You know you’ve gotten older when the state fair starts to look less and less like fun and more and more like a stinky, sweaty, overpriced, death trap.
I am really pretty embarrassed to admit that I ever even liked going to the fair at all. These days, I dread it.
I dread those rickety carnival rides that look to be one loose screw away from a major catastrophe. I’m not even going to start in on the people actually running the rides. The people that essentially have lives in their very hands.
I dread those game vendors and their stupid stuffed animals. Stuffed animals?? At least give away video games or something my kid would actually use. Heck, a free Coke even. Because I can’t afford the ones the concession people are selling.
And another thing: heat…and farm animals….is a bad combination. For the people who are trying to breathe anyways. Which I am. It’s sorta necessary in order to stay alive.
But the worst thing…the very worst thing of all…is the amount of money we have to pay in order to experience these joys.
That’s what parents do, though. We pay way too much for things we hate. We stand in the heat. We buy drinks in huge ridiculous plastic cups. We carry giant stuffed frogs around while we sweat.
What’s wrong with us???
What is wrong with us.
Here’s an idea. Next time the fair rolls around and the kids start in on their begging, give them a cotton candy cupcake and send them outside in the heat with a hundred bucks. Heck, I’ve even got a field full of cows across the street if you want some manure to make it more authentic. After they get good and hot, proceed to go outside and scream at them to throw their money away.
Ok, that might make our kids hate us. But it would be a pretty authentic fair experience, yes?
How’s this instead: Make them a big batch of cotton candy cupcakes and beg them to let you take them to a nice air conditioned store and buy them a toy.
This whole plan might have a better chance at success if I actually gave you the cupcake recipe. Here it is:
Adapted from: Hello, Cupcake
1 box (18.25 oz) Duncan Hines French Vanilla cake mix
1 cup buttermilk (in place of water called for on box)
Vegetable oil (amount called for on box)
4 large eggs (in place of number called for on box)
About 1/4 teaspoon cotton candy flavoring
Pink/Blue food coloring or gel color
Cotton Candy Crunch Topping
Preheat oven to 350. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners. (I used these from Bake It Pretty–they are a bit larger and you will only get about 12 if you use them instead)
Put the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until moistened, about 30 seconds. Increase the speed to high and beat until thick, about 2 minutes longer.
Divide the batter evenly between two bowls and color one half blue and the other half pink. Spoon pink and blue batter alternately into liners until a little over half full.
It should look something like this:
Place cupcakes in the oven and bake until tops spring back when lightly touched. Remove cupcakes from baking pans and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
You can use your favorite frosting for these, but if you’d like to use mine:
2 sticks butter, softened to room temperature
About 3 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar
A few tablespoons corn syrup
Beat butter, milk, and vanilla on medium speed until well blended. Scrape down sides of mixer and add powdered sugar. Beat on low until blended, then increase speed to medium high and beat for about a minute. Check frosting consistency and add enough corn syrup to make it easy to spread. Beat about 2 more minutes, or until well combined and very fluffy.
Frost cooled cupcakes and top with Cotton Candy Crunch.
Here’s to smart parents.