There are a lot of reasons to love the fair, and every summer it’s one of our family’s favorite traditions. In fact, one of my first dates with my husband was a night spent strolling hand-in-hand beneath the glowing lights of the midway. He won three stuffed teddy bears for me while playing skee ball. (After 13 years of marriage and two kids, he’s still a winner in my book. I also still talk him into buying cotton candy every chance I get.)
But of course, the fair is only in town for a few days. So how do you enjoy some of those fun, festival favorites anytime of year? These seven fun carnival ideas are just the ticket!
- Fried Almond Pound Cake. Every summer at the Minnesota State Fair, you can order virtually anything deep-fried – and anything on a stick. Tater tots. Snickers® bars. Olives. Cheese. Even spaghetti and meatballs (don't ask).
Not feeling quite that adventurous? For a fun fair-inspired dessert, simply slice Absolutely Almond Pound Cake™ into large cubes. Sauté in melted butter, and serve with ice cream, fresh strawberries or warm Creamy Caramel Sauce. (You can even put ‘em on a stick – if you want!)
- Chocolate-Covered Cake Bites. Feeling extra indulgent? Try putting those pound cake cubes in the freezer and then dipping them in melted chocolate.
I heated 10 ounces Ghirardelli® Dark Melting Wafers in a small saucepan over low, dunked my cake cubes, and voila! Keep a few in your freezer for perfectly poppable snacks anytime.
- Easy Caramel Apple Slices. Open a jar of Creamy Caramel Sauce, heat gently in the microwave for 15-20 seconds, and serve warm with sliced apples and a sprinkle of chopped nuts. So simple, so good!
- Prickly Pear Lemonade. Try a grown-up twist on your favorite summertime sipper. Tart and refreshing, these pretty pink lemonade cocktails are made for spending lazy afternoons in the sunshine.
- Italian Fries. No need to stand in the line at the french fry stand. Just toss hot, crispy, fresh-from-the-oven fries with 3 tablespoons butter, 1 tablespoon Rustic Herb Seasoning and 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese.
- Cinnamon-Sugar Mini Muffins. Love the sweetness of mini donuts? For an easy alternative without the fryer, bake Cinnamon Muffin Melt Mix™ in mini muffin tins at 400°F for 10-11 minutes. You'll have melt-in-your-mouth pastries, sparkling with cinnamon-sugar – ready with only 3 ingredients!
- Mini Corn Dogs with Dipping Sauce. Did you know that you can use Bountiful Beer Bread Mix® for beer-battered corn dogs, fish, cauliflower, you name it?
Here's how to make your own hand-dipped mini corn dogs at home, step by step!
Step 1: Batter Up
Combine 2 cups of dry Bountiful Beer Bread Mix®, 12 ounces beer or club soda, and 2 teaspoons Seasoned Salt. Let stand for 10 minutes.
While the batter is resting, pour enough vegetable oil into a Dutch oven or saucepan to reach a depth of 2 inches. Heat over medium to medium-high until oil is 375°F.
Step 2: Hot Dog!
Pat 14 ounces little smoked sausages dry with a paper towel.
Dust them in ½ cup dry Bountiful Beer Bread Mix®. Working in batches, dip them in batter and carefully place in hot oil. Fry, turning occasionally, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Remove from oil with a slotted spoon, and drain on paper towels.
Step 3: Dip & Dunk
Repeat with remaining sausages. Push small wooden skewers into corn dogs, if you'd like. Serve with Champagne Garlic Honey Mustard or ketchup. Or make your own dipping sauce with ½ cup mayo and ¼ cup Smoky Bacon BBQ Sauce – it's one of my favorites!
From cotton candy to pickles to milkshakes, who knows … you just might inspire some new blue-ribbon recipes for our website!