Heat 2 to 3 inches of oil in a Dutch oven or deep cast-iron skillet to 365 degrees F.
Mix the pancake mix, cocoa and confectioners' sugar in a medium bowl. Add the amount of water called for in the pancake mix package directions plus 5 drops red food coloring. Whisk together until well combined. Add more food coloring as needed to turn the batter a deep red.
Dip about a third of the cookies in the batter, turning to coat. Let the excess batter drip back into the bowl, then carefully add the cookies to the hot oil. Fry until puffed and crisp, turning once, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain on a paper-towel-lined plate. Repeat with the remaining cookies in two more batches, allowing the oil to return to 365 degrees between batches.
Dust the cookies with confectioners' sugar and serve hot
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