Have fair foods at any time

Published 9:51 am Thursday, September 27, 2018

By Stephanie Williams Dean

Bless Your Spoon


In my mind, the fall season is inextricably connected to bazaars, carnivals, and fairs. Who’s not already anticipating sensory overload of sights, sounds, and smells that promise to overwhelm us as we sprint down the midway, making our way to the clusters of candy confectioners at the fair. Each year, we anxiously anticipate having to make that deliciously difficult decision – the choice between a fresh apple dripping in a maple flavored, creamy caramel or the shiny, bright red, candy-coated one that beckons – both engaging the senses.  Giving nod to a favorite childhood tradition, we no longer have to wait until fall to enjoy those candy confections on a stick. Let’s bring the fair home with some homemade versions of classic carnival favorites.


1 cup flour

2/3 cup cornmeal

2 Tbsp. sugar

1 ½ tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. shortening

1 Tbsp. honey

1 beaten egg

¾ cup milk

10 beef wieners

All-purpose flour

Vegetable oil

10 wooden skewers

In a mixer, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix well. Cut in the shortening. In another mixing bowl, combine honey, egg, and milk. Mix well. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture, and mix well until there are no lumps. Make sure wieners are at room temperature and dried with paper towel. Dust with flour before dipping. Holding the skewer, dip wieners into the cornmeal batter. In a fryer or electric skillet, deep fry wieners      375-degrees until golden brown. Drain on paper towel.


2 beaten eggs

¼ cup sugar

1 1/3 cups milk

2 ½ cups self-rising flour

Vegetable oil

Powdered sugar

In a mixer, beat eggs. Add sugar, milk, and flour. Mix until smooth. In an electric skillet, heat    ½-inch of oil to 375-degrees. Covering hole at the bottom of a funnel, pour ¼ cup of batter into the funnel. Holding funnel over skillet, remove your finger and release batter into hot oil. Move in a circular motion to form a 5-inch diameter spiral. Fry one minute, turn, and fry until golden brown. Drain on paper towel. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Makes cakes.


6 medium Granny Smith Apples

1 cup sugar

½ cup light corn syrup

1 can sweetened condensed milk

¼ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. maple extract

Insert wooden stick in stem end of apple. In a heavy saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, milk, salt, and extract over low heat. Cook while stirring until mixture reaches soft ball stage or       230-degrees on candy thermometer. Remove from heat and let stand until mixture stops boiling. Dip each apple into mixture quickly, and swirl until evenly coated. With sticks up, place apples on a buttered baking sheet or waxed paper to cool.


6 quarts popped corn (1 cup unpopped)

Butter to grease pan

1 cup melted, salted butter

2 cups packed, dark brown sugar

½ cup golden corn syrup

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Butter a large, shallow roasting pan. Put already popped popcorn in pan. In a saucepan, melt butter. Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Bring to a boil while stirring constantly. Then, boil without stirring for 5 minutes to a hard ball stage using candy thermometer to 250-degrees. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda. (The caramel will foam up when soda is added so be careful.) Add vanilla and blend all well. Pour hot caramel over popcorn in a thin stream, and mix well with a wooden spoon. Place pan in a 250-degree oven and bake for one hour stirring every 15 minutes. Cool completely. Stores for one month in air right containers.


3 cups white sugar

1 ½ cups cold water

½ cup light corn syrup

½ tsp. salt

½ stick salted butter

1 ½ pounds skinned Spanish peanuts

1 heaping tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. vanilla

Grease an aluminum cooking sheet. In a heavy skillet, combine sugar, water, syrup, and salt. Cover, cook, and boil 5 minutes while stirring constantly. Uncover. Bring to a boil again to 240-degrees on a candy thermometer. Add butter and peanuts. Bring to a boil again to 284-degrees on thermometer and then remove from stove. Combine soda with vanilla, and add to mixture, stirring for 5 minutes. Pour out on any smooth, buttered surface. Turn and stretch out thin as soon as you can handle. Cool. Break into pieces and store in a tin.  (Best made on a cool and sunny day.)


1-8 oz. plain milk chocolate bar

2 oz. unsweetened chocolate squares

12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 cups chopped pecans

1-16 oz.jar of marshmallow cream

1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

1-13 oz. can evaporated milk

4 ½ cups sugar

½ cup butter

½ cup margarine

In a mixing bowl, break the chocolate bar and chocolate squares into small pieces. Add the chocolate chips, nuts, marshmallow crème, and vanilla. Mix well.  In a large, heavy saucepan, add evaporated milk, sugar, butter, and margarine, and bring mixture to a full boil. Continue to cook at a full, rolling boil for 6 minutes. Pour over the chocolate mixture in the bowl. Stir until chocolate is melted and all ingredients are blended. Pour into 2 greased 9 x 12 x 2 inch pans to set. Cut into squares when cool. Makes 4 lbs.


