply  

Elephant ears are one of my favorite snacks at a circus, carnival, or fair. During the Puyallup fair here in washington every year I always grab an elephant ear while Im there. They make them great.

3:29 PM, January 27, 2009 Reply  

This blog brings back to my mind some of the circuses I have seen in my childhood.

2:20 PM, March 06, 2009 Reply  

Thank you for this pleasant reminder of my younger years. Our town is famous for hosting the County Fair and all of the delicious goodies within. Great post.

2:50 AM, May 01, 2009 Reply  

Not the healthiest reciepe, but very, very nice!

1:30 PM, June 26, 2009 Reply  

I like go to circus too,
nice recipe... :)

2:20 PM, September 26, 2009 Reply  

Elephant ears will take year off your life but make you feed like a teenager again I love county fairs.

2:42 AM, December 07, 2009 Reply  

Loved the recipes. Works best with kids. I'm trying it out this coming weekend.

2:55 PM, December 09, 2009 Reply  

Love the recipe

2:53 AM, January 22, 2010 Reply  

I must say it's a great recipe. Thanks!

1:51 AM, February 06, 2010 Reply  

Elephants are most brave living organisms... So some thing of their ears...May be chances...They remember a lot of things..So it will be in the same category..

11:17 PM, March 15, 2010 Reply  

One of my great memories as a chils was going to Billy Smart's circus. I enjoyed the animals but nowadays they aren't allowed to have them so not so great for my kids.

1:03 AM, April 16, 2010 Reply  

Is Elephant Ears something to eat...sorry I haven't heard about it...Thanks for the information and recipe

11:47 PM, April 20, 2010 Reply  

Thanks for the informative post :) Waiting for healthy dessert recipes. Do post some desserts recipes for me. Thanks again.

8:49 AM, May 26, 2010 Reply  


All the children loves to see an Elephant.That too elephant ride will be thrilling and exciting because of it's height.

7:48 AM, June 05, 2010 Reply  

Is Elephant Ears something to eat...sorry I haven't heard about it...Thanks for the information and recipe

4:42 AM, June 15, 2010 Reply  

Great explanations. I enjoyed reading it. Thanks for sharing a nice info.

4:37 AM, June 24, 2010 Reply  

These are just great recipe. I like all of them. Thanks for sharing such a yummy recipe.

4:00 PM, July 30, 2010 Reply  

What I love about circus are the trapeze, tightrope walkers, and the jugglers. They are quite entertaining and it really amazes me while they are on the air. But then, I don't know something about the elephant ears until I found your site. Maybe I'll try your recipe for this to see it for myself.

7:22 AM, August 07, 2010 Reply  

Crispies sound delicious! I only experimented with puff pastry when making sour versions of it only: with mushrooms and onion, or ham, cheese and tomato sauce. I actually love cinnamon so I will be definitely trying out your recipe. Thanks!


12:28 AM, April 08, 2011 Reply  

Nice Post. Thanks for sharing this information.

8:54 PM, August 25, 2011 Reply  

nice blog ... thanks for sharing !!

4:31 AM, September 14, 2011 Reply  

nice and interesting post thanks for sharing !!

12:27 PM, November 17, 2011 Reply  

Circus are best source of enjoyment with family. My best and favorite par are the cotton candy contest. At night the lights and excitement by people make you laugh.

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