Summer Fair Food: 7 Ways to Fry, Bake, or Pop Your Own Favorites

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Fair season is on its way, and vendors are getting their deep fryers ready. Some patrons visit fairgrounds just for the fatty food alone, but what they don’t realize is that they can make the same kind of fare right from the comfort of their own homes — sans the saturated fat. There’s a time and a place for everything, and certain things should be enjoyed in all of their glory (hello, deep-fried Oreos), but other fair foods can be turned healthier and made into a regular meal, rather than an indulgent one. We’re rounding up those options today.

Between homemade funnel cakes, caramel apples, corn dogs, and other fan favorites, we think your mouth will be watering by the end of this list. Fortunately for you, you won’t even have to wait until fair season to satisfy your reactivated fried food craving. You can preheat your oven now and start baking and cooking away.

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1. Baked Funnel Cakes

Perhaps the most sought-after food option at summer fairs is the famous funnel cake. Deep-fried dough heavily dusted with powdered sugar — what’s not to love? Funnel cakes are perfection but can only be eaten so many times before the fat starts to get to you in more ways than one. Luckily, unlike fried funnel cakes, you can enjoy baked funnel cakes all year round with this recipe from Recipe.comBy baking the dough instead of frying it, the funnel cake holds on to its traditional flavor while compromising some calories, and it doesn’t result in a stomachache or a night of fried food-induced cramps. This recipe proves you can have your funnel cake and eat it, too.

Ingredients:

  • nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat a very large baking sheet with cooking spray; place a wire rack over waxed paper or a large tray. Set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine the water, butter, and salt. Bring to boiling. Add flour all at once, stirring vigorously. Cook and stir until mixture forms a ball. Remove from heat. Cool for 10 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well with a wooden spoon after each addition.

Spoon dough into a large resealable plastic bag. Using scissors, snip a 1/4- to 1/2-inch hole in one corner of the bag. Pipe dough into twelve 3- to 4-inch circles on prepared baking sheet. Fill in the circles with dough swirls and crisscrosses to resemble funnel cakes. Bake about 20 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown. Transfer to the wire rack. Sift powdered sugar over warm cakes. Serve warm. Makes 12 mini funnel cakes.

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