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5 Fabulous Fair Foods You Can Make At Home!

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5 Fabulous Fair Foods You Can Make At Home!

Your hometown State Fair may have come and gone but you don’t have to say goodbye to the iconic fair foods that you love. We’ve got the history and recipes of some of your favorites, so you can enjoy them at home anytime of year.

Funnel Cakes

Funnel cakes were brought to the United States in the late 1800s by the Pennsylvania Dutch. Since that time, these crispy, crunchy, sweet treats have been adopted as one of the country’s most iconic fair foods. Luckily for us, they are simple to make at home!

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Ingredients:
2 eggs
1 to 2 cups milk
1 cup water
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups flour
¼ cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
Oil for frying
Powdered sugar for dusting

Directions:

Start by beating the eggs, then add the rest of the liquid ingredients and mix. Use only one cup of milk to start — you can add more later if the batter needs to be thinned. Separately, whisk the dry ingredients together, then blend into the liquid mixture until the batter is smooth. Funnel cake batter should be thin enough to be poured through a funnel, so if the batter needs to be thinned, then whisk in more milk, 1/4 cup at a time, up to one additional cup until you’ve reached the right consistency.

Using a deep fryer or a deep frying pan, heat oil to 375º F. If you have a funnel with a narrow spout handy, then cover the spout with your finger and pour ½ cup of the batter into it. Hold the funnel high above the frying pan — about eight inches — then remove your finger from the funnel and spiral the batter into the hot oil. If you don’t have a funnel, a measuring cup with a pour spout works, too.

Let the funnel cakes sizzle for two minutes to a side — or until they are crispy and golden brown. Using a large spatula or spider, remove the cakes and let them drain on paper towels for a few minutes. Dust with powdered sugar and enjoy!

Caramel Apples


The caramel apple was the brain-child of Dan Walker, an employee of Kraft Foods that made the first ones in the 1950s. Not only are they a traditional fair food but they’re also quite popular during the fall apple harvest season, too!

Ingredients:
1 cup butter (no substitutes)
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
8-10 wooden sticks
8-10 small, tart, apples (Granny Smith or Fuji work well)
Nuts, chocolate chips, sprinkles, or bit sized candies to coat.

Directions:
Insert a wooden stick into each apple. In a heavy saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and sweetened condensed milk. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook and stir until a candy thermometer reads 250º F (about 30-40 minutes). For a softer caramel, cook to a few degrees cooler. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Dip each apple into hot caramel mixture, and turn to coat. Holding by the stick, sprinkle with nuts, or whatever else you desire, while the caramel is still warm. Set on generously buttered wax paper to cool. Note: If making a double recipe, use two separate pots.

Deep Fried Oreos®

These sinful confections are a relatively new addition to the fair food scene. Deep fried Oreos were first dreamed up by Charlie Boghosian, otherwise known as Chicken Charlie. Chicken Charlie takes his fried foods to a variety of California fairs each year, even attempting to fry things like Hostess Snowballs. However, his deep-fried Oreo, which made its debut in 2002 at the Los Angeles County Fair, is by far his most popular creation. Here’s the must-have recipe:

Ingredients:
1 egg
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 cup pancake mix
1 package Oreos
Oil for frying
Powdered sugar for dusting

Directions:

Mix the first four ingredients into a smooth batter. Heat oil in a deep skillet until it reaches 375 degrees F. Dip the cookies in the batter, then fry, making them in small batches — four or five at a time so that the cookies don’t stick together and the oil doesn’t cool too much as you drop them in. Let the Oreos cook for about two minutes, until they are a nice golden-brown color. Drain on paper towels — and let them cool a few minutes since the cream inside the cookies gets extremely hot! Dust with powdered sugar before eating if desired.

Corn Dogs

 

The exact origins of the corn dog are a bit murky but we do know that they were invented sometime between 1920 and 1940, a portable food-on-a-stick designed to appear to fairgoers at the time. Over the years, several people have claimed to be the inventors of the corn dog, including Carl and Neil Fletcher, who said they invented this food for the Texas State Fair in 1942, and the Pronto Pup food vendors, who claim that they were the first to sell corn dogs, marketed as Pronto Pups, for the 1941 Minnesota State Fair. Regardless of the origins, corn dogs are fun and delicious — and one of many great ways to use up those disposable chopsticks taking up space in your kitchen drawer!

Ingredients:
1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
¼ cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 egg
1 cup milk
16 hot dogs
Skewers or chopsticks
Oil for frying

Directions:

Mix the dry ingredients first, then stir in the milk and eggs. Fill a large skillet one to two inches deep with oil, then heat over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, use a tall glass, filled about halfway full with batter, to dip the skewered hot dogs. Lay them in the oil so that the skewers stick out over the edges of the pan (making it easy for you to turn them as they cook). Once golden brown on all sides, remove from oil and drain on paper towels.

Beer Battered Pickles

The first confirmed fried pickle recipe was printed on November 19, 1962 in the Oakland Tribune. Bernell “Fatman” Austin, who was just one of the (many) people that claimed to be the fried pickle inventor, was responsible for popularizing them at his Duchess Drive-In restaurant in Atkins, Arkansas. From there, fried pickles — usually dill pickle chips, but sometimes also spears — became a staple at drive ins, sports bars and eventually, fairs.

Ingredients:
32 ounces sliced dill pickles
1 egg
1 can beer (12 ounces)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups flour
Oil for frying

Directions:

Pickle juice can cause problems with runny batter so start by draining the pickles thoroughly, making sure to pat them as dry as you can with paper towels. Then whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together before adding the egg and beer to the mixture.

Heat oil in a shallow skillet to about 375º F (use a candy thermometer to keep track of the temperature), then dip pickles individually in the batter before placing them in the hot oil. Fry for a couple of minutes to a side, then remove from the frying pan and drain on paper towels. Serve with chipotle mayo or sriracha mayo for dipping.

These recipes are just a sampling of the iconic foods that you will find during fair season. Do you have a favorite state fair or carnival food that causes you to through withdrawals on the off-season? If so, let us know in the comments section below.

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