Making Funnel Cakes
This post goes out to infinite—world who made a foodwish for simple sweet snacks. This will hopefully be just one of a string of simple snacks (ones that are more appropriate to bring to a friend’s birthday, as requested) that I’ll be posting soon, seeing as I haven’t had any luck tracking down dried cuttlefish for the Rojak Sotong foodwish, not quite in the mood for a cheesecake and currently trying to lay off the chips (therefore no dips) so the other foodwishes are on hold.
I was never a cupcake or a cookie person and since funnel cakes fit both the required “simple” and “sweet” criteria, why not whip up a batch? The classic funnel cake is made from a deep fried batter made with flour, sugar, milk (preferrably full fat) and about a quarter of a dozen eggs. In other words, great if you’re a 10 year old romping around in the county fair (not that I would know; growing up in Qatar the food of fun fairs were the samosa, fatayr and shwarma), not so great when you’re a little bit older and trying to watch your health.
There is, unfortunately, no way of escaping the frying process. I contemplated on doing a baked version, but I know they’ll just disappoint and that’s when I chanced upon this recipe from WebMD. Instead of deep-frying, we’re going to shallow-fry (using only enough fat to immerse approximately one-third to one-half of each piece) these funnel cakes. The batter itself makes use of healthier alternatives like skim or low-fat milk and brown sugar, although I did make a few changes to the flour used. So enjoy this version of the childhood treat that you can give to even your most uppity, health-nut friends.
FUNNEL CAKES (recipe adapted from WebMD’s):
[ 1 egg + 1/2 cup skim or low-fat milk + 2 tablespoon brown sugar + 1 teaspoon vanilla extract + 3/4 cup all purpose flour + 1/4 cup glutinous rice flour + 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon + 3/4 teaspoon baking powder + 1/8 teaspoon salt + 1 cup vegetable or canola oil for frying ]
In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, cinnamon, baking powder and salt.
In a mixing bowl, combine egg, milk, vanilla and brown sugar and whisk with a fork until combined.
Beat the flour mixture into the egg mixture while beating on low speed. Mix until smooth. If you lift the whisk up, you should be able create ribbons of the mixture on top of the batter.
Add more flour or milk depending on the thickness until it reaches this consistency.
Ladle the batter into a funnel cake pitcher. If you don’t have one, then you can ladle 1/4 of the batter into a piping bag.
Pour a cup of canola oil into a small saucepan about 5 1/2-inches in diameter and begin heating it over high heat until it reaches about 375-degrees.
Keep an eye on the oil since this only takes a few minutes because the amount of oil and size of the saucepan are so small.
Snip the end of the piping back and cover the bottom with your finger.
Holding the piping bag (or funnel) several inches above the saucepan, remove your finger and move the funnel in a circular motion to the size of circle you want.
Don’t hold the piping bag or funnel too high from the saucepan since the batter will just splutter around instead of criscrossing to form a circle.
Fry the cake for about 30 seconds per side or until golden brown (flip them over using metal tongs).
Keep doing this until all of the batter is gone.
Hold the cake briefly above the oil but over the saucepan to drain any excess oil from the cake. Then drain it on a paper towel.
Dust with powdered sugar if desired or top with fresh fruit.
Estimated Nutritional Information:
Makes 12-14 small funnel cakes. Serves approx.4
Total calories: 296 kcals
Fat: 15g (1.6 saturated)
Protein: 7 g