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McKenzie Sisters and Funnel Cakes

My earliest memories of funnel cakes go back to Knot's Berry Farm, my favorite theme park to visit as a child, but the funnel cakes I remember best are those from the Rocky Mountain Funnel Cake Factory in Silverton, Colorado.

McKenzie Sisters and Funnel Cakes - MK McClintock

These super easy-to-make cakes are a thinner version from what I used to get, which is great because I can justify enjoying one by saying there are fewer calories . . . okay, we'll pretend. Funnel cakes take me back to childhood days of riding the train to Silverton and exploring the rugged mountains and nearby ghost town.

From medieval times to the Pennsylvania Dutch, funnel cakes—or a similar dessert—can be found in many cultures, which makes it tough to pinpoint exactly who invented them. While today they are a popular carnival food, it's a safe bet that Cassandra and Rose McKenzie would have enjoyed a comparable treat at some point in their adventures.

McKenzie Sisters and Funnel Cakes - MK McClintock - writer in the kitchen


A excerpt from

The Case of the Copper King

THERE ARE WORSE ways to die.

Those words flickered through Casey’s mind as she sat atop a pretty quarter horse. Its rich, golden coat and mane and tail of white, with a few dark strands blended in, suited the sprightly mare. Her personality had won Casey over in the stockyard, and while she still thought her the prettiest horse she’d ever seen, Casey expected to be tossed over her head at any moment.

“How are you doing back there?”

The long valley spread far in two directions, flanked by rolling mountains covered in rich, green pine and aspens in shades of pale yellow and dark gold. The sun granted them with its glorious presence from the moment they boarded the train in Durango. Crisp air filled her lungs, and for a few moments, as she sat atop the horse, Casey thought herself in paradise.

What a shame it would be to mar such beauty with Quinn’s dead body.


“I heard you,” she mumbled.

He slowed his horse until hers was abreast of them. “You’re not still vexed, are you? I thought you liked the mare. I’m told she’s a new purchase from, and I quote, ‘a citified gent who didn’t make it out of his first saloon fight.’”

Her I like just fine.”

“How does someone in your line of work not ride?”

“The advent of trains has made it possible for me to enjoy them while both my feet are on the ground.” Casey adjusted her seat and veered the mare a few inches to the right to avoid a sharp-edged rock.

“You know how to ride.”

“I never said I couldn’t.” Casey pulled gently on the reins to stop the horse and held out a hand. “Let me see your map again.”

“You studied it for twenty minutes on the train.” Quinn handed it over. “We’re going in the right direction.”

“You hope we are. Unless cartographer is part of your vast resume, I intend to remain skeptical.” Casey consulted the watch she’d pinned to her vest that morning and looked back at the map. “We got off the train in Hermosa—”

“Clever how you got the conductor to take the time for us to disembark there.”

“Railroads like the Pinkertons. Now, we have ridden approximately one mile south, and according to your map, we should be close to the first mysterious marking.” She folded the small map and handed it back to him. “There aren’t any known mines around here. You convinced them to add a stock car for the horses. Curious how that was arranged before I knew there would be horses.”

She encouraged the mare back into a steady walk and studied the terrain and mountainsides for signs of caves, burrows, drills, or anything else that could indicate a mining operation.

Known mines is the key,” Quinn said. “We’re looking for unknown. I thought you liked puzzles.”

“I do. I also like to solve cases, and even though . . .”

Quinn drew his gelding alongside the mare. “What do you see?”

“Look at the tall pine directly in front of you, then follow the tree line to the left. Does that look like a shadow to you or—”

“A cave.”

Casey’s leg muscles burned from the short time spent in the saddle, and she swore when this case ended, she would never ride a horse again. But the case wasn’t anywhere close to over, so with heels down and legs straight she squeezed inward with her calves to get the horse moving again. Another light use of pressure and the mare shifted into a gentle canter, then a gallop. Casey held on tight and tried to remember the long-ago lessons about balance, but after a few minutes, instinct took over and she enjoyed the ride.

Quinn’s gelding advanced and gained on her mare, which turned out to be fortuitous since Casey’s memory seemed to be momentarily devoid of any knowledge on how to stop.

“You’ll have to explain to me sometime your aversion to horses.”

It took Casey a few seconds to catch her breath enough before she could respond. Quinn did not appear to have the same difficulty. “Solve the case before me, and I will answer any single question you want.”

He didn’t smile, but it was close. “And what boon do you get if you solve the case first?”

“The same. Any question.”

©MK McClintock


I hope you make time every now and then to escape into a good book and relax. We are too often pressured to keep up grueling work paces, either from necessity or expectation, and forget that the quiet moments of peace are often even more important.

The Beverage: Gypsy Cold Care tea from Traditional Medicinals

From the Kitchen: You can download a printable PDF on the recipes page.


I'm a funnel cake purist, so only a dusting of powdered sugar for me, thank you, but one of the great things about funnel cakes is their versatility. You can drizzle a light chocolate sauce on top, or a berry puree. Serve with your favorite ice cream, or go international with a wide variety of options. I’ve seen recipes where funnel cakes are used with hamburgers or served with mustard and bacon. No one will ever convince that tastes good, but hey, if you're feeling adventurous, give them all a try.



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