Food Friday: Fun with Funnel Cakes!

Good morning!  Wow!  The summer has flown by!  School has started, so this will be the last Summer Challenge: Food or Frugal Friday post.  Next year, I might have Finish it Fridays again, maybe they would actually be on Friday.  This summer, I didn’t get near as much food or frugal done as I wanted! 

Thankfully, this Food Friday is fun!  It is Fun with Funnel Cakes, in honor of all the fun, fried food that was at the Iowa State Fair. 

A surprisingly easy snack!

I wanted to make the funnel cakes when we were camping, but the weather has been toooo hot for me to camp. So, I finally made the funnel cakes at home. 

They were such a quick and easy snack, I was so surprised!  As soon as the weather cools down, I am going to try cooking them over the campfire! 

The recipe is very easy.  Even though we don’t make funnel cakes very often, my family has had the recipe for years.  We got a funnel cake mix and recipe on a family camping vacation- when I was in elementary school.  That was very long ago!  Back then, we were camping in a pop-up camper.  With the pop-up camper, my mom cooked mostly outside and outside cooking is still one of my favorite parts of camping. 

The inside funnel cakes were so easy; I bet they will be a great snack cooked outside when we are camping too.

Not All Mixes belong in Mason Jars

I mixed all the dry ingredients in a plastic baggy.  Usually I use mason jars for my mixes.  I keep some-like French Breakfast Puffs– in the camper all the time. I even keep mason jars of powdered sugar, popcorn, sugar and cinnamon sugar in the camper.  

This time, I used a baggy so I wouldn’t need a funnel. 

It was easy to add the wet ingredients to the premixed dry ingredients in the baggy, then seal and squish to mix together. 

After the oil was ready, it worked great to cut off a small corner of the baggy and squeeze the batter into the pan. 

It even worked fine to add more milk with the corner already cut.  For the first funnel cake I made, the batter was too thick-I really had to squeeze the baggy and the dough lines were fat.

So I folded the cut corner, closed it with a clothes pin (or someone could hold it) and added milk through the ziplock opening at the top. 

I was afraid it would leak out, but I was able to squish mix it and it didn’t leak.

1 cup of milk worked much better, so I changed the recipe.  It should be like thin pancake batter.  I still had to squeeze it out of the baggy; it was not thin and running out like water. 

In between making the funnel cakes, I set the baggy with the cut end up on a plate. Setting it into a cup would also work good.

Before starting the next one, I would squeeze out the air and make sure the batter was at the opening before I started to add it to the oil. 

Most Important Tools-a thermometer and tongs

I made our inside funnel cakes in a cast iron pan on the stove.  I cooked in only 1/2 – 1 inch of oil, just like when we make pork tenderloin sandwiches, so I didn’t waste much oil. 

The small amount of oil worked fine.  For the first funnel cake I didn’t let it get it hot enough though, 350-400 degrees is better than 325.  The batter started sizzling and cooking right away with the higher temperatures.  The first funnel cake was not crispy.

For the first funnel cake, the batter was too thick.

The thermometer helped me a lot.  I get a bit nervous with hot oil (usually the husband helps make tenderloins), but having everything ready and using the thermometer eased my fears.

Cooking with oil can be dangerous, so I have young children stay in a different room.

Sometimes, if the children want to watch, extra adults and a chair at a safe distance are ok. This time the grandbaby was not visiting, so I didn’t worry sooo much. In fact, the youngest helped make the funnel cakes- I guess there are benefits to the kids getting older.

Making the funnel cake is fun! I start making a letter C, then cross and overlap the dough so it all stays together. When the oil is the correct temperature, it will start cooking and sizzling right away.

Ready to flip!

The dough floats on top of the oil, and when it gets bubbly and golden brown on the sides- it is time to flip. Tongs are the best way to flip the funnel cakes.

Funnel cakes are sturdy enough that you can lift them up with tongs to carefully check the underside.

The tongs also help you with flipping the funnel cakes slowly and not splattering the oil. They lift up like a floppy pancake, but do stay together if the batter is overlapped when it is poured.

Easy Funnel Cake Recipe

1 1/3 cups flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Almost ready for draining and powder sugar!

3/4 Tablespoon baking powder

3 Tablespoons sugar

1 egg

1 cup milk

Oil for frying, 350-400 degrees

Paper towels, to drain

Powdered sugar

Mix all dry ingredients. The youngest did this in a large freezer bag ahead of time. Later, we added the milk and egg and mixed the batter in the baggy.

You could mix it in a bowl and then use a funnel or pitcher to pour the funnel cakes.

We mixed it all in a baggy and then cut a small corner off to squeeze out the batter into the hot oil.

Make sure to overlap the batter, and flip when it is bubbly and lightly golden on the bottom.

Drain on a paper towel. While the funnel cakes are still warm, sift on powdered sugar to serve. We made 7 crispy, golden funnel cakes, about 6-8 inches across.

At fairs, I have seen many topping choices: pudding, fruit, fruit sauces, whipped topping and chocolate sauce in addition to powdered sugar. Years ago, when we got the recipe, powdered sugar was the only choice and it is still my favorite. The grandbaby, though, would probably like cinnamon sugar.

Since I have not made funnel cakes for a few years, I was surprised at how quick it was. Starting with the dry mix already done, it only took 1/2 of an hour! That time even included getting the oil ready and cleaning up! It is such a quick, yummy snack!

I can’t wait for the fall weather to start, so I can make the funnel cakes over the campfire! I bet they will be a quick, easy, camping snack!

Happy Camping (or snacking!)

Frugal Campasaurus

About the Author: Cathi

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