Churro French Toast

If you’ve ever wanted to eat churros for breakfast, prepare yourself because all your dreams are about to come true. This recipe for churro french toast is one near and dear to my heart and also one of my favorite dishes from my childhood.

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In the town where I grew up just outside of Chicago, there was a restaurant we often went for breakfast or brunch, and churro french toast was my favorite thing on the menu. To this day, when I go home for a visit, I still order this dish. Now that I live too far away to go home very often, I’ve recreated a version of their recipe that tastes almost identical. They serve it drizzled with a caramel sauce, making it even more decadent. Make no mistake—it’s not a healthy dish by any means. It’s absolutely indulgent. But I guarantee if you love churros, you will love this recipe. And this dish is sure to be popular with your kids since it’s got a pastry-like quality to it that’s so delicious and sinful, they won’t believe you’re serving it to them for breakfast.

I like to serve this dish with sliced fruit and when I make it at home, I usually prefer to forgo the caramel sauce or syrup because it’s sweet and decadent enough without any syrup for me. A child-size serving is two sticks; three for adults. I can’t be held responsible if your family never wants to eat anything else for Sunday breakfast again!

A couple of notes on ingredients (includes some affiliate links):

  • To make your own cinnamon sugar easily, just measure out the amount of sugar called for in the recipe (I like Zulka brand Mexican cane sugar) and add ground cinnamon a half-teaspoon at a time, to taste, until you reach your desired ratio.
  • I always use challah (egg bread) for this dish, as it’s what was used in the original restaurant recipe and has the closest taste and texture to the inside of a churro, in my opinion.
  • I use safflower oil for frying because it’s a bit healthier choice, and is stable at high heat levels (read: it doesn’t splatter the way other hot oils do when frying, and it doesn’t stink up your kitchen like vegetable oil).
  • I prefer to use real vanilla beans for the concentrated, natural taste. If you don’t have those, in order of preference for substituting, you can use 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or 3/4 to one teaspoon of pure vanilla extract…. 

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Coconut milk and chia pudding

Chia seeds aren’t just for aguas frescas, and today I’m sharing with you a super easy, delicious and healthy dessert recipe for coconut milk and chia pudding.

This recipe is dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan-friendly.

This coconut chia pudding recipe is a simple Mexican dessert with only three ingredients: chia seeds, coconut milk and sugar. This recipe is dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan-friendly. | Get more Mexican recipes on theothersideofthetortilla.com

I love chia seeds. Not in the way that some people mean when they say they love something… I mean I really LOVE chia seeds. I consume them nearly every day of the week and they’re a great source for fiber and Omega-3 fatty acids, and even have some protein. They have been used for centuries, including by the Mayans and Aztecs. In present-day Mexico, you’re most likely to notice chia seeds floating in an agua fresca.

I know you must be thinking there can’t be that many ways to use them, but trust me when I say there are so many great things you can do! One of my favorites is to use them to make this tapioca-like pudding with coconut milk. It’s a flavorful and not-too-sweet dessert that any coconut lover will enjoy. And a few bonuses: this recipe is dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan-friendly! Once the chia seeds develop their gel and you refrigerate the jar, it will get firm and set more like a traditional pudding. If you try to eat it too soon, it won’t be the right consistency.

This coconut chia pudding recipe is a simple Mexican dessert with only three ingredients: chia seeds, coconut milk and sugar. This recipe is dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan-friendly. | Get more Mexican recipes on theothersideofthetortilla.com… 

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AGUA FRESCA: Agua de fresa y mango

Although May is National Strawberry Month, the grocery stores seem to suddenly be overflowing with ripe strawberries in the last week or so. We love strawberries in our house, but when you buy a few pounds of them at once because they’re inexpensive, what can you do with them other than eat them? Turn them into an agua fresca, of course! You want to be sure that your strawberries are red, ripe and fragrant to use them for this recipe. If they’re super sweet, you may want to decrease the amount of sugar in the simple syrup in the recipe; it’s a matter of personal taste how sweet you like the agua to be. Mango adds a sweet and summery twist to this classic agua de fresa recipe. If you don’t like mango, you can leave it out and increase the amount of strawberries by about one-third of a pound.

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A few notes about this recipe: This particular agua fresca is a little bit thicker consistency than others due to the mango flesh. You can dilute it with additional water if you like, but the consistency of the recipe written here makes it more Colima-style. You should use yellow mangoes rather than the green and magenta-colored ones (a variety called Tommy Atkins, mostly grown in Florida, and known in Spanish as petacón because of the big-bottomed shape) usually available in most grocery stores.

The yellow mangoes you’ll find in the U.S. are mostly Ataulfo mangoes and are very similar to Manila mangoes in taste and look, and both have very thin seeds, meaning you’ll get more mango flesh. (Manila are the yellow variety most commonly available in Mexico City that we’re used to eating when we’re there.) Both Ataulfo and Manila mangoes have sweet, creamy flesh that practically melts in your mouth and are not fibrous like the Tommy Atkins variety, which can be tough if not ripe or stringy due to the fibers. Ataulfo mangoes are in season from March to July; they should be yellow to yellow-orange in color with no black spots, and they’re perfectly ripe when the flesh gives a little (just like with a peach) and the skin starts to wrinkle just a bit…. 

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Pumpkin flan

Pumpkin flan made with cream cheese is a decadent alternative to pumpkin pie or other Thanksgiving treats if you’re looking to add a little Mexican flair to your holiday table.

In fact, pumpkin flan is a dish I’ve added to our family’s holiday traditions only in recent years but it’s often gobbled up faster than the pumpkin pie and other available desserts. There may or may not even have been a fight two years ago over who got the last piece!

This recipe is for small, individual-sized portions, baked in ramekins. You can double the recipe if you have more guests. I like to use these souffle ramekins from Cost Plus World Market that are 3.5 inches across and about 2.5 inches deep. If you prefer to make one big flan, depending on the depth of the dish, you may need to adjust the baking time. It’s also a little more substantial with a thicker consistency than most flan, so it’s best to let it sit out for about 15 minutes before serving.

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Ponche de Tamarindo

The holidays are coming and the weather’s getting cooler, which means I’m already starting my countdown to Christmas and las posadas Navideñas in Mexico.

A few weekends ago, I attended the Kenmore blogger summit here in Chicago where I participated in a day of cooking challenges with some old and new food blogger friends. You can check out my team’s recipes at cookmore.com (but a heads up that they’re not Mexican recipes). My favorite team challenge was one where we had to create a beverage using a slow cooker. Naturally, I suggested we make a spinoff of my warm winter margarita recipe, but with a few modifications since tequila wasn’t an ingredient option.

Our creation was a spiced brandy apple cider that wowed the judges and won us the competition; my guess as to why the recipe was such a success is probably because it had more than a little piquete of brandy, wink wink. I’ve been tinkering with some new holiday recipes recently, and the challenge inspired me to adapt a ponche de tamarindo recipe with brandy that I’ve been working on for the slow cooker.

The punch has two tart elements: whole tamarind pods and flor de jamaica (hibiscus flowers), which are mellowed by the sweetness of the guava and piloncillo. The cinnamon and brandy give a woody depth, and overall, it’s a satisfying drink to warm you up on a cold night. And of course, it’d be perfect to serve for your posadas…. 

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