Vegan MoFo 2017 – Day 2: Junk Food!!

Funnel Cake - the ultimate junk food!

Funnel Cake topped with Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream, Pecan Pralines and Caramel Sauce

Oh, Funnel Cakes! No carnival or theme park would be complete without a concession selling these glorious treats. Unfortunately, none of them are ever vegan. We thought we’d tackle today’s ‘Junk Food’ theme by creating an over-the-top version that will satisfy anyone. Still hot from the oil, we’ve topped it with a generous dusting of homemade icing sugar, crumbled pecan pralines, scoops of pumpkin pie ice cream (I can’t wait to show you how we made it), and rich, creamy caramel sauce. Confession, it takes a bit of work to put all of this together, but it is so worth it! If you have a countertop deep fryer, now is a great time to use it. If not, don’t fear, you can fry these in a large pot, but please take a minute to read through the fryer safety instructions I provided with another recipe here.  After working in restaurants for over 15 years, I have seen people do some crazy things with deep fryers…so please take a minute to read through so that you won’t burn yourself or set your kitchen on fire 🙂

Here we go, folks. Keep your arms and legs inside the kitchen until the cooking comes to a complete stop!  Enjoy the sugar-rush and hopefully the crash is worth the insane deliciousness that is headed your way!  Because let’s be honest, this is most definitely junk food!

Funnel Cake - the ultimate junk food!

