I saw a post that the roadstop restaurant chain Cracker Barrel had a special funnel cake kit for ZOMBIE BRAINS. Although the serving presentation on the box looked more like Leprechaun droppings - not that there's anything wrong with that - I thought I could make it better.
The problem is, no CB around and to get to the nearest one would cost about 30 bucks in tolls just to get out and back into NYC. So I set out to make my own funnel cake kit and Zombie Brains funnel cake.
Step 1: Fresh From the Store to Your Cupboard...
I hypothesized that the funnel cake batter mix was the same thing as the all-in-one pancake mix I had used for my Fried Monkey Brain Jelly Donuts.
I still had the vat of frying oil too. It was still good to go since I had used a coffee filter to get out all the slaggy bits from the last frying session and it wasn't foaming to need a dose of restaurant grade Dimethylpolysiloxane.
I had a spare condiment squeeze bottle to use as the dispenser since I didn't have that nettie-pot watering can pouring container traditionally used for funnel cakes.
I tried to fill up the bottle first with the dry pancake mix and then add water.
I then added a few drops of green food coloring to make it ghoulish.
I shook up the bottle to mix it but I had to get a bamboo skewer in there to scrape off the sides for an even mix.
I covered up the the opening at tip with my fingers as I shook the bottle. Be careful when you let go as a trapped air bubble might force out a bit of batter that ended up plugging the tip of the bottle.
It's best to mix in a bowl first and then funnel the batter into the squeeze bottle.
Step 2: Experimentation...
Since a brain usually has two halves, I thought I would make a divider that would help form the funnel cake into two halves.
I just cut up a disposable foil pie tin and bent it to shape.
Place the divider in the oil and make sure it doesn't float. And be extra sure it is dry if you had rinsed it off after fabrication. Water and hot oil will splatter and can burn you.
Heat up the pot of oil to around 350 degrees F, maybe a little less to keep things from browning too fast.
If you are using a medium pot as your frying vessel, the use of the divider might make it hard to grab the funnel cake to turn it over because the space is tight. Two floppy lobes are hard to manipulate with just a wooden spoon. I ended up doing the halves of the brain freehand and making each lobe separately.
To make a funnel cake, just pour a steady stream of batter into the hot frying oil. It will expand a bit when it cooks. Like a coffee barista with the steamed milk in your cappucino just draw with the batter in squiggly lines to make the brain shape.
You will have to experiment with the thickness of your batter. I initially had a runny mix and when it went into the oil, I got a whole bunch of little green bits. I really couldn't see in the squeeze bottle how the mix turned out. I added more pancake mix to thicken up the batter,
What I learned today...
Funnel cake making is an art and science.
For extruding the batter, you have to be consistent and have the nozzle size, flow rate, and material viscosity all adjusted for optimal product fabrication.
Get a feel for when to flip your funnel cake over so that both sides are evenly browned or cooked.
When cooked, drain on paper towels to absorb the excess oil.
You can dust with powdered sugar if desired.