By Kelly Bogard
It’s fair and rodeo time! The State Fair of Texas starts today in Dallas, and I can hardly wait to see what Big Tex has in store for us this year. From the sounds and lights of the midway to the warm fall breeze carrying the smells of all kinds of fried foods, I’m ready.
Each year, the fair officials hold a Big Tex Choice contest to find new fried sensations. This year, it was Fried Jell-O. I’ve had the opportunity to try a few and although many of them sound crazy, they’re pretty good. Classic fried foods are still my favorite and, contrary to popular belief, some of them aren’t too hard to make.
For Sopapillas, you will need…
4 c. flour
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/4 c. shortening
1-1/2 c. warm water
1 c. sugar
1-1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Sopapillas are a Tex-Mex favorite. A staple at most Mexican restaurants, they come in all shapes and sizes. Fluffy dough fried golden and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. These treats are great at any size, and I like to make mine in bite-sized triangles.
Start by mixing together the flour, two tablespoons of sugar, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. Next, add the shortening, pouring the warm water directly over it to help it melt down.
Mix together by hand until you have everything combined into a sticky ball. Mixing it with your hand helps you create bubbles that will help make them fluffier when frying. Cover the bowl and let it sit for about 20 minutes.
Once the dough has sat for a while, place it on a floured surface and roll it out to about 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick. Your oil can be heating in a large pan during this time. Go ahead and get your cinnamon-sugar mixture together by mixing 1 cup of sugar with the cinnamon in a small shallow dish.
Use a knife or pizza cutter to cut it into the size and shape you want.
You will want one to two inches of oil in the pan at approximately 350 degrees for optimal frying. Once the oil is hot, place a few pieces in the hot oil and fry on each side until golden. This doesn’t take long, so don’t turn your attention away from the pan.
Roll the cooked dough in the cinnamon-sugar and place on a cookie rack to cool just a bit. Repeat this process until all of the dough is fried and sugared.
These little golden pillows are perfect served warm with honey. If you make it to the state fair and happen to eat one of their fried concoctions, be sure to let me know what your favorite is. I can’t wait to try them myself. From all of us at Texas Table Top, enjoy!