Years ago, in good faith, I tried making an oven-baked funnel cake and it didn’t go over too well with funnel cake fans. It didn’t have the one thing they loved so much about funnel cakes — the crispy outside and moist inside. So years later, I tackled this challenge again, except this time I accepted the fact that I was going to have to fry it. So I fried the funnel cakes in a small saucepan using canola oil.
I made the batter with half whole wheat flour (you won’t even notice it’s there), low-fat milk, a high omega-3 egg. Then I added in some vanilla and ground cinnamon. They were a big hit! One nutrition suggestion though…the cakes are already pretty high in fat (albeit from mono and polyunsaturated fat) so try not to top them with whipped cream. They really do taste great without it.
Homemade Funnel Cakes
Photo: Elaine Magee
- 1 large egg, higher omega-3 if available
- ¾ cups lowfat milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup unbleached white flour
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup canola oil (for frying), about 4 tablespoons are absorbed
1. In mixing bowl, combine egg, milk, vanilla and brown sugar beating on medium speed.
2. In medium bowl, whisk together flours, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Beat the flour mixture into the egg mixture while beating on low speed. Mix until smooth.
3. To avoid filling the house with the smell of hot oil, turn your stove fan on full blast!
4. 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 (this only takes a few minutes because the amount of oil and size of the saucepan are so small).
5. If you don’t have a funnel cake pitcher you can ladle 1/4 of the batter into a funnel while covering the bottom with your finger. Holding the funnel several inches above the saucepan, remove your finger and move the funnel in a circular motion until all of the batter is gone. Fry the cake for about 30 seconds per side or until golden brown (flip them over using metal tongs or a grilling fork).
6. 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. Repeat step four with remaining batter to make three more funnel cakes. Dust with powdered sugar if desired or top with fresh fruit.
Yield: Makes 4 servings.
Nutritional Analysis per serving: 296 calories, 7 g protein, 33 g carbohydrate, 15 g fat, 1.6 g saturated fat, 9.4 g monounsaturated fat, 4 g polyunsaturated fat, 58 mg cholesterol, 2.3 g fiber, 217 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 46 percent. Omega-3 fatty acids = 1.4 grams, Omega-6 fatty acids = 2.6 grams.
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