Contrary to popular opinion, I am a huge fan of onions. I will eat them plain, pickled, sauteed, caramelized, and the list can go on and on. One of my favorite ways to eat them actually originated at Outback steakhouse, and it's called The Bloomin' Onion, sliced to resemble a blossoming flower and then deep fried to perfection. If you ever desire to create this majestic appetizer in the comfort of your home kitchen, that's where the Cook's Choice The Original Onion Blossom Maker Plus Breader Bowl comes in. I had the unique experience of testing this blooming onion cutter out myself, and here's how it went down.
I Tried A Gadget That Promised It Could Make the Easiest Bloomin' Onion
The Original Onion Blossom Maker Plus Breader Bowl includes an onion slicing guide, an onion corer, plus a breader bowl with a grated insert that you can use to coat your onion in batter and shake before you fry it.
What's an Onion Blossom Without the Sauce?
I made a sauce with mayonnaise, creamy prepared horseradish, ketchup, salt, and Old Bay seasoning. To batter the onion, I chose to go with a double breading method. The dry mix consisted of flour, salt, and Italian seasoning. For my wet mix, I whisked together one egg plus one cup of milk. I used almond milk due to lactose intolerance (boooo), but barring any dietary sensitivities, I highly suggest using dairy milk.
I then dropped the onion in the slicing guide, a round tool with slots along the side for the knife to make cuts. It has 16 slots for 8 cuts. My onion was larger than the guide, so I removed the outer layers of the unpeeled onion to make it fit. Wasting perfectly good onion made me feel uneasy, but I did what was necessary for the name of science. I botched the first onion, but luckily, my cutting improved on the second try.
The onion slicing guide was to be the most useful component of the Onion Blossom Maker because not only does it hold the onion steady while you cut, but the ledge at the bottom prevents the knife from slicing completely through, keeping the onion intact for the blossom.
This next step isn't strictly necessary, but I submerged the onion in simmering water for about 2 minutes to help onion petals bloom. After draining the onion, it was time to finally use the breader bowl. With the seasoned flour at the bottom of the bowl, the onion goes on the grated insert. Place the top back on the bowl, shake shake shake it, and the seasoned flour coats the onion.
This is supposed to make for a no-mess breading experience, but I quickly realized that since I needed to remove the onion, coat it in the egg mixture, and then place the onion back into the breader bowl, this may have made the no-mess feature a moot point. Did I think the breader bowl was a vast improvement over a normal two bowl breading system? It was very hard to tell. At this point, I also realized that I simmered my onion for too long because those petals were really blossoming at this point. The outer layer was threatening to go AWOL, but after losing a few soldiers (RIP), I was able to mostly keep it intact.
Alert: a very poor decision approaches! Because I wanted to be hip and healthy, I decided to air fry my first ever Onion Blossom. It resulted in a half-cooked monstrosity of browned outer layers and a mess of soggy onion and raw batter on the inside. Not cool, kids. Still feeling the need to see it though, I tested the onion corer, and it actually worked pretty well, creating a nice space in the middle for sauce.
Not satisfied with this failed attempt at an Original Onion Blossom, I did all this again a couple days later with the intention of cooking this thing the right way--with lots of and lots of oil.
Folks, I am a lover, not a deep fryer. Even after using a thermometer to temp the oil at 375°F, this second onion burned on the outside. The simmering trick to open the onion had been less successful, so the outside burned to a crisp, but it was actually well cooked on the inside, if you wanted a steamed batterless onion. Needless to say, this was not a shining culinary moment for me.
In good faith, Can I Recommend This Blooming Onion Cutter?
Cook's Choice's The Onion Blossom Maker Plus Breader Bowl promises "perfect homemade onion blossoms in minutes," but I want to push back on that. Technically, any recipe is completed in minutes, and this one definitely took more than a few. I also didn't like how wasteful it was. I used three onions testing this product, and I probably threw away an entire onion's worth of layers in order to make them fit the slicing guide. I used nearly 2 quarts of oil to poorly fry a single onion. The breader bowl is nice to have, but you'd be better off getting down and dirty with your hands to have more control over the breading process.
Before you think about buying this product, try checking the price of a Bloomin' Onion from your local Outback Steakhouse. In my case, its $8.99. This blooming onion cutter is $15.12 on Amazon. Save yourself the trouble, and just go Outback tonight. Leave your server a wonderful tip because they more than deserve it, enjoy a Bloomin' onion the way the universe intended, and go home to a clean kitchen.