Fresh, hot funnel cakes are one of the many delights found at carnivals, fairs and swap meets. However, unlike cotton candy and other midway treats, it’s not hard to make funnel cakes at home, especially since the technique is simple and no special equipment is needed. If you don’t have a funnel, you can create funnel cakes with a pastry bag or a plastic zipper bag with one corner cut off. Making funnel cakes out of pancake batter is the quickest and simplest way to enjoy the hot, sweet treat without leaving home.
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Fill a frying pan with 2 to 3 inches of canola or vegetable oil and set it over medium-high heat.
Prepare the pancake mix and water in a large bowl according to the instructions on the mix's package. The mix doesn't have to be altered for use with funnel cakes, so just follow the directions.
Ladle the pancake batter into a pastry bag if you are using one. Alternatively, position the funnel over the frying pan when the oil is hot enough to send a drop of water sizzling and skipping across its surface and ladle the pancake batter into it.
Squeeze or funnel the pancake batter into the hot oil in long, thin, snaky shapes; create a casual circular pattern with the shapes.
Let the funnel cake batter cook until it starts to brown on the bottom.
Flip the dough carefully with a pancake turner to cook the opposite side.
Remove the funnel cake to a plate lined with a paper towel and sprinkle it with confectioner’s sugar.