One of the stories in my family-lore includes a Halloween story. On a cold, dark and rainy Halloween night, my 17-year old brother got suckered into taking a 5-year old me trick-or-treating. I’d like to think I wore my tv costume, which was one of my favorites, but that might not be true. Just a few houses into the night, our neighbors invited me in for homemade donuts and cider. Without even a glance back to the end of the driveway (so I’m told), where my brother was posted, I happily got out of the rain. I remember the house being warm and light, but the donuts were definitely the highlight. I’ve never been a fan of candy, but anything homemade? I’m there! Something about these funnel cakes hit me the same way as those donuts of long ago. I hope you enjoy them, too.
These are a riff on the Summer Waffles from American Vegan Kitchen. The recipe is cut in half and it’s a little lighter on the flour. At a vegan meet-up at Hal and Al’s in Columbus, I was talking to Kerry, the manager. She mentioned that the batter should work for funnel cakes. Kerry, you are right! And here’s the proof. Thanks for the inspiration.
1 ½ cups soy milk
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 ½ to 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Heat the soy milk to lukewarm than transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the sugar and yeast. Set aside to bubble and proof, about 5 minutes. Stir in the oil.
In a medium bowl, combine 1 ½ cups flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Mix well. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture. If the mixture is ‘milky’, add the additional ¼ cup flour. Stir in the vanilla and mix well. Cover the batter with plastic wrap and let rise a couple hours at room temperature or longer refrigerated. The batter will thicken some as it sits.
Scoop the mixture into a large, heavy duty ziplock bag. Lighter weight bags may burst. Cut off one of the corners, but be sure to make it a small cut. You can always cut it larger if needed.
Using a small cast iron skillet, fill 1 to 2 inches of canola oil. Heat over medium to medium-high heat. Test the oil by squeezing a small amount of batter into the oil. It should turn golden in about 2 minutes. Adjust the heat if necessary. Working quickly so that the batter can cook evenly, squeeze a thin stream of batter into the hot oil, in a circular motion. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, until golden. If needed, turn over carefully to cook the second side 1 minute, until golden. Transfer to a cooling rack. Repeat until all batter is cooked. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve hot.
Makes 6 to 8 funnel cakes
By the way, my family would think I was remiss if I didn’t mention when I was even younger than 5, I threw a “ducky ducky flap flap” toy at my brother’s chin. I hit it. He got 4 stitches and has never let me forget it.