In a bowl, combine eggs, milk, potato flakes (if using) and vanilla, whisking until foamy. In another bowl, sift flour, baking powder, mace and salt. Sifting helps improve the texture and lightness of funnel cakes and is a step that shouldn't be skipped!
Stir brown sugar into the sifted flour mixture until no streaks remain.
Stir the dry ingredients into the egg mixture, then beat on medium speed until the batter is smooth and no lumps remain. (Lumps may clog up the funnel).
Adjust the consistency of the batter - if it pours too easily and is too thin, add a tablespoon more of flour (at a time) until the batter thickens; if the batter is too thick and doesn't pour easily, thin it with a tablespoon or so of milk until it pours easily. Batter should have the consistency of heavy pancake batter.
In a heavy cast iron pan or in a deep fryer, heat the oil to 375°F. You'll need a large funnel with an opening about the size of your index finger. Silicone funnels are convenient to use because you can pinch them shut, or use a funnel cake funnel made specifically for the purpose, or any funnel will do, if you are able to hold your finger over the bottom to keep the batter from flowing.
When the oil is at the right temperature, fill the funnel with batter (use a small amount at first until you get the hang of it), then remove your finger and drop batter into the hot oil, forming swirls and squiggles in a criss-cross fashion, moving constantly (from the outside in works well). Fry funnel cakes for about 3 minutes, then turn over with a slotted spoon and fry until the both sides are golden. Remove using a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Combine confectioners' sugar with cinnamon and sprinkle over the still warm funnel cakes using a shaker or put the cinnamon sugar into a clean brown paper bag and toss the funnel cakes in the bag to coat.
Serve with strawberry or chocolate syrup drizzled over the top and whipped cream.
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