Fabulous Funnel Cakes

Yum

 I don’t know about you, but every year at the County Fair, I look forward to one food more than any of the others.  Yes.  I walk past all the tempting candy apples and sausage sandwiches . . . and I go straight to my true love . . . the funnel cakes.
Believe it or not, Funnel cakes originated in Pennsylvania.  Hey!  I grew up there!  I knew good things came from good ‘ole PA.
But wherever you’re from, you can enjoy this treat, too.  This year, I wasn’t able to go to the fair.  And my taste buds practically staged a revolt.  So I’m treating them to this “make at home” version.  And you know?  I think they taste just like the real thing!
But don’t take my word for it.  Make these, yourself, and tell me what you think!
What are we waiting for?  Let’s do this!


Fabulous Funnel Cakes


Ingredients:


3/4 cup all purpose flour (and possibly 1/4 cup more, depending on batter thickness)
1 heaping tablespoon white sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1 egg
2/3 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Directions: In a small bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Add beaten egg, milk, and vanilla all at once to dry ingredients.  Whisk to combine.  Add in extra 1/4 cup flour if your batter seems runny.  It should be fairly thick but drop in a ribbon/line from your whisk when you lift whisk out of the batter.  Drizzle batter in hot oil and allow cake to brown on edges before turning and allowing to finish frying.  Serve immediately with powdered sugar.


Now, in pictures!

Begin by whisking together your dry ingredients.  Well . . . I should say, BEGIN by getting your oil heating.  You want the oil to be about 325 degrees, if you’re using a candy thermometer, and hot enough to “shimmer” and sizzle when a drop of batter is dropped in, if you don’t have a candy thermometer (as I do not).  Cast iron pans are the best for frying, as they keep the heat super consistent.  But if you have regular pans, they will work fine, too– just keep an eye on them and make sure that your oil doesn’t get too hot, or you will burn the funnel cakes.
And funnel cakes look very poor with a deep tan.  They don’t use sunscreen, you know.  Tsk, tsk.
Whisk together your egg, milk, and vanilla, and add all at once to your dry ingredients.  Mmm.  We have the beginnings of greatness here, folks.
Mix everything well, and then, if your batter seems very runny, add in the extra 1/4 cup of flour. Sometimes you may not need to add the extra flour, as your eggs may be smaller than mine were, or it might be a hot day in which your batter needs a touch more liquid.  But if the batter seems super liquidy and runny, go ahead and add that extra 1/4 cup flour.
The way to tell if your batter is right is when it kind of “ribbons” or drips in one, thick, continuous drizzle into the bowl when you lift out the whisk.  When your batter looks like this, it’s ready.
Now, let’s talk frying.  The absolute best, no contest, no-holds-barred pan to use when frying anything is a cast iron pan.  My favorite is the Cadillac of Cast Iron– Le Creuest, here.  It will seriously change your frying game– no more soggy, heavy donuts or fried chicken.  Get your oil heating in there on medium low heat– the cast iron holds the heat so well that you seldom need to turn it above this heat.  When your oil is hot enough (shoot for shimmering but not smoking), go ahead and drizzle your batter into the pan in a somewhat round shape.  Or, hey . . . you can make any shape you want.  Want a funnel cake in the shape of your name?  Give it a try.  Have contests with your kids trying to guess the shapes.  It’s your rodeo, Cowboy.
The easiest way to do this drizzling is to place your batter into a Ziploc bag and cut a small corner off so you have a makeshift piping bag.  I used the larger piping bag I used for the French Macarons, since I happened to have it, and it worked perfectly, if you have one of those.  You can also drizzle the batter with a spoon, but it’s pretty messy, so I’d recommend the Ziploc bag, for sure, if you don’t have a piping bag.
When the batter is just starting to get brown around the edges, go ahead and flip it over, with a pair of cooking tongs.
Mmmm.  Halfway to paradise.
Let the other side finish cooking.  It doesn’t take long . . . maybe 2-3 minutes per side, depending on how large and thick your funnel cakes are.  The thicker funnel cakes take longer to cook throughout, so just make sure that you are watching the edges so your cake doesn’t get too brown.
No sunscreen, remember?
Fabulous Funnel Cakes
When the funnel cakes are completely cooked, carefully remove them from the grease with your cooking tongs and drain the funnel cakes on a paper plate or drying rack.  Dust with powdered sugar.  An easy way to dust the powdered sugar evenly is to place a few tablespoons of powdered sugar into a flour sifter and gently tap the sifter over the funnel cakes.  Ta-Da! — powdered sugar paradise.
And here’s a great piece of advice: never inhale while taking a bite of powdered sugar funnel cake.  Holy cow.  That’s rough. You will see your life flash before your eyes.
But other than that, it’s bliss.
Because you did it!  And I’m just so proud of you.

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