Nana’s Kitchen: The County Fair and Deep Fried Oreos
Greetings, home cooks, welcome to Nana’s Kitchen.
This week begins the Meigs County Fair. Like fairs all over Ohio and other states, fair boards are busy for a year planning and implementing the event. Horse races, tractor pulls, grand stand entertainment, king and queen choosing, 4-H projects-from food to animals, parades, flowers, crafts, photography and much more are just a hint at what is managed at the fair. Many people plan all year for this event.
We have a gentleman by the name of Elkana Watson to thanks for the beginning of the county fair in he U.S. The first fair was held in Pittsfield, Massachusetts (Berkshire County) in 1807. This early fair was small consisting of sheep shearing demonstrations. Watson raised sheep and wished to stimulate discussion on best practice and stimulate competition. At his urging farmers began to showcase their livestock in public gatherings. Watson developed his vision for the fair to include activities for everyone and having merchants present and sell goods. The fair in Berkshire County has been happening since its inception in 1807.
When you go to the fair, what attracts you? Is it the animals and exhibits, race track and grand stand activities, rides, or games? Or could it be fair food? Fair food…. Where to begin? Let’s just skip to the chase. People spend hours at the fair to all day. One does get hungry and thirsty. As time has progressed food has taken on a life of its own. Deep frying seems to be a common thread. There is deep fried butter, deep fried Buckeyes, deep fried pizza, deep fried candy bars, fried pickle and fried Oreos to mention a few. Other foods include whole turkey legs, pop corn, fry bread, pulled pork sandwiches, sausage sandwiches, cinnamon rolls, fried mac and cheese, strawberry shortcake, and the eternal cotton candy ( originally called fairy floss or candy floss). Oh, I forgot corn dogs,funnel cake, hot dogs, Dippin dots, shaved ice, and sweet fresh lemonade. This is just the tip of the offerings around the country. Foods served can be specific to local tradition and cuisine. How about a Krispy Kreme triple cheeseburger. I know, really? Maybe fried chicken in a waffle cone. There is a deep fried Slim Fast bar if calories are a concern.
I thought it would be fun to try my hand at a deep fried treat. Since Oreo cookies are tasty on their own what would a deep fried one taste like?
Deep Fried Oreo Cookies
-18 Oreo cookies
-oil for deep fat frying
– 1 cup biscuit/baking mix
– 1 large egg
– 1/2 cup milk- whole or 2%
– One teaspoon vanilla extract
– Confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar)
– 4 inch wooden skewers
On each of the cookies insert a wooden skewer. Placing through the filling part. Freeze until firm, at least an hour or longer.
In a deep fryer, deep cast iron skillet or heavy bottom pot heat oil to 375 degrees.
Place biscuit mix in a shallow bowl. Whisk, in a separate bowl, the egg and milk and add to biscuit mix. Stir till moistened.
Holding skewer, dip cookie in batter, coating on both sides. Shake off excess.
Fry cookies a few at a time, until golden brown – one to two minutes on each side.
Drain on paper towels. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.
First let me say that a warm Oreo cookie with fried batter and powdered sugar is wonderful. It is addictive. I can see why once a year is enough for this treat. Decadent.
Used 12 inch skewers in a large cook pot and it worked just fine.
Used a candy thermometer to gauge the temperature of the oil.
A wooden spoon end placed in the oil will have bubbles around the spoon indicating it is ready as another test method.
Do attend these closely. They get brown quickly.
The oil,after cooling well, can be salvaged by straining to remove debris/sediment and reused one or two times. I place mine in a size appropriate jar with a tight fitting lid. It does not need to be refrigerated. The color of the oil does change with use.
The county fair is a mushroom city.
One day it is an open field; the next day, a kaleidoscope: Poultry and stock exhibit, pink lemonade stands and tintype galleries. Sweet smells of cakes, cookies, and pies mingle with the pungent odor of sawdust, straw and hay.
A merry-go-round begins its whirl, creaking on its hinges and piping tunes like an old fiddler.
-Blue Ribbon Recipes County Fair Winners (1968)