Fried foods, fresh corn set tone for the fair

County, state fairs offer a plethora of tasty treats that you can replicate at home throughout the year

Prepare for fair time this year by making at-home versions of some of your favorite fair foods.

After all, the Ozaukee County Fair opens Wednesday and the Wisconsin State Fair follows on Thursday.

Fair food is casual fare, the type you can eat while perusing the exhibits and visiting the midway. Sweet corn, burgers, brats and traditional summer treats are typical at these events, but a new phenomenon seems here to stay — deep fried or grilled foods on a stick, perfect for strolling crowds or children who seem to love anything served in bite-sized pieces.

You can get just about anything on a stick, or so it seems. Deep-fried snacks such as Twinkies and candy bars join such mealtime entrees as spaghetti and meatballs and shish kabobs and desserts like miniature pies on a stick.

You can replicate the idea at home, although you can make it a more healthy meal by grilling the foods instead of deep frying them.

For an entree, try making a deconstructed cheeseburger, fajita or your favorite sandwich. Grilled cheese sandwich wedges can be threaded onto a skewer and grilled, too.

For an easy take on a classic meal, try meatballs on a stick. Depending on the type of meatball, a dipping sauce can enhance the flavor. Or make chicken nuggets on a stick with ranch dressing on the side.

For a breakfast, place squares of French toast on a stick with fresh fruit or slices of ham or Canadian bacon between them. A little syrup can be served on the side.

The final course can be dessert, as simple as grilled fruit on a stick or as extravagant as a Black Forest skewer with layers of cherries and cake dipped in melted chocolate. They can be enjoyed on their own or with a bowl of ice cream.

Strawberry shortcake is another dessert that can easily be deconstructed. Just place a shortcake round on a skewer, add a dollop of whipped cream and a piece of strawberry. Top with another dollop of whipped cream and another shortcake round, chill and serve.

Of course, not all fair foods come on a stick. There are plenty of finger foods that fall under the definition, from corn fritters to deep-fried mac and cheese shells to cream puffs.

Following are recipes from



Fried Mac N Cheese Bites


3 cups prepared macaroni and cheese, chilled

1 cup shredded cheese



2 eggs

1-1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs

2 cups oil

Ranch, marinara or other dipping sauce


In a bowl, combine mac and cheese and shredded cheese. Scoop into 1-1/2-inch balls and place on a baking sheet. Freeze for 15 minutes.

Beat two eggs in a bowl with a little water.

Place panko in a separate bowl.

Remove balls from the freezer, dip in egg wash, then roll in panko until completely coated, then place on baking sheet. Return balls to the freezer and heat the oil to 375 degrees. Fry the balls, three to four at a time, for two minutes, until golden brown.

Serve warm with dipping sauce.




Bacon Wrapped Corn on the Cob


8 ears corn

3 pounds bacon slices

1 bunch basil, leaves only

2 jalapeño peppers


Place six or seven slices bacon on a 13-by-18-inch piece of parchment paper, slightly overlapping the strips, fat-side against meat-side, to form a rough rectangle that is as wide as an ear of corn is long.

Cover with another sheet of parchment paper and pound lightly with a meat mallet or small sauté pan to flatten the bacon and press it together.

Remove the top sheet of parchment and lay 10 to 12 small pieces of basil and a few slices of jalapeño pepper on bacon. Place one ear of corn across the bottom of the rectangle and roll the corn in the bacon.

Transfer corn to the baking sheet, laying it seam side down. Repeat with the remaining corn. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for eight to 24 hours.

Heat a grill to medium  and grill the corn, starting seam side down. Turn by a quarter turn every five minutes until the bacon is crisp and caramelized and the corn is tender, 25 to 30 minutes total.

Corn on the cob is delicious served ​with a charred lime crema.




Loaded Waffle Fries


4 cups frozen waffle-cut fries

1/2 to 1-1/2 teaspoons steak seasoning

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

2 tablespoons chopped green onions

2 tablespoons bacon bits


Arrange waffle fries in a greased 15x10x1-inch pan and bake in a 450-degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until lightly browned.

