CHURROS

In the U.S., I’ve seen several different versions of churros. Make no mistake: none of them are very authentic. Some make my stomach churn at the thought (think theme park churros filled with chocolate or fruit-flavored goo), while others are passable for some quick cinnamon-sugar satisfaction during a desperate moment. It’s important to fry the pastry dough just right because if they’re over-fried, they’re just no good.

Churros WEB

churros

Several years ago when José and I were still dating, I made my first trip to the legendary Churrería El Moro in Mexico City. Founded in 1935, this cultural culinary gem is more than just a 75-year-old churro depot. It’s an incredible experience. The storefront has a big glass window so you can watch the churros being made. That alone makes it worth the trip. In fact, even famous Chicago-based chef Rick Bayless is rumored to have stood outside El Moro for hours upon hours when planning the concept for his new quick eatery, Xoco.

The waitresses at El Moro wear mustard-yellow diner uniforms with white trim and aprons. The blue, white and yellow patterned tiles, stained glass and yellow stucco walls inside are elements of any dream I have had dealing with churros ever since. (Yes, I dream about churros.) It’s all a part of the experience. With four types of hot chocolate to choose from and for the equivalent of a few dollars, you can’t go wrong when ordering churros y chocolate, especially in the chilly winter months. (And yes–Mexico City gets cold in the winter! I frequently get asked about this. The temperature in December can get as chilly as the low 30s, or around 0 degrees Celcius.)

Visiting El Moro conjures warm fuzzy feelings about Mexico for me–and not just because of the fresh-from-the-fryer churros and steaming hot chocolate. Something about the place transports me back in time, to a Mexico City before I even really knew it. It’s hard to explain, but it’s one of the many places that makes me feel really at home in Mexico.

Though to this day José won’t eat churros from anywhere but El Moro, this recipe has been a hit among family and friends of ours looking for a little taste of Mexico in the States. It is the result of experimenting with many other recipes and mixing and matching ingredients until I got a consistency and taste I liked. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

RECETA:

ChurroDough WEB

flour, cinnamon and salt for the pastry dough

FOR CHURROS

  • 1 ¼ c water
  • 3 ½ tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp light brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1.42 liters of vegetable oil for frying

FOR SUGAR TO DUST CHURROS (prepare before you begin cooking):

  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon or more to taste
  • pour into a shallow dish and set aside

Bring water, butter, brown sugar and salt to a quick boil. Remove from heat. Mix cinnamon into flour and add to liquid. Stir in vanilla extract and mix thoroughly until the dough pulls away from the sides of the pan. Set aside for a few minutes to cool.

PastryBag WEB

pastry bag (tip attached without a coupler)

Prepare your pastry bag by attaching the tip to the bag with a coupler. I use a star-shaped 1M metal tip made by Wilton and an 18” canvas pastry bag (that has a plastic liner inside) made by Ateco. Both pieces are inexpensive; you’ll spend about $8-10 total and you can find them at most cooking supply stores that sell cake decorating kits. I don’t recommend disposable plastic pastry bags because the plastic is too thin and with the thick consistency of the dough, the plastic could easily rip. You’ll also want to use a coupler to attach the tip to the pastry bag for the same reason. The tip could otherwise pop right out of the bag if you don’t secure it with the coupler. Fold the top of the pastry bag down halfway to make it easy to spoon the dough in once it’s ready.

Start heating the oil in a deep pot (to avoid splatter) on low heat. Pour the whole 1.42 liter bottle into the pot and save the plastic bottle. Beat the eggs together in a separate dish. Start incorporating the egg into the dough until it becomes smooth and the dough looks matte. The dough will be very dense. Spoon it into the pastry bag and push it down toward the tip. When you’ve got all the dough in the pastry bag, fold the top of the bag up and twist it to close and start piping the dough.

Before you pipe out a whole churro, squeeze the bag to produce a 1-inch piece and drop directly from the bag into the hot oil. If it floats to the top after a few seconds and looks like it’s frying with bubbles around it, the oil is hot enough. If it doesn’t float, the oil needs to be hotter (don’t turn the heat up, just wait longer; turning the heat up can cause splattering). When the oil is ready, pipe your churros directly into the pot. If you have trouble getting the end of the churro to break off from the tip, you can scrape it off with a sharp knife or just use your finger. You can pipe a few churros into the pot at a time.

PastryTip WEB

1M star-shaped metal pastry tip

Fry them until they start to look golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove from the oil using a slotted spoon or a mesh skimmer and let them drain on a plate with paper towels. After the paper towels have absorbed the extra oil from frying, place the churros into the shallow dish with the cinnamon sugar mixture and shake the dish to cover all sides of the churro. Serve immediately.

If you have leftovers, reheat in the oven at 350 degrees for 5 minutes. Do not microwave to reheat.

