The SC State Fair has come and gone for another year. But here's some good news – you can, should you dare, make your favorite fair food at home. Try these easy recipes for carnival time any time:
Ridiculously Easy Funnel Cakes
makes 6-8 6-inch cakes
Note that a plastic squeeze bottle makes getting the batter into the oil much easier (and more fun) and a wide slotted spoon or spatula makes flipping and transferring the cakes hassle-free. A deep-fry thermometer comes in handy as well.
2 quarts or less of canola oil (enough to come to a depth of 1-inch in a pan)
1 1/2 cups buttermilk pancake mix
1/2 cup or more water (enough to make batter the consistency of cake batter)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Powdered sugar, for dusting
Line a large baking sheet with a double layer of paper towels.
In a large, heavy-bottomed pot (like a Dutch oven) or a large, deep skillet, heat about one inch of oil to 375 degrees.
While oil is heating, whisk together the pancake mix, water, sugar and vanilla extract in a medium bowl, until very smooth. It should be thin like a cake batter and should fall back into the bowl in a ribbon when you lift the whisk. Transfer batter to a squeeze bottle with a 1/4-inch opening (or, to be really traditional, you can use a small funnel to pour the batter into the oil).
When oil is up to temperature, holding the bottle 5 or 6 inches above the surface of the oil, squeeze the batter into the pan, quickly moving in a circular motion about 4 to 6 inches in diameter to form loops and swirls. Fry the cake for about 1 minute, until evenly golden brown, before flipping and cooking an additional 30 seconds on the other side. Remove cake to paper towel to drain before dusting with powdered sugar. Repeat with remaining batter.
Old Fashioned Candied Apples
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
red food coloring
6 apples, washed, dried and speared with popsicle sticks
Grease a large cookie sheet with butter and set aside.
In a saucepan, combine the sugar, water and cream of tartar. Place saucepan over high heat with a candy thermometer. Boil mixture until it reaches hard crack (300 degrees), then immediately add red food coloring and stir.
Working quickly, dip the apples in the mixture, twisting to cover and set on prepared cookie sheet.