Sunday, September 29, 2013

How To Make Your County Fair Favorites Part 1

Now that the leaves are turning colors, you've probably seen signs for the county fair. I don't know about you, but the thing I enjoy the most is the food! Caramel apples, funnel cakes, corn dogs-these alone are almost worth the ticket price! But what if you could make them at home? It's much easier than you think. 

For starters, the caramel apples-
6 apples
1 1/2 sticks butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon sea salt flakes

For the caramel sauce-
Spread the sugar on the bottom of a saucepan in an even layer and heat over medium for about 4-5 minutes. Once the sugar liquefies, remove from the heat. After about 30 seconds, stir in the salt, cream and butter. Refrigerate. 

While the caramel is cooling, spread wax paper over a cookie sheet. Spear the apples with a craft or Popsicle stick, roll in the caramel and desired toppings and refrigerate. 

If you want, roll the apples in nuts or another "topping". Miniature marshmallows, M&Ms, chocolate chips or Rice Crispies might also be fun. Odd, but fun. 

If you prefer candied apples-
Cinnamon candied apples
8 apples
3 cups white sugar
½ cup white corn syrup
½ cup water
1 drop cinnamon oil or 8 red-hots
1 tsp red food coloring

Combine corn syrup, sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat until it reaches 270-290F or until it hardens when it hits cold water. Add the cinnamon oil or candies and food coloring until it is just combined. Swirl the apples around in the mix and leave on a sheet of wax paper to cool.

I've also had white, milk or dark chocolate-costed apples with nuts and ground Oreos. Confectioner's chocolate is relatively easy to work with. This way, you can claim that you're eating healthy and feed your sweet tooth at the same time!

For me, the fair just isn't the fair without funnel cakes! They get their name from the gradual way the dough is fried in the oil, but you could probably use a pastry bag if you don't have a funnel.
Funnel Cake-makes 4 cakes
1 quart vegetable oil for frying
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 egg
2/3 cup milk
2 tbsp white sugar
¾ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt

In a heavy pan, pour roughly 1” of oil and heat to 375F.
Beat egg and add milk, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt and stir until smooth. Using a funnel, pour the batter into the oil in whichever shape you want and fry until lightly browned. Turn over, cook to golden brown and drain on paper towels. Dust with confectioners sugar if desired.

For more awesome fair recipes, visit Part 2!

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