Yields about 6 servings (a few pieces for each person).

Once the oil has cooled, use a funnel to pour it back into the bottle for either reuse or disposal.

  • How do you like your churros?
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Comments

  1. says

    maura,

    i have been looking for a churro recipe. You know how I love my fried treats. I want to try this over the weekend.

    ps. is there a way to “follow” your blog or is that just with blogger?

    pps. i saw an app on another food blog where you can print the recipes on one page…we should add to our blogs…i want to print this recipe with your awesome pics but i want it on one page…i want it ALL..bwahaha.

    • Maura Hernández says

      Hi Tammy! They’re super easy except for the pastry bag, and I really recommend using a coupler because I split a pastry bag trying to squeeze the dough through without one. Had to buy a new pastry bag. Following is only with blogger, but I’m working on offering subscription via email for those who like to keep up with what’s going on here if you’d like to follow along that way.
      Love the idea of the app on the other food blog for printing out the recipes and photos on one page. Can you email me a link to it so I can check it out?

  2. says

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe. I agree the piping bag is sometimes difficult to get used to. You can actually get a little tube type aparatus that looks like a big syringe.

    You simply fill this up with a spoon and screw the lid on and squirt this into your oil. Great for begginers or cooking with kids.

    Keep up the great churro recipes!

  3. Diane Rodriguez says

    I made your churro recipe this morning. I used a Churrera with the large star plate to form the churros and an electric fryer set at 350 to cook them. The dough was delicious, but they were gooey on the inside, crispy on the outside. I fried them longer–same problem. I upped the heat to 375 and then the outside got too dark, but the inside was still gooey, even after about 7-8 minutes. Any suggestions?

    • Maura Hernández says

      I’ve never actually used an electric fryer or a thermometer in the oil so I can’t speak to weather the temperature was the issue or not. How thick did you pipe them? Did they look like the churros in the photo I show above? I’ve done this recipe many, many times both on my own and teaching friends how to do it, and the only time we’ve ever had an issue with them being gooey was if the person I was teaching piped them out too thick.

      • Diane Rodriguez says

        Hi Maura,
        I made them with the large star of the Churrera–1″ diameter. I’ve had home made churros this diameter before. Perhaps the thermometer in the fryer was off and the temp was actually hotter than 350? Most churro recipes that give an oil temp call for 375–but at 375 the oil started to smoke–so that’s not good either.

      • Maura Hernández says

        Hi Diane, because I use a visual method described above to decipher the oil temperature rather than using an actual thermometer, I’m afraid I can’t answer whether the oil temperature is the definite reason why your churros didn’t cook through.

        Have you tried practicing with ready-to-mix churro dough? I found that practicing with the cheaper dough helped me improve and have a consistent technique for piping and when I moved to the slightly thicker, homemade dough, I just had to be careful of the pressure on the pastry bag and to have a knife handy to cut them off the end of the tip (since the dough tends to be sticky). Though the 1M star tip has the ability to pipe thicker churros, you can see in my photo above that I like to pipe them skinny and short (mostly for dunking purposes in my coffee mug).

        Let me know if you try them again; I’d be curious if you have the same issue or if everything is fine a second time. After making this recipe dozens of times and having no issue with the insides being gooey, I’m not sure if you’re experiencing a fluke or if this is something other readers may have experienced, too. You could try using slightly less flour (so as to reduce the stickiness/density) but I’m not completely convinced that will fix the problem if it’s not just a fluke that you had a bad batch.

  4. Diane Rodriguez says

    I made your recipe again. This time I tried both the large star tip and the small star tip. Also, I put a frying thermometer into the electric fryer. My electric fryer does not maintain temperature well and to get 350, you have to set it to 375–however, the churros still bubbled away, even at the lower temp.

    The large star tip produced a gooey interior again, the small did not–in fact at first I over-cooked them. So, with this recipe, the large star tip does not work. It works fine for the Spanish churro recipes without eggs. But it’s probably the eggs that make these churros taste so much better than the ones in Spain.

    I like the large-diameter churros at the “Oaxacan Kitchen” in Palo Alto, CA. I asked them what they did, and I was told they hold the churros down under the oil while they are cooking and do not allow them to float to the top.

    Thanks for the recipe!
    Diane Catalano de Rodriguez

  5. Maura Wall Hernandez says

    Diane, thanks for sharing your findings. The 1M star tip that I originally recommended using with this recipe is on the smaller side. I’ll have to experiment with larger diameter and holding them under the oil – will let you know what happens.

  6. Dinora says

    I made your recipe for the churros this morning for my family. The churros were delicious!
    My daughter was so happy that she told me to send you a hug!!

    Thanks for sharing it. I am looking forward to trying more of your recipes,

    Dinora

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