Going Over-the-Top at the Big Top — Chopped After Hours

Show: Chopped

Chopped: After Hours host Ted Allen talks to Chefs Alex Guarnaschelli, Ron Ben-Israel and Scott Conant about their mandatory ingredients: popcorn, sour cream, funnel cake and a blue snow cone, as seen on Food Network's Chopped: After Hours.

Photo by: David Lang ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

David Lang, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Chopped: After Hours

After Hours: Circus 07:35

Chopped judges Alex, Scott and Ron cook with snow cones and funnel cake.

The circus is filled with amazing attractions and fun amusements, but lest we forget there's also the food: corn dogs, cotton candy, peanuts, candy apples and more. This week's episode of Chopped was a special Circus Spectacular theme, with basket ingredients that evoked the big top. Judges Alex, Scott and special guest judge Sweet Genius Ron Ben-Israel took up spots in the Chopped kitchen for an After Hours competition. They faced cooking with the basket ingredients from the dessert round, which included a snow cone, popcorn, a funnel cake and sour cream.

On the show, the competitors embraced the childhood fun of the dessert basket ingredients and reimagined them in unique ways. The judges followed suit and created playful dishes that exemplified the joy of going to the circus as a kid. Right off the bat, Alex decided to bake cookies and make sorbet out of the snow cone and sour cream so she could create ice cream sandwiches. She thought it best evoked the fun of "getting it all running down your hands while you're watching the circus."

Scott opted to incorporate the funnel cake into a new cake with the flavors of peanut butter, which calls up memories of eating peanuts in the stands. Alex loved its savory appeal and determined that the whipped cream made the dish, exclaiming, "When in doubt, make whipped cream." Ron, the celebrated pastry chef, created a towering Napoleon out of the funnel cake and layered it with two mousses made from caramel and sour cream. His spicy kettle corn was a big hit and kept the dessert from going in too sweet of a direction, which he said "blocks the palate." In fact, all the judges made a version of either caramel corn or kettle corn to decorate their plates, truly making the dishes a feast for the eyes ó just like the circus!

Click the play button on the video above to watch the entire After Hours episode and see the dishes Alex, Scott and Ron created. Then browse behind-the-scenes images for an insider's look at the cooking.

Start a conversation with fellow fans and tell FN Dish in the comments below how you would have approached this circus basket: What would you make out of a snow cone, popcorn, a funnel cake and sour cream?

Catch up on past Chopped After Hours episodes by watching all the Web-exclusive battles online.

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