8 medium, red apples

2 cups sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

½ cup water

½ cup red cinnamon candies

5 drops red food coloring (optional)

Wooden sticks

Insert wooden sticks in stem end of apples. In a deep, heavy saucepan, cook sugar, syrup, and water over low heat until mixture boils and sugar dissolves. Boil without stirring to 250-degrees on candy thermometer. Add the cinnamon candy and continue to cook until mixture reaches 285-degrees. Remove from heat and stir in food coloring. Hold each apple by stick, quickly dip in mixture and swirl to coat evenly. Allow excess to drip off. With sticks up, place on greased baking sheet to cool. Syrup may be reheated if it cools too quickly.


2 cups white sugar

1 box dark brown sugar

2/3 cup white corn syrup

½ pt. whipping cream

½ cup milk

Pinch of salt

1/3 cup white sugar, caramelized

1 stick butter

2 tsp. vanilla

2 cups chopped pecans.

Pecan halves.

In a heavy pot, combine 2 cups white sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, cream, milk, and salt, and heat until boiling. In a separate pan, add 1/3 cup white sugar and heat until it caramelizes. Add caramelized sugar to original sugar mixture and continue cooking until mixture forms a soft ball stage or candy thermometer registers 240 degrees. Remove from stove and stir in butter and vanilla. Beat until it begins to thicken. Stir in nuts. Drop by teaspoonful on wax paper. Put pecan halve on top.

In a pot, combine sugars and milk. Cook mixture until soft ball stage or 234 degrees. Add pecans; Cook 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir pecans into syrup until well mixed. Drop by a teaspoon on wax paper. Cool. When hardened, store in air-tight container.


8 cups salted, popped popcorn

½ cup pecan halves

1-3oz. package sliced almonds

½ cup butter

½ cup firmly packed, light brown sugar

½ tsp. salt

Place the popped popcorn in a large bowl and set aside. In a 350-degree oven, toast the pecans and almonds on a cookie sheet. Add the toasted nuts to the popcorn. In a saucepan, combine the butter, sugar, and salt. Melt, but do not boil. Pour the butter mixture over the popcorn/nut mixture, and stir with wooden spoon until well coated. Spread out thin on a cookie sheet. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 10 minutes. Cool and remove from the baking sheet. As it cools, it gets crisp.


1 half gallon carton premium vanilla ice cream

15 ice pop sticks

1 (12 oz.) pkg. semisweet chocolate chips

½ cup vegetable oil

Chopped peanuts

Unwrap carton from ice cream. With a hot knife that has been heated in water for 3 minutes, cut ice cream lengthwise into thirds. Then cut ice cream deep into fifths. Insert a stick in end of each fiddlestick. Return ice cream to freezer and make sure ice cream is very cold. In a deep saucepan, melt the chocolate and oil together, stirring to mix well. Don’t burn. You can use double boiler or microwave, too. Cool. Remove ice cream bars from freezer. Working quickly and one at a time, dip the bars in the chocolate mixture. Sprinkle with chopped nuts before the chocolate sets up.  Place each bar on a wax paper covered tray and return to freezer. Makes 15.


2 cups sugar

2/3 cup milk

1 pt. marshmallow crème

1 cup quality peanut butter

1 tsp. vanilla

In a deep saucepan, mix the sugar and milk together. Cook while stirring to a boil and soft ball stage or 240-degrees on candy thermometer. Remove from heat. Add the marshmallow crème, peanut butter, and vanilla. Mix well. Pour into a buttered 6 x 10-inch pan. Cut into 2-inch squares. Makes 2 lbs.


1 cup sugar

1 cup packed, light brown sugar

2 Tbsp. light corn syrup

1 cup light cream

½ tsp. baking soda

1 Tbsp. butter

2 cups toasted pecan halves

In a heavy saucepan, combine sugars, corn syrup, cream, and baking soda. Bring to boil and cook over medium heat while stirring with wooden spoon.  Cook until mixture reaches soft ball stage or 240-degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Stir in pecans. Beat with a spoon while mixture is thickening until temp is around 220-degrees. Mixture can be rewarmed by placing over low heat. Drop quickly by tablespoons of 2 ½ inches diameter for pralines on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Allow to harden. Makes 30.

Hints: Make candy when weather is dry, cool and not humid.