Ahhh! The memories of being brought to the state, county and local fairs as a kid. I remember my grandmother would pile my twin sister, older brother and any other neighborhood kid that would fit in the open bed of her 51 Ford truck. (Nowadays, you’d probably spend a night in jail if you were ever caught with a bunch of screaming kids, unbelted in the back of an open truck!)
We had The Warren County Fair in Northwest NJ. and I’d remember begging for whatever I saw first walking down the carnival line like the Lemon Sticks (a fresh lemon with a hollow sugar stick stuck in so you could suck the juice out) or a monstrous mound of cotton candy, or the caramel/candy apples on a stick.
I was lucky enough once to have been taken to a place called “Palisades Amusement Park” located in Clifton Park, New Jersey next to the cliffs of NYC when I was ten. It had wild things, like the world’s largest outdoor saltwater pool, those incredible French fries that were sprinkled with malt vinegar and of course it’s very own jingle- “Come on Over”. Unfortunately, it closed in 1971 after 73 years where condominiums now stand but oh, the memories.
The Texas state fair boasts of winning TOP state fair honors in the US for several years and I was fortunate to be taken to the Wisconsin State Fair in West Allis, WI. by a couple of my favorite coworkers which tops the list at #10. (Great corn on the cob with mayo and cheese slathered on) Mmmmmmm! These days, everyone is trying to one up themselves with making such wacky and creative foods like, deep fried cotton candy, bacon wrapped eggs, fried bacon cinnamon roll and my favorite… fried samosa’s (wrap the iconic Girl Scout Cookie in a wonton skin, deep fry, then top with more toasted coconut, chocolate and caramel) notice that most must be submersed into hot fat!
Note: My family actually took me to the 1964 New York World’s Fair but the only thing I can remember is walking up to the Unisphere and being awed.
Now you can make this an easy and delicious Fair treat- the County Fair Funnel Cake that you can make right in your own kitchen.
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1-1/2 cups milk
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Oil for deep-fat frying
- Confectioners’ sugar
- In a large bowl, combine the eggs, milk and brown sugar. Combine
- flour, baking powder and salt; beat into egg mixture until smooth.
- In an electric skillet or deep-fat fryer, heat oil to 375°.
- Cover the bottom of a funnel spout with your finger; ladle 1/2 cup
- batter into funnel. Holding the funnel several inches above the
- skillet release finger and move the funnel in a spiral motion until
- all of the batter is released (scraping funnel with a rubber spatula
- if needed).
- Fry for 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Drain on paper
- towels. Repeat with remaining batter. Dust with confectioners’
- sugar; serve warm. Yield: 6 servings.
I just couldn’t get super-hot walking around without getting a caramel dipped juicy apple on a stick. Many fair foods are on sticks or in small cups or holders because they want you to keep moving to get to that next ride and then I’d search for the carousel were you could sit, relax and munch on your favorite food like these Carnival Caramel Apples
- 1/2 cup butter, cubed
- 2 cups packed brown sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- Dash salt
- 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 10 to 12 Popsicle sticks
- 10 to 12 medium tart apples, washed and dried
- 1 cup salted peanuts, chopped
- In a large heavy saucepan, melt butter; add the brown sugar, corn
- syrup and salt. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture comes
- to a boil, about 10-12 minutes. Stir in milk. Cook and stir until a
- candy thermometer reads 248° (firm-ball stage). Remove from the
- heat; stir in vanilla.
- Insert Popsicle sticks into apples. Dip each apple into hot caramel
- mixture; turn to coat. Dip bottom of apples into peanuts. Place on
- greased waxed paper until set. Yield: 10-12 apples.
Forget about that gold ring, my prize was having FUN with my friends!