Funnel Cake topped with Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream, Pecan Pralines and Caramel Sauce
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4 serving, at least!
Ingredients
Funnel Cakes
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¾ cup non-dairy milk (if it’s unsweetened, add 1 tablespoon of cane sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Vegetable oil for frying
Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream
  • 1 500ml tub plain Vegan Ice Cream, we used President’s Choice Coconut Ice Cream
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling (that usually contains eggs)
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar or maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
Pecan Pralines
  • 1 cup granulated cane sugar
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 1 tablespoon vegan butter or refined coconut oil
Caramel Sauce
  • 12 tablespoons/150g granulated cane sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • ¼ teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons glucose or corn syrup (will help keep it from crystallizing. If you plan on using the sauce soon after you make it, you can leave this out)
  • ½ cup Soy Cream (combine 6 tablespoons unsweetened soy milk and 2 tablespoons melted refined coconut oil in a blender, blend until emulsified)
  • 2 tablespoons homemade Vegan Butter, commercial margarine or refined coconut oil
Icing Sugar
  • 1 cup cane sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch
Instructions
Start with the Icing Sugar, Ice Cream and Pralines
Icing Sugar
  1. Combine the cane sugar and cornstarch together in the dry hopper of a high speed blender (we use a VitaMix)
  2. Start blending on low speed, quickly increasing to full speed. Blend until the sugar has reached a powdered consistency.
Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream (a catering trick that makes amazing, unique ice cream flavors)
  1. Allow the Ice Cream to soften at room temperature until it is semi soft, but nowhere near completely melted.
  2. Add it to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment – or mix it by hand with a spatula in a deep mixing bowl.
  3. On low speed, mix until it is well softened and smooth.
  4. Combine the pumpkin puree, sweetener and spices. Add to the mixer.
  5. Continue mixing (by machine or by hand) until everything is uniformly combined.
  6. Scoop the ice cream from the bowl, returning most of it to its original packaging, or place it in its own container. Cover and let it harden in the freezer for at least a couple of hours. Remove it from the freezer about 30 minutes before serving and Voila! You have pumpkin-pie ice cream!
Pecan Pralines
  1. You will need a candy or instant-read thermometer for this recipe.
  2. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment and oil it lightly.
  3. Place the cane sugar, coconut milk and baking soda in a pot that can hold more than double the volume of these three ingredients. The baking soda renders the base alkaline so it turns a deep brown colour. In the process, it foams up a lot! And it gets very hot, so you don’t want it spilling.
  4. Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring frequently. It won’t take long to boil, when it does, lower the heat to low. If you have a heat diffuser, now would be a good time to use it. You want the heat nice and low so the candy-making process happens slowly. A deeper toffee flavour will develop that way.
  5. Stir occasionally while the mixture cooks. The colour will deepen to a rich toffee brown and the temperature will rise. When it hits 235F, remove the pot from the heat. If it has reached that temperature before the colour has deepened fully, let it cool for 10 minutes and start to heat it again, removing it from the heat when it reaches 235F. The whole process should take 15-20 minutes, so don’t rush it.
  6. When the colour and temperature are right, stir in the pecans, then the vegan butter.
  7. Turn out on to a parchment line baking sheet and smooth. It will harden quickly, so try to work quickly.
  8. Allow it to cool completely. Once cool and firm, you can break it into small pieces.
Caramel Sauce
  1. Caramel gets very, very hot. Please be careful as you handle it.
  2. Combine the sugar, water and lemon juice in a small pot. Bring it to a boil over medium heat.
  3. Using a basting brush dipped in clean water, brush the inside walls of the pot to dissolve any sugar crystals. Caramel has a nasty habit of crystallizing (going grainy at best, solidifying at worst) when it cools. Sugar granules left on the side of the pot with almost always cause crystallizing, so brushing them away with a little water helps to eliminate them.
  4. Stir in the glucose or corn syrup. (Either of these will help stabilize the caramel and protect it from crystallizing. It’s an important ingredient if you plan on chilling the caramel to use later. If you plan on making it and serving it soon thereafter, it’s not as necessary)
  5. Stop stirring at this point (stirring encourages the sugars to crystallize and can make your sauce grainy)
  6. Let it cook until it reaches a nice medium golden colour. Very dark caramel is quite bitter and light golden caramel has a weak flavour.
  7. Once you are happy with the colour, remove the pot from the heat and pour in the soy cream. It will bubble very vigorously, so watch out for splatters. Remember, caramel is very, very hot (way above water’s boiling point), so please, be careful.
  8. Once the bubbling has subsided, stir everything together until it is smooth. Sometimes caramel will seize and some bits will be left floating in the mix. Just return the pan to the heat and let is simmer briefly while stirring, that will take care of that.
  9. Off the heat, stir in the vegan butter. Keep warm while you make the funnel cakes.
Funnel Cakes
  1. If you have a countertop fryer, now’s the time to use it! If not, you can use a pot, but it is important to be mindful of what you are doing to avoid dangerous spills or grease fires.
  2. Make the batter before heating the oil.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg in a medium bowl.
  4. Combine the non-dairy milk, sugar (if needed) and vanilla. Pour this wet mix into the dry ingredients. Whisk until it is smooth.
  5. While you are whisking, you will notice that the batter gets a little stiffer. This is important. You need a bit of developed gluten to help keep it together when it hits the hot oil. It should be able to be poured in a nice solid stream.
  6. The two best options to get the batter to the oil are either through a funnel or from a squeeze bottle. You can save leftover ketchup bottles for this, they work quite well. If you are using a squeeze bottle (what we used), carefully pour the batter from the bowl into the bottle. Replace the cap and set aside while the oil heats. If you are using a funnel, you’ll need to wait until the oil is hot, then pour the batter into the funnel, using your finger to block the hole.
  7. Heat the oil to 350F
  8. With the nozzle of the squeeze bottle or funnel near the center of the oil, let the batter flow into the oil in a steady stream (you’ll need to squeeze the squeeze bottle).
  9. Begin moving the batter flow around the oil in a circle, then in some random zig zags, until you’ve used up a quarter of the batter. There is no right way to do this, but as you make a few, you will figure out the best speed and style for you.
  10. After a bit more than a minute, and no more than two minutes, carefully flip the funnel cake. Cook for a minute longer. Remove the funnel cake with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined pan or plate.
  11. Let the oil come back to 350F and repeat for the remaining three funnel cakes.
  12. Once they are all cooked, turn off your fryer, or remove the pot of oil from the burner (important if using electric elements) and place the lid on the pot. This is to keep the oil safely out of the way until it cools, which can easily take an hour or more
Put it all together and Feast!
  1. Place one funnel cake in the centre of a large plate
  2. Dust it heavily with icing sugar. Really go for it, you know you want to.
  3. Scoop some of the pumpkin pie ice cream on top.
  4. Sprinkle some pralines over and around everything.
  5. Top with a generous drizzle of warm caramel sauce.
  6. Dig in and enjoy! You’ve earned it.


 

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8 Comments

  • Reply
    Jenny
    October 3, 2017 at 1:45 am

    This is insane! I have such a sweet tooth, this is really calling to me. Either funnel cake has never made it to the UK or it’s just passed me by somehow, but I’m suddenly desperate to try it!

    • Reply
      Two Happy Rabbits
      October 3, 2017 at 11:08 am

      Do it! Funnel cakes are delicious. They do seem to be more of a North American thing. We have a peach fritter on the blog that’s also really good. Peach Fritter Recipe

  • Reply
    Kelly
    October 5, 2017 at 6:39 pm

    Oh my gosh, this is next-level junk food. Amazing!

    • Reply
      Two Happy Rabbits
      October 5, 2017 at 10:29 pm

      Thanks, Kelly!

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    Priya
    October 9, 2017 at 8:36 am

    Looks delicious! Love the idea of topping funnel cake with ice cream Followed the link through Vegan MoFo.

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      Two Happy Rabbits
      October 9, 2017 at 12:32 pm

      Thanks, Priya!

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