Sprinkle with steak seasoning and toss to combine. Top with cheese, onions and bacon bits, then bake two to three minutes, until cheese is melted.





Crispy Fried Dill Pickles


12 sandwich-sliced dill pickles

1 to 2 cups panko breadcrumbs


For batter:

1 cup flour

1 cup milk

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 egg

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon dill, optional


Combine batter ingredients and stir until smooth. Let sit five minutes.

Dab pickle slices on paper towels to dry. Place 1/2 cup or more panko breadcrumbs in a bowl.

Dip each pickle slice in the batter, then gently toss in the breadcrumbs. Let sit for a minute or two so crumbs stick better.

Heat oil to between 360 to 370 degrees and fry pickles for three to four minutes, until brown and crispy.

Serve with ranch dip.



Chocolate Covered Bacon


12 strips bacon

1 pound chocolate or chocolate candy coating

Flaked sea salt, chopped nuts or other toppings


Prepare bacon according to package directions until crispy. Drain fat and let cool, then pat both sides with a paper towel to remove excess fat.

Melt chocolate in a double boiler or in microwave. If you are using real chocolate, temper it.

Holding a strip of bacon at the top, dip most of it into melted chocolate or use a spoon to pour melted chocolate over bacon until both sides are covered.

Lay chocolate-dipped bacon on a tray or plate covered with waxed paper. Sprinkle top with flaked sea salt, chopped toasted nuts or other toppings before chocolate hardens.

Refrigerate about 15 minutes. Once set, let bacon come to room temperature and serve.



Churro Bites


1 cup water

8 tablespoons butter

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1-1/4 cups flour

3 eggs

1-1/2 cups vegetable or canola oil

1/2 cup sugar


Combine water, butter, salt, and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring pot to rolling boil, then reduce heat to low.

Add flour and stir vigorously until mix forms a ball. Remove from heat and let the mixture sit for five to seven minutes.

Add eggs to the batter one at a time and mix until combined. Set aside.

In a medium skillet or small saucepan, heat oil to 350 degrees over medium-high heat.

Spoon dough into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe an inch of dough over the skillet and carefully slice with a knife so it drops gently into the oil. Repeat until the skillet is filled with churro bites.

Fry until churros turn golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and place them in a bowl lined with paper towels.

In a bowl, mix sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Coat churros in the cinnamon-sugar mixture.




Deep Fried Oreos


2 quarts vegetable oil

1 cup biscuit mix

2/3 cup milk

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

1 egg

15 Oreo cookies

Powdered sugar


Fill a deep skillet or Dutch oven two to three inches deep with vegetable oil. Heat over medium heat until it reaches 350 degrees.

Whisk biscuit mix, milk, one teaspoon vegetable oil and egg together.

Working in batches of three, drop each cookie into the batter, then using a fork, remove from the batter, tapping off excess, and place directly into the hot oil. Fry three minutes on each side, until golden brown.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the fried cookies from the oil and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.

When cooled, dust with powdered sugar.




Homemade Funnel Cake


1/4 cup milk

1 egg

1 tablespoon water

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon sugar

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 pinch salt

1/2 cup flour

4 tablespoons powdered sugar


In a large liquid measuring cup or batter bowl with a spout, whisk together milk, egg, water and vanilla. Add sugar, baking powder and salt and whisk until combined.

Add flour, and whisk until completely smooth. Set aside.

In a medium, deep-sided pan or pot, heat one inch oil to 375 degrees over medium-high heat. When you put the end of a wooden spoon in the pot and bubbles form around the spoon, reduce heat to medium.

Drizzle batter from cup in a thin line, swirling around the pan and overlapping as desired. Cook two minutes, until light golden brown, then flip and cook another two minutes, until golden brown.

Dust with two tablespoons powdered sugar and serve. Repeat with the remaining batter.



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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
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