Saturday, November 5, 2011

Homemade Corndogs and Funnel Cake

As a family, we set aside one night a week for Family Night. One night my husband came up with a fantastic idea: Carnival night! We started with homemade corndogs (from the amazing Alton Brown), then played some carnival games (ring toss, knock over the bottles, and throw the ball into the bucket). The kids had to "earn" their tickets for the games by answering gospel and scripture questions. Over all it was a really fun night, and only a few tears and threats of an early bed time.

My favorite part of the night was of course: the food. Homemade corndogs are suprisingly easy, and really good. And homemade funnel cakes? I may never buy an over priced one again. Maybe.

Now I just need to get one of those cotton candy makers and I think we're set.

The only bad thing about this recipe is the cornstarch.  Does any one else my disdain for cornstarch? I am not talking about taste here (does it even taste like anything?). It is that cringing squeaky noise it makes when you touch it. Gives me the heebie-jeebies. I avoid it at all costs, but unfortunately you kind of have to use it here. I have nightmares of someone throwing me into a pool full of cornstarch...


Corn Dogs
from Alton Brown

1 gallon peanut oil
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons (approximately 1 large) jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely minced
1 (8.5-ounce) can cream-style corn
1/3 cup finely grated onion
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
4 tablespoons cornstarch, for dredging
8 beef hot dogs

Special equipment: 8 sets chopsticks, not separated. (I used bbq skewers and popsicle sticks)
Pour oil into a deep fryer or large heavy pot and heat to 375 degrees F. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cayenne pepper. In a separate bowl, combine the jalapeno, corn, onion, and buttermilk. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients all at once, and stir only enough times to bring the batter together; there should be lumps. Set batter aside and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
Scatter the cornstarch into a dry pie pan. Roll each hot dog in the cornstarch and tap well to remove any excess.
Transfer enough batter to almost fill a large drinking glass. Refill the glass as needed. Place each hot dog on chopsticks, and quickly dip in and out of the batter. Immediately and carefully place each hot dog into the oil, and cook until coating is golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. With tongs, remove to cooling rack, and allow to drain for 3 to 5 minutes.

Easy Classic Funnel Cakes 
from food network magazine

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large egg, beaten
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 cup milk, plus more if needed
Canola oil, for frying
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Whipped cream and/or fruit sauce, for serving (optional)

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk the egg with the granulated sugar until pale. Whisk the milk into the egg mixture, then gently fold into the flour mixture. It should be a bit thicker than pancake batter but thin enough to pour. Add up to 3 tablespoons milk to loosen the batter, if needed.
Heat about 2 inches of canola oil in a large high-sided skillet or pot over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 375. Meanwhile, mix the confectioners' sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Hold a funnel in one hand with your finger plugging the hole at the bottom. Pour 1 cup batter into the funnel. Hold the funnel over the hot oil and remove your finger from the hole, letting the batter drop in a spiral pattern all over the surface of the oil. It will look like lots of individual pieces at first, but as you continue to add batter, the pieces will fuse together. Cook until the batter floats and the underside is golden brown, about 30 seconds. Flip with tongs and cook until golden brown on the other side, about 30 more seconds. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate and repeat to make 5 more funnel cakes. Dust with the cinnamon-sugar and serve with whipped cream and/or fruit sauce, if desired.


  1. Oh the things I could and shouldn't do with a deep fat fryer...

    Carnival night is an awesome idea! I may have to steal it. But without the awesome homemade stuff...sad sad day.

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