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|Alternative name(s)||fry dough
|Place of origin||Canada|
|Course||Breakfast, dessert, or snack|
|Main ingredient(s)||Yeast dough|
|Variations||zeppole and others|
Fried dough is a North American food associated with outdoor food stands in carnivals, amusement parks, fairs, rodeos, and seaside resorts (though it can be made at home). Fried dough is the specific name for a particular variety of fried bread made of a yeast dough; see the accompanying images for an example of use on carnival-booth signs. Fried dough is also known as fry dough, fry bread, fried bread, doughboys, elephant ears, scones, frying saucers, buñuelos in the case of smaller pieces. These foods are virtually identical to each other, and recognizably different from other fried dough foods such as doughnuts, beignets, or fritters.
In Canada, pieces of fried dough are sometimes called beaver tails. According to Bill Castleman, a writer of books on Canadian word origins, the name referred to quick-baked dough "especially in early 19th-century places where people might camp for one night and where there was no frying pan." In 1978, Pam & Grant Hooker of Ottawa, Ontario founded the BeaverTails chain of restaurants specializing in the sale of fried dough pastries which are hand stretched to the shape of a beaver's tail.
A smaller Italian variant common in North America is the zeppole.
Similar food is found in Europe, also typically from outdoor stands in fairs. For example, in continental Croatia fried dough is known as languši.
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The dough may then be sprinkled with a variety of toppings, such as granulated sugar, powdered sugar, cinnamon, fruit sauce, chocolate sauce, cheese, maple syrup, whipped cream, tomato sauce, garlic butter, lemon juice, honey, butter, nuts, or a combination of these.
See also 
- Bill Castleman. "Canadian Food Words". Retrieved 2006-12-17.
- Russell Frank, Explorations in the Far North University of Iowa, 1898. p. 39.
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- St. Petersburg (Florida) Times article, Distinction between funnel cakes and elephant ears