As the winter chill blows in and the holidays are upon us, you’re probably wishing for some of that bygone summer sunshine right now. If you’re feeling nostalgic for summer food, use fryers to recreate your favorite fried recipes from the county fair. Yes, there are plenty of winter foods to satisfy your fried cravings (see fried stuffing on a stick), but there is nothing like a good old-fashioned summer treat to take you back to those warmer days. And there is so much more out there in the fryers than doughnuts. The Texas State Fair, for example, holds a contest every year to determine the best, most original food among the concessionaires, and most of the contenders—and almost all of the winners for the last seven years—have been deep-fried. 2012’s winners of the Big Tex Choice Award? The trophy for Best Taste went to the “Deep-Fried Jambalaya,” and Most Creative was awarded to the “Fried Bacon Cinnamon Roll.” Heat up the fryers this winter and take a trip to those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer with these crispy dishes.
1. Deep-Fried Cotton Candy
Never was there a more classic fair food. This traditional spun-sugar treat is battered lightly in a funnel cake mix, quick-fried, and skewered.
2. Deep-Fried Oreos
Fryers all over the nation regularly fire up for this fair favorite. It’s as simple as it sounds: Oreo cookies dipped in pancake batter and deep-fried. Best served hot, the cookie itself becomes soft like the pancake surrounding it.
3. Southern Fried Pies
The fried pie has been around for over 100 years as a Southern dessert staple. More like a turnover or an empanada than a slice of traditional pie, the fried pie consists of fruit filling wrapped in pastry dough. They are served as hand pies, so pass the napkins.
4. Deep-Fried S’mores
The traditional campfire food is now even messier. Using marshmallow fluff or flat marshmallows (yes, they make them just for s’mores now), assemble chocolate, graham crackers, and marshmallow, then dip in sweet batter and fry. You might ask for “s’more,” but your arteries might say “No thank you.”
5. Deep-Fried Samoas
Your favorite Girl Scout cookie has gone rogue. The Samoa cookie (also known as a “Caramel DeLite”) is wrapped in a wonton wrapper and deep-fried to perfection, then drizzled with chocolate sauce, caramel, and coconut. “Be prepared” for a sweet, sweet heart attack.