Deep-fried candy, but in a good way.
There are times I want to say that I am so talented and prolific, all I need is a pen and paper and I can create art that is moving, entertaining and insightful. Then I remember that the name of my particular muse is χαζή τύχηm, which is Greek for “dumb luck”, and my delusions of grandeur just fly right out the window. Case in point: this is another recipe idea I got from my inability to type. While chatting online with a friend while we were talking about Chinese food, I meant to type “eggrolls” but instead typed “eggrolos”.
And thus, a new creation was born.
For those of you who don’t know about Rolos (meaning that your childhood was a loveless pit of despair and lamentation), they are a simple candy of milk-chocolate coated caramels. They were sweet, every so chewy, and came wrapped in gold-colored foil, encased in a paper tube.
Deep-fried Rolos are not a new invention (as people who attended the 2011 Arkansas State Fair can attest to), but to put it in the form of an eggroll helps to subtract the American tradition of frying every food beyond recognition, and add a little international flare to the dish. And because a mentor of mine once said, “Nic, the ONE time you DON’T half-ass a job is when you’re just fucking around”, I couldn’t simply take Rolos, wrap them in eggroll wrappers, and then cook the suckers. No, I had to make the caramel and the chocolate myself, and then get to frying.
This dish was daunting and intimidating once all the ingredients were laid out before me. But because you can never learn to fly without jumping off of a cliff, there’s no other option but to dive in head first and hope you sprout wings before you fall to your death.
– 14 ½ oz. Sugar
– ½ cup of Water
– ½ cup Light Corn Syrup
– ¼ tsp. of Cream of Tartar
– 1 ¾ cups of Heavy Cream (room temperature)
– 2 tsp. of Soy Sauce
– 10 tbsp. of Unsalted Butter (room temperature)
– 1 tsp. Sea Salt
– 8 oz. of Milk Chocolate Morsels
– Vegetable Oil
– Eggroll Wrappers (So I didn’t make everything from scratch; I’m an artist, not Chef Chu from Eat Drink Man Woman.)
– Confectioners Sugar
This recipe scared me half to death. Melting sugar is always very scary to me as it is the culinary version of napalm, and things can go from okay to horrible in a matter of moments. As a cook, I’m a guy who flies by the seat of his pants most of the time, not knowing what the final dish is going to be until I put it on my plate and eat it. Candy is more of an exact science: keep the mixture at 233° for 32.12289984 minutes, and then turn the heat up to 450° for 4 seconds, and then add salt, then take it out, then add hard water, then document the results and publish them in an accredited scientific journal. All of these strict guidelines can be frightening to a new candy-cooker, but there is also comfort in them as you don’t have to think about anything. Just follow the directions to the letter, and you’ll be okay.
- The recipe I used for the caramels was Alton Brown’s (my cooking idol), and can be found here. I’m not going to go through the exacts of the recipe because I didn’t get it quite right the few times I’ve tried it. The first time I attempted it, the candy came out more like brittle, which would not be a pleasant experience when biting into a hot fried tube of sugar. The second time, I ended up with something that was the consistency of the caramel that is swirled into the ice cream cartons that you buy at the grocery store, which works better with the EggRolo recipe, but isn’t what the recipes says it should be. I’ll keep trying to perfect it in the future but I started to get diabetes from eating all the failed efforts, so I just went with the swirly-saucy caramel.
- Make a ganache for the chocolate portion. Ganache is an icing or glaze that is made with chocolate and cream. Heat ¾ cup of heavy cream. Put your chocolate in a bowl. When the cream is ready, pour it over the chocolate and let it sit for two minutes. Stir the chocolate and cream until fully mixed, and then add 2 tbsp. of butter. Mix until fully incorporated and then set aside to cool.
- I used dark chocolate to make my ganache because I prefer it, but a milk chocolate ganache would be truer to the Rolo concept, as well as taste more like it. Also, you run the risk of the dark chocolate overpowering the caramel.
- Prepare a eggrolo-rolling station, which should include your caramel, your chocolate ganache, eggroll wrappers, and a small bowl of cold water to dip you fingers in.
- The size of your eggrolos depends on your personal preference. I tried both traditional eggroll wrappers and then smaller potsticker wrappers as well. The eggroll wrappers will create a normal looking eggroll, which would be good for a dessert in a coursed-meal. The smaller wrappers created tiny eggrolos about an inch in length, which would be ideal for snack food for kids or in a big bowl at a party.
- The key to filling eggrolls (or any stuffed pastry/pasta) is to use a lot less than you feel you should. Start by putting down a small, thin layer of ganache –
- – and then a thicker portion of caramel –
- Then you flip the corner over once then fold in the sides. At this point, you want to wet your fingers and rub the edges of the wrappers. This will make sure that you get a full seal on your eggrolos so that nothing seeps out when you start frying. Gently press out all air pockets, and finish rolling the eggrolo, making sure to seal every edge. Set on a plate.
- Once you’ve prepped the amount of eggrolos you want (I only did four big eggrolos and four little rolos, but I think this recipe could yield 64 eggrolos, easily), refrigerate the eggrolos for at least an hour.
- The point of chilling the rolos for so long before cooking is to make sure that the intense heat of frying melts the inner ingredients rather than burning them.
- Fill a pot with the oil and start to heat to 350° (get yourself one of them fancy candy thermometers).
- Once your eggrolos are chilled and your oil is ready, put two to four eggrolos in the oil (depending on the size of your pot and the size of your eggrolos). Since we don’t need to worry about the contents of the eggrolos cooking, once they turn a golden brown, take the eggrolos out and set them to drain.
- You will want to serve these pretty quickly, so that the outside is really crispy and the inside all melty and gooey. If you wait too long, the crunch will be gone and the effect ruined.
- Dust with confectioners sugar, and then serve.
The final product came out pretty much like I expected, but the reality of it had much more impact than I had imagined; hot, crispy and crunchy lightness on the outside; warm, gooey and sweet decadence on the inside. Serve with some small scoops of vanilla ice cream, or if you are brave, try dipping them into soy sauce which will add some saltiness to the party, making the flavors more complex. Either way, your diners are in for a pleasant surprise.