Fun with Funnel Cake

Pineapple Confetti Funnel Cake

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So, I just learned why funnel cake is called “funnel cake!”  It makes so much sense, but I never really thought about it before…guess I had more important things on my mind…like live patients, residency applications, and trying to decide what my patronus would be.

Funnel cake is not so-named because it was invented by frat boys…same funnel, different purpose.  The name simply comes from the preparation method of drizzling the batter into the hot oil through a – you guessed it – funnel!  Really, though, I should’ve been able to figure that out.

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Whatever you call it, this carnival delicacy is super easy to make at home and serves as a tasty brunch item or nostalgic dessert for two (…ore one 😉 ).  My version uses pancake mix as the base and is packed with fun tropical flavors.  The hardest part of the whole recipe is flipping the funnel cake.  Wait, actually, the hardest part is letting the funnel cake cool sufficiently before eating…the 2nd hardest part is flipping it.  Please be careful to not splatter yourself with hot oil during the flipping process — “Died Whilst Making Funnel Cake” would be a rather depressing epitaph.

Pineapple Confetti Funnel Cake

Yield:  1 large funnel cake, perfect for sharing!
NOTE:  Using a larger skillet will give you more room to make a lacier-looking funnel cake, while a smaller pan will give you a tighter-looking cake — both are delicious!
3/4 cup just-add-water pancake mix, dry
3 heaping tablespoons crushed pineapple, with juices
~1/3 cup water
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons white chocolate chips
2 tablespoons rainbow jimmies
Canola oil, for frying
Powdered sugar, for dusting — not optional (authenticity, my friends, authenticity!)
In a 2-cup measuring cup or small mixing bowl, combine pancake mix and pineapple.  Slowly add water —  mixture should be a thick-yet-flowable paste, use only as much water as you need to achieve this consistency.  Quickly mix in almond extract, and let sit for 5 minutes — this batter has had a rough morning…it needs time to rest!
Meanwhile, pour ~1″ of canola oil into a medium-sized skillet and heat over medium heat until the oil glistens and you can see small bubbles at the edges — you can test oil by dropping in a small bit of batter  and seeing if it starts to sizzle instantly (if it does, it’s ready!).
Fold chips and jimmies into batter, and transfer batter to a quart-sized zip-top bag.  Snip off one of the bottom corners (~3/4″-1″ opening), and pipe batter in random-but-contiguous squiggles into hot oil. Let cook until batter puffs up and you start to see golden-brownness creeping up the outer sides of the funnel cake, about 5-6 minutes.  When ready, use a large spatula and/or heat-safe tongs to CAREFULLY flip the funnel cake.  Let cook another 4-5 minutes, then transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.  Let cool for about 1-2 minutes, before removing paper towels and dusting with powdered sugar.

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