Some things are better left a mystery. It’s best not to know how many grams of fat are in a really good Pina Colada. When drinks come with umbrellas and a side of fruit… all bets are way way off.
It’s best not to know how many miles you’ve run when your knees are sweaty, your breath is just about gone, and you’re dog tired. It’s the knowing that will have you talking your run-brain into stopping after the next tenth of a mile. Maybe that’s just me.
It’s best not to know how many people hate-follow you on Instagram photos because… how is that even a thing that people have time to do!? Good grief.
It was best to be oblivious to the fact that we can make funnel cake… yes, the fried state fair delicacy… right in our very homes. But now that we know, it feels like out duty to not unknown… and thus, eat a whole heck of a lot of funnel cake.
It’s just that things get a little out of hand once you know you can make things like funnel cake and Beer Battered Onion Rings and Homemade Ranch Sauce right in your kitchen… in your very own kitchen… and you don’t even have to be wearing pants (although you should for hot oil safety… seriously).
I should also mention that making homemade funnel is pretty dang easy. There’s one part where we get nervous and hold our breaths a bit… but other than that, too easy. We’re in real trouble now.
Flour is whisked together with baking powder, salt, and brown sugar. Eggs, a whole and a yolk. This will be the base of our pourable, pancake-like batter.
Also important is our powdered sugar topping, laced with cinnamon.
I added beaten yolks and vanilla extract to a well in the center of the dry ingredients.
Next, a steady stream of milk. We’ll need between 1 1/2 and 2 cups depending on how heavy a flour measurer you are. I used just over 1 1/2 cups. Whisked into the batter until no lumps remain.
The batter will be on the juuuuust thick side of pourable pancake batter.
If you have a funnel cake batter dispenser, well… look at you!
I poured the smooth batter into a large liquid measuring cup and placed the tip-fitted pastry bag in a pint glass for stability while filling.
Before we go down the road of pouring thin batter into a vessel with a hole at the bottom, it’s a good idea to check the temperature of your fry oil… and don’t even try to make this recipe without a fry thermometer… and make sure that you have a pan ready with paper towels for cooling. Things get crazy once the funneling gets underway.
I poured in enough batter for about one funnel cake, about 1/3-1/2 cup. A bit of batter will come out of the tip, but that’s just fine. This is where things get messy.
I gently lifted the bag from the pint glass, placed my finger over the top to keep the batter from escaping, and headed over to the small sauce-pan with the hot oil. I took my finger off the tip and let the batter meet the oil in a half-haphazard swirling motion. Very technical.
I used a small saucepan, like this one, to fry one funnel cake at a time. I found that this was the best way to control the funnel cake shape. It was defined by the pan.
Fried and dusted liberally with cinnamon powdered sugar. I like funnel cake topped with jam or fresh fruit. Peach and raspberries are always tremendous.
And… now you know. You’ll never go to a state fair again, except for the pie baking contests and fried butter. Is that still happening?
- about 3 cups canola or vegetable oil for frying
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 - 2 cups whole milk (you could make these more vegan by using a milk alternative)
- fresh sliced peaches and raspberries for topping
- Pour oil into a small sauce pan (I used a pan with about a 6 to 7-inch diameter), attach a fry or candy thermometer, and preheat oil to 375°F over medium heat. Keep and eye on the oil as it heats. You don't want it to get too far above 375. Line a baking sheet with paper towels and set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar and cinnamon. Transfer to a mesh sugar shaker or a small sifter and set aside set aside.
- In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and brown sugar. Stir until brown sugar has no or very few lumps. In another bowl, whisk together the egg, yolk, and vanilla extract. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the egg mixture. Slowly begin to add the milk, about 1/1/2 cups, while whisking together the eggs, flour mixture, and milk as you pour. The batter will be like pourable pancake batter. Whisk until no lumps remain and batter is on the juuust on the thick side of pourable. Transfer the batter to a large measuring cup or pitcher.
- If you have a funnel cake batter dispenser, now is your moment.
- If not, I used a pastry bag and Ateco 804 tip. I placed the tip in the bag, placed the bag in a tall pint glass to fill with batter. Some of the batter will begin to come out of the tip in the pint glass so before embarking on this process, make sure your oil is heated and you're ready to go. Gently remove the bag from the pint glass, place your finger over the tip to keep the batter from spilling all over the floor and move towards the hot oil.
- Take a deep breath.
- Slowly pour 1/3 cup of the batter into the hot oil in a thin stream, forming a circular shape. The batter will immediately fluff up and fry. If the batter is too thick, add more milk so it pours easily. If the batter spreads too much in the fryer, use a fine-mesh strainer to help contain the batter. Fry until the underside of the funnel cake is browned, about 1 minute. Using the strainer, turn the funnel cake over. Fry until browned on the other side, about 1 minute more.
- Transfer the funnel cake to the prepared baking sheet. You can keep the fried cakes warm in a 200 degree F oven while your complete frying all the batter. Repeat with the remaining batter. Dust the funnel cakes with the confectioners sugar mixture and serve immediately.