[Photograph: Alexandra Penfold]

Labor Day has come and gone and it's full on fair season. Time for caramel apples, cotton candy, and corn dogs. If your Tilt-A-Whirl days are behind you, there's no reason you have to give up all of the fried goodness. Not when you can make the king of fair food, the funnel cake, at home.

Gourmet Live credits the Pennsylvania Dutch as the architects of the funnel cake—a lightly sweetened, airy and crisp fried confection that's dusted with confectioner's sugar. At state fairs, funnel cakes are enormous, paper plate-sized affairs that are made by pouring batter from a funnel in a winding circular pattern over hot oil. Traditional recipes call for a fairly standard batter: flour, eggs, sugar, milk, baking soda or baking powder, but I discovered that you can make awesome funnel cakes with "complete" buttermilk pancake mix. (What, you think the county fair funnel cake stands are whipping these up from scratch in the late summer heat?). Easy peasy. I like to doctor my mix with a touch of sugar and vanilla.

One of the benefits of making funnel cakes at home is you can control the size of your cake, not to mention top it as you please. Hello, funnel cake ice cream sundae!

How do you like your funnel cake?

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Easy Funnel Cake »

Got a favorite classic American dessert recipe you'd like to see featured here? Email us with the subject: "American Classics."

About the author: Alexandra Penfold is mild-mannered children's book editor by day, food ninja by night. Never one to skip dessert she's the Brownie half of Blondie & Brownie and a Midtown Lunch contributor. You can follow her on Twitter at @blondiebrownie.


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