Located in Elysburg, PA - a sleepy little town in the middle of coal country - is a little gem of a family amusement park. I have been enjoying Knoebels for almost all of my years and love to see how excited our children are to continue the tradition. The atmosphere is family-centered, the rides range from antique to modern, the crowds are diverse, and the food is awesome! Yes, I realize I'm a little obsessed with good food, but let me tell you - the food here is award-winning. For the past eleven years, Knoebels has earned the golden ticket from Amusement Today magazine for best park food.
The kids had a blast on all of the different rides. Josh and Emma loved the roller coaster, the Phoenix, the most. Kate likes a little more of a tame ride - and enjoyed the bumper cars and bumper boats. The kids even went through the haunted house with my parents.
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As a child, we used to camp at Knoebels and spend an entire weekend. I'm not really a camping person, but I've heard that many people enjoy the campgrounds. There is a huge pool with diving boards and waterslides, but we typically skip that part in favor of the riding and the eating!
We so enjoyed our time at Knoebels as a family and with my mom and dad. We missed having my sister and her husband with us this year, but I'm hoping to make a version of "the Antonio" for them when they come home again.
The Antonio was a dessert selection in one of the themed food pavilions. Basically, it's a deep fried tortilla bowl with cinnamon and sugar, vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce, whipped cream and a cherry. And, as predictable as I am, I was intent on recreating it the next night. I made a few variations, of course. It was too hot to deep fry (I always deep fry outside, on the few times I do it, to cut down on the smell). I decided to brush canola oil on the tortillas and simply bake them. I used a recipe from the Barefoot Contessa for a decadent caramel sauce, and I made fresh whipped cream with cinnamon. The reviews were rave - everyone liked my version better than the original! This is such an easy and tasty treat - make it before summer ends.
1. brush flour tortillas with canola oil. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Place tortilla into a bowl and bake for 5 minutes at 400 degrees.
2. top cooled bowl with vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce, and cinnamon whipped cream.
3. Other variations: hot fudge sauce, toasted coconut, various flavors of ice cream, chopped nuts, etc.
Ina's Caramel Sauce
* 1 1/2 cups sugar
* 1/3 cup water
* 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
* 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Mix the water and sugar in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until the sugar dissolves. Do not stir. Increase the heat to medium and boil uncovered until the sugar turns a warm chestnut brown (about 350 degrees F on a candy thermometer), about 5 to 7 minutes, gently swirling the pan to stir the mixture. Be careful – the mixture is extremely hot! Watch the mixture very carefully at the end, as it will go from caramel to burnt very quickly. Turn off the heat. Stand back to avoid splattering and slowly add the cream and vanilla. Don't worry - the cream will bubble violently and the caramel will solidify.
Simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until the caramel dissolves and the sauce is smooth, about 2 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature, at least 4 hours. It will thicken as it sits.
Oh, and in case you're interested, Knoebels has a whole page dedicated to their food. Check it out here
I can't recommend this park enough. Admission is free, pay as you go. There were seven of us and we rode a lot of rides - our total, including food (a sit-down dinner was included) was $150. seriously.