Is there anything more Canadian than eating a Beavertail during Winterlude on the slick icy surface of the Rideau Canal? Now, if you’re pretty much any other Canadian out there, you’d probably also have a pair of skates on as your turn triple axles on the frozen river but I am a rather blasphemous countryman as I never learned how to skate.
So, for me, Beavertails still call to mind our nation’s capital but instead of slipping around on the Canal, you’ll find me nibbling away on this wonderful confection as I meander through the Byward Market or dancing terribly at one of Ottawa’s many music festivals.
Here’s my take on the classic. I've dubbed mine Canoe Paddles, a name drawn up by my husband after he had scarfed down about seven.
If you’re like me, nothing beats fried dough with cinnamon sugar and a squidge of lemon but feel free to slather on chocolate hazelnut spread, ice cream, strawberry jam, or whatever else you can think of!
¼ cup warm water
1 tablespoon instant yeast
½ teaspoon + ¼ cup sugar, divided
2 ¼ - 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
Cinnamon Sugar (1 cup sugar + 1 tablespoon cinnamon)
Chocolate hazelnut spread
In a small bowl, whisk together the water, yeast, and ½ teaspoon of sugar and set aside to bloom.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the 2 1/4 cups flour, salt, and remaining ¼ cup of sugar. Make a well in the centre and set aside.
In another small bowl, beat the buttermilk with the egg and vanilla.
Pour the yeast and buttermilk mixtures into the well of the dry ingredients and stir until a shaggy dough forms. If using your hands, turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead, adding additional 1/4 cup of flour if needed, for about 8 minutes or until the dough is soft and no longer sticky. If using a stand mixer, attach the dough hook and knead for around 6 minutes. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and allow it to rise for 40 minutes.
Punch the dough down and divide into 16 golf ball sized portions. Flatten each into an oval that is around ½” thick and place on a baking sheet while you preheat 4” of oil to 385F in the bottom of a large heavy bottomed pot.
When your oil is up to temperature, stretch an oval into a thin canoe paddle shape (the edges will be a bit thicker than the middle) and carefully place into the oil. If you're looking for a little extra info on shaping these tasty treats, check out my segment on Your Morning for Canada 150!
Stretch and fry about 3 pieces of dough at a time and fry, flipping halfway through, until both sides are golden. Remove the canoe paddles from the oil onto paper towel then, while still warm, toss in cinnamon sugar if desired. For my favourite, I add a squidge of lemon to the cinnamon sugar coated canoe paddles just prior to eating.
If you want to top your canoe paddle with chocolate hazelnut spread, feel free to leave them plain and top just before serving.