We do several thousand funnel cakes per year and I think we’re pretty good at it. Advice:
–We use quart squeeze bottles with the spouts clipped so there is a 1/4″ diameter hole. These only hold enough batter for 3-4 funnel cakes so we have a LOT of bottles. Before a busy gig I mix the batter up in advance, sometimes five gallons at a time, and refill the bottles as required.
–Batter viscosity is extremely important and you want it thick. You want to be able to reliably lay the batter down in 1/4″ ropes which will drop to the bottom of the oil and melt together before they rise to the surface and cook. If your batter is shooting to the top of the fryer in little pillows that aren’t holding together, your batter is too thin.
–Basic motion is to weave the batter, back and forth, side to side, as if you were drawing a grid. You want some space in the grid so the oil can do its work. Don’t over-pack it. We don’t get too fussy about filling in holes.
–CHILL the batter. It increases viscosity and keeps the batter at a consistent temperature. It also prevents the batter from “working” out the top of the bottles before you cook it which is a huge mess and PITA. I keep the big store of batter in a cooler on ice and I store the bottles in the fridge.
–If your funnel cakes aren’t cohesive enough to turn over with tongs, that is not unusual and it’s certainly not a death sentence. We typically turn them over with flattish strainers because that way we don’t have mishaps. If one breaks up, so what. Finish cooking it, arrange it on the plate and dose it with sugar. Customers do not care.
–If you make the batter from scratch it is far more profitable and makes for a superior product. It also does away with most of the skimming. I think all that peppery looking black soot is caused by egg powder in these pre-fab mixes.
1 part beaten egg (we use the pasteurized eggs sold by the quart from the restaurant supply, it’s worth the cost)
1 part whole milk
1/2 part white sugar
Jolt of vanilla, about a teaspoon per quart. We’re going for a batter that tastes exactly like melted vanilla ice cream
Add self-rising flour until the consistency is right.
We mix the batter up in old Italian Ice buckets with these hand mixers you get for $7 at Kroger. I used to get the whole planetary mixer thing cranked up but the hand mixers do the job even if it takes longer, they store in a tiny tiny space and they’re far easier to clean.