Thursday, September 4, 2008

Frugal Friday -- funnel cakes

In my very first Frugal Friday post I talked about the importance of contentment. Another important quality when desiring to live frugally is delayed gratification. How many people in their right mind would spend five dollars for something that costs less than a quarter? Hundreds, thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands!

I know there is more to this equation, but many, many people buy funnel cakes at fairs and ball games every summer at ridiculous prices because of the spur of the moment decision, the smell in the air, the atmosphere, a five dollar bill burning a hole in their pocket, etc. Now, I am not saying you should never pay those inflated prices, but at least some of the time it might be an opportunity to teach my kids (and remind myself) that some things taste just as good at a different time.

Delayed gratification can save us money, and help us remain content in the face of temptation. That could be the start of a great conversation with the kids while recreating a more expensive activity or food right at home.

Tonight we made a special memory by making funnel cakes at home. While the rain poured down outside (a very un-summer like day), we laughed over a pot of boiling oil and realized that if we sold our product at midway prices we would come up with a profit of over $30 for our $1 spent. To flip that around, we just had the same $30 experience for under a dollar.

Want to recreate that fair atmosphere at home, hot oil smell and all?

Here's the recipe that we used:

2 beaten eggs
1 3/4 c. milk
- (adjust this as necessary to make the batter flow through funnel opening consistently)
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 c. cooking oil (for frying)
Powdered sugar (for topping)

Mix together the eggs, milk, flour, baking powder and salt.

Heat oil in skillet to 360 degrees.

Cover the base of a funnel with your finger (hence the reason these are called funnel cakes . . .)

Add 1/2 cup of batter to funnel.

Remove finger and let batter flow into skillet with criss-cross and spiral shapes.

Fry until golden brown.

Using a wide spatula to turn cake carefully over, cooking other side to a golden brown.

Serve on paper towel to drain grease.

Sift powdered sugar on top and serve.

Warning!!!! There is nothing remotely healthy about this. We almost never eat fried foods in our household, but for that once in a rare while treat this was very frugal, easy, and fun to make together. And, the experience benefited our familial health, if not our physical health. . .

For more frugal tips, head on over to Crystal's blog for her Frugal Friday edition.


Brooke said...

i love funnel cakes - thanks for the recipe. :)

Sherry said...

LOL! We just did the same thing a couple of weeks ago as I refused to pay for them at the ball game. :D

Shynea @ Penny Pinching Diva said...

I am a lover of funnel cakes, and every time we have a fair in town I always try to go and get one. Thank you for posting this recipe. I am definitely going to try and make this as a special treat for my sons after school one day this week.

Take care!