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State Fair Funnel Cakes

No trip to the fair is complete without funnel cake. I can’t resist, no matter how much I try. For crying out loud, it’s deep-fried, sugar-coated, and topped with whipped cream so it’s absolutely irresistible. Since one order is big enough for three adults, I can only eat about a quarter of it before I feel a bit sick to my stomach from all the greasy, fried food I’ve already eaten. Right about then, I swear that I’d never eat another one. Yet, the next year, I’m right back in line, giddy with the deep-fried sugar rush that’s about to hit me.

I’m not sure if it’s a good thing that I have finally learned how to make funnel cakes at home (or corn dogs, for that matter), but it’s nice to know that when that craving hits, I can.

Funnel Cake
Yields 2 to 3 servings

Ingredients:
8 cups vegetable oil for frying
1 1/2 cups milk
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
zest of 1 medium-sized orange
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup powdered sugar, for garnish
fresh strawberries, washed, hulled, and quartered, for garnish
Whipped cream, for garnish

Method:
In a deep-fryer, or heavy skillet, heat the vegetable oil to 375 degrees F.

In a large bowl, beat the milk, eggs, and vanilla paste or extract together. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, orange zest, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the milk/egg mixture and stir until well incorporated and smooth.

Pour one cup of batter in a funnel, covering the funnel hole with one finger. Starting from the center, swirl the batter in the hot oil, making a circle around 6 or 7 inches in diameter. Fry on both sides until golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes per side.

Remove and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and top with strawberries and whipped cream. Serve immediately.

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