Friday, August 14, 2015

Happy Birthday to Me! Oh, yeah, and it's Foodie Friday!

Those who know me know that I *despise* crowds, and consequently go to very few of the fairs and festivals around the way. The one thing I miss about going to them is the food. Ohhhh, the food. Especially funnel cakes! I don't need the mountain of toppings that I've seen people put on them- just give me mine straight out of the fryer and coated with powdered sugar! We had a movie theater that used to sell them (before I quit going to movies because of the crowd thing), but I hear that they no longer have them either.

Then I came across this little gem. *happydancing* I'm making myself a batch for a treat. Here's hoping I don't eat the whole batch at once!

Ridiculously Easy Funnel Cakes
Adapted from Serious Eats

Makes 6 to 8 6-inch (or so) cakes

The original recipe amounts (which I’m posting here) call for 2 quarts of oil and frying the cakes in a Dutch oven. I suppose the deeper the oil level and more room in the pot to work with, the better, but I used my beloved, heavy medium-sized saucepan that’s about 7 1/2 inches in diameter and poured in oil just to a depth of about 1 inch, which probably amounted to a couple of cups, and things worked out fine.

To make this project as easy and fun as it should be, have everything ready before you begin frying. I highly recommend a plastic squeeze bottle for getting the batter into the oil–that’s the fun part, making all those loops!–and a slotted spoon and a thin vented spatula like a fish spatula for flipping and transferring the cakes with ease. And please, please save yourself the headache and use a candy or deep fry thermometer so that you know you oil gets to and stays at the right temperature while you’re frying.

These are are best eaten hot, so have your funnel cake crowd ready and waiting for their cakes as they come out of the fryer!

2 quarts canola oil for frying (or less–see note)
1 1/2 cups “complete” buttermilk pancake mix
1/2 cup water (I needed a bit more to get my batter to the consistency of cake batter)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Line a large baking sheet with a double layer of paper towels. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, such as a Dutch oven, heat about an inch of the oil to 375 degrees.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the pancake mix, water, sugar, and vanilla extract until very smooth–you’re looking for a batter about the consistency of cake batter, and it should fall back into the bowl in a ribbon when you lift the whisk. Transfer the batter to a squeeze bottle with a 1/4-inch opening (or to be really traditional, pour the batter through a small funnel into the oil).

When the oil is up to temperature, holding the bottle about 5 to 6 inches above the surface of the oil, squeeze the batter into the pot, quickly working in a circular motion about 4 to 6 inches in diameter to form loops and swirls. Cook the cake for about 1 minute, or until an even golden brown on the bottom, before flipping it and cooking and additional 30 seconds on the other side. Remove the cake to the paper toweling to drain for a minute before dusting with confectioners’ sugar. Repeat with the remaining batter.

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