How to Make Funnel Cake With Pancake Mix

The Fair at Home: How to Make Funnel Cake With Pancake Mix

Every year, we pack up the family for a trip to the Florida State Fair, even though Busch Gardens is less than ten minutes from our house. Why? Well, c’mon, there’s just something different about the fair – something you can’t get from Busch Gardens and something you certainly can’t get at the major Disney and Universal theme parks. As much as we love those parks, they’re a little too put-together to quite scratch that fair itch, right? No, when you want to be transported right back to your grimy teenage years, only the actual fair will do the trick. When was the last time you got on a roller coaster at Disney World and thought to yourself, “Damn, I wonder if this was even inspected…”? That’s the kind of thrill you can only get at the real state fair.

Something else only available at the real fair: The food. Yes, yes, they have funnel cake concoctions and other such treats at the major theme parks, but it’s not the same. For one thing, the food is always massively overpriced at the Disneys and Universals of the world. For another, it’s just NOT THE SAME. I don’t know what kind of fair magic they keep stored in those roving trains that trek the country, but it can’t be bottled and it can’t be duplicated.

Or can it?

In the mood for fair funnel cakes the other day but faced with the dismal proposition of waiting another four months for the actual fair to come around (and then, with the way the pandemic is going, who knows?), I knew I had to take a leap into the unknown. Could I make these at home using nothing more complicated than boxed pancake mix?

Why not!

Here’s what you’ll need:

– 1 funnel or piping bag

– 2 eggs

– 1 ½ cups milk

– 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

– ½ teaspoon salt

– ¼ cup granulated sugar

– 2 ½ cups of boxed pancake mix

– Frying oil

Okay, let’s see what kind of trouble we can get into here.

Begin by taking your eggs, milk, vanilla, and sugar and dumping them into a large mixing bowl. Whisk these ingredients until they are well and truly combined. Go ahead and pour your pancake mix into the bowl along with your salt and mix some more. Set your bowl aside and start up a large frying pan with perhaps 2 inches of your preferred frying oil. You will know the oil is ready when you can drop a tiny amount of batter into it and watch it sizzle. Alternatively, use a thermometer and wait until it reads 375 degrees (F).

Using your funnel or piping bag, add a quarter of your batter to the oil, swirling the bag in a kind of criss-cross fashion so that the batter wraps in on itself. Fry for one or two minutes and then turn with tongs. Do the same with the other side. Remove from the pan when both sides are golden brown. You might want to have a plate and some paper towels ready so that they can soak up some of the excess grease.

Sprinkle this funnel cake with powdered sugar and any other toppings you like, and congratulations: You beat the fair at its own game!

In the next edition, I’ll teach you how to build your own Gravitron using everyday household items. (Litigation-minded readers need not apply).

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