Churros, mildly crunchy, tender sticks of fried dough, are a typical breakfast treat in many Hispanic countries. Interestingly, these light, crisp “Mexican crullers” get their rise not from yeast, not from baking powder… but from eggs.
Instructions for Dough
- Combine the water, butter, and salt in a medium-sized saucepan, heat until the butter has melted, and bring to a rolling boil.
- Remove the pan from the heat, and add the flour all at once, stirring vigorously.
- Return the pan to the burner and cook over medium heat, stirring all the while, until the mixture smooths out and follows the spoon around the pan; this should take less than a minute.
- Remove the pan from the heat, and let the mixture cool for 5 to 10 minutes. It’ll still feel hot, but you should be able to hold a finger in it for a few seconds. If you have an instant-read thermometer, the temperature should be below 125°F.
- Transfer the mixture to a mixer, and beat in the cinnamon, if you’re using it; then the eggs one at a time. The batter will look curdled at first, but when you add the last egg it should become smooth. Beat for at least 2 minutes after adding the last egg.
- Next, you have a choice of piping the batter into hot oil immediately, which will yield curved or S-shape churros; or piping it onto a piece of parchment and freezing for 30 minutes, which will make straight, stick-like churros.
Instructions for the Frying
- To pipe immediately: Pour a generous 4 cups vegetable oil (peanut oil preferred) into a 10″ electric frying pan or heavy skillet set over a burner; the oil should be about 5/8″ deep. If you use a smaller or larger pan, add oil to a depth of between 1/2″ and 3/4″.
- While you’re heating the oil to 375°F, spoon the batter into a pastry bag fitted with a star tip. The star tip will give your churros their signature grooved surface. A 1/4″ star is typically included in a basic pastry set; this will yield churros about 3/4″ in diameter. If you’re looking for fatter, 1″ churros, use a wider star tip.
- Pipe a line of batter about 6″ long into the hot oil. It’s virtually impossible to pipe a straight line; you’ll see. Pipe 5 or so churros at a time into the oil; don’t crowd them, as they’ll lower the temperature of the oil too much.
- Fry the churros for about 2 minutes on each side, until they’re a light golden brown, and are cooked all the way through.
- Transfer fried churros to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain. Repeat until you’ve used all the batter.
- To freeze churros before frying: Pipe the batter in 6″ straight lines onto a piece of parchment. Place the parchment on a pan, and put the pan in the freezer. Freeze churros for 20 to 30 minutes, until they’re stiff enough that you can pick them up off the parchment.
- Fry frozen churros as directed above, about 2 1/2 minutes per side. Remove from the oil, and drain on paper towels.
- Sprinkle churros heavily with cinnamon-sugar, stirring gently to coat. Or spoon cinnamon-sugar into a plastic or paper bag large enough to hold churros without crowding, and gently shake, about 6 at a time, to coat with the sugar.
- Serve immediately. Or cool to room temperature, and store airtight for several days. Reheat in a 350°F oven for about 10 minutes before serving.
- Yield: about 5 1/2 dozen 6″ to 7″ churros; fewer if you use a larger star tip for piping.