Make these for your next party and watch them disappear faster than you can say "funnel cake." The ice cream add-ins are suggestions, but you can use whatever you like--such as chopped candy bars, toasted and chopped nuts, or marshmallows. You can also roll the edges in toppings like sprinkles, graham cracker crumbs, or crushed Oreos. Keep in mind that hot oil is critical to a crispy funnel cake, so use a candy thermometer to monitor and maintain the oil's temperature.
Serves 7 (serving size: 1 ice-cream sandwich)
1. Prepare the Ice Cream: Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place softened ice cream in a large bowl; stir in candy. Spread ice cream into prepared baking sheet. Cover with parchment paper, and freeze until solid, about 1 hour.
2. Meanwhile, prepare the Funnel Cakes: Fill a 12- to 14-inch cast-iron skillet halfway with canola oil. Heat oil over medium-high to 375°F, and maintain temperature throughout frying.
3. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk together milk, vanilla, and eggs in a small bowl. Add milk mixture to flour mixture, and whisk until well combined. (A few small lumps are okay.) Pour batter into a large squeeze bottle with a 1/4-inch opening or a wet measuring cup with a spout.
4. Hold bottle 1 to 2 inches above hot oil, and squeeze about 1/4 cup batter into oil in a circular motion, crossing over lines to create a 4-inch cake. Repeat process twice, to make 3 cakes. Fry cakes until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. (Fry no more than 3 funnel cakes at a time to help control oil temperature.) Drain cakes on paper towels. Repeat process with remaining batter to make 14 cakes, making sure oil returns to 375°F between batches. Cool cakes completely before assembling, about 20 minutes.
5. Assemble Ice-Cream Sandwiches: Cut frozen ice cream into 7 (4-inch) rounds. Reserve remaining ice cream for another use. Place each ice cream round between 2 funnel cakes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, and serve immediately.