When we have people over for holidays like Easter brunch, I like to make things that are fun, that one might not have or make at home. Often I wind up frying doughy things – like doughnuts and beignets and corn dogs and mini donuts. Hmm. I think I’ve just identified a trend.
Funnel cakes, the classic midway snack of fried dough sprinkled with powdered sugar, is actually a snap to make, and fun to serve once a year when you have a crowd to help you eat them. They’re made by pouring a pancakelike batter through a funnel into hot oil; not the safest thing to do with younger kids, but a hit with tweens and teens. The finished product is least as popular with grown-ups as with kids – you’ll get plenty of “no way! you’re making funnel cakes??” – and be warned: they will be expected at every occasion from here on in. Serve them warm, with plenty of powdered sugar, and plenty of napkins. Try not to eat them while wearing black.
Funnel cakes are a fun but messy endeavor – make sure you have plenty of paper towels on hand to set the freshly cooked cakes on; they will do double duty and take care of the surplus powdered sugar, too. If you want to create a midwaylike environment, serve them warm in brown paper lunch bags, which are easy to find at most dollar stores.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cups milk
1 large egg
canola oil, for cooking
powdered sugar, for dusting
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, stir together the milk and egg. Add to the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth; the mixture should have the texture of pancake batter.
In a wide pot, heat a couple inches of oil until hot but not smoking (it should be about 360F on a candy or deep fry thermometer). Fill a funnel with batter, stopping it from coming out with your finger. Carefully drizzle the batter into the hot oil, controlling the flow with your fingertip, making a swirly motion in the hot oil. Cook until golden and crisp, flipping once. Remove with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain.
Dust funnel cakes with powdered sugar and serve. Makes lots.