Happy Cinco De Mayo! In honor of this day, one of my friends asked me to make a couple dozen churros for her to bring to work, and of course I happily said yes! Churros are one of my favorite things to eat, with the delicious pate a choux base, rolled in all the yummy cinnamon sugar! Yum. For most people, churros are typically only eaten when they’re at fairs or amusement parks (Can I get an amen to Disneyland churros?!) But, I remember when I was in high school and my church did a mission trip to Mexico… One of the best things EVER was getting churros off the side of the road. A whole bag of churros for only a buck! Yes, please! And they were definitely the best churros I’ve ever had! (No offense, Disney!)
So as I was making them yesterday, of course I wanted to research the history of how the churro came to be, and turns out there is no clear way that “churros” came to be! There are different sides of the story, some from the Spanish, and some from the Portuguese. On the Spanish side, it is said that the shepherds in the mountains created them. Being in the mountains, it was hard to get delicious baked goods, but it was easy to fry up churros over the stoves that they had back then. The shepherds were shepherding over the “churra sheep” and named though the snack looked like the horns of the sheep – hence why the name churro was given!
On the other side, the Portuguese claim that they were traveling to Northern China, and they saw the fried dough that the Chinese used in their Youtaio, and copied the idea and added some cinnamon sugar to it you could check here. Of course.. this then led me into researching what Youtaio is, and how it came to be… and there is a WHOLE other blog that I will be devoting to that, because there is so much great history that comes with that pastry! For now, though, we’ll stick with the churros. (Be sure to stick around for that blog!)
Regardless of whose story you are leaning towards, both the Spanish and Portuguese agree that it was the conquistadors that brought the churro to Latin America. From there the churros have blown up in how they are prepared, with each country having a different spin on it! Check out a couple of the ways these simple fried pieces of dough are prepared…
Cuba – filled with guava
Mexico – filled with dulce de leche or cajeta
Uruguay – filled with cheese
Brazil – filled with chocolate
Colombia/Venezuela – filled with sweetened condensed milk or arequipe (aka dulce de leche)
These are just a FEW of the ways that it’s prepared! Churros are seen as breakfast, snacks as well as dessert! I personally am happy to eat them all day long! Let me know in the comments your favorite way to eat a churro! Whether dipped in hot chocolate, or filled with fruit! Also, check out this awesome article about some pretty amazing churros that I desperately want to taste! http://www.huffingtonpost wagxwwo.com/2014/08/22/churro-recipes-easy_n_5697731.html
Below is the recipe that I use for my churros! Unfortunately I was in a rush and forgot to take pictures! :( I’ll be sure to take some and add them next time I make churros! Enjoy!
Churros – Makes about 2 dozen
1 c butter
2 c water
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbls granulated sugar
2 c AP flour
1/2 c granulated sugar
1 1/2 tbls cinnamon
2 quarts vegetable oil
- Over medium heat, bring butter, water, salt and sugar to a slight boil.
- Once everything is melted, turn heat down low and slow add the flour, mixing it with a wooden spoon (or any heat-resistant spoon/spatula) until it comes away from the sides and forms a ball
- Transfer it to a bowl (or stand mixer, like me) and beat it until it cools slightly. If you’re using a stand mixer, be sure to use the paddle attachment. Do not add the eggs too soon or they will curdle the mix!
- Add eggs one at a time. It should have a nice glossy look to it when it’s done.
- Heat oil to 360 degrees. You want the oil to be about 2 inches deep. I definitely recommend using a candy thermometer as it gives you more consistency in how your churros turn out. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, you can typically keep it around medium heat, just remember if it’s too low the churros might end up extra greasy! :(
- Place the dough into a pastry bag with a star tip (Not too large, because the churros do expand!) Other people use a churrera (a churro maker) but I prefer to just use my piping bag and star tip. Be sure to use a star tip so that you have the ridged edges. Also during this time you can mix the cinnamon sugar!
- Once the oil is hot, test the oil with just one churro to see if it is too cold or burning. When piping from a pastry bag, keep scissors on hand to cut off the length of churro you want. The churros should take a 4-5 minutes to cook, rolling the churro every minute or so to get it an even golden brown on each side. If you’re nervous about how long to cook them, I would say go a tiny bit overboard on the cooking than undercooking, because no one likes a gooey churro! The cinnamon sugar helps give it a good flavor even if it is a tiny over-cooked
- Once the churro have cooked, place on a plate lined with paper towels. Cool until you can touch, then mix in cinnamon sugar.
**This amount of eggs will give it a good consistency in the middle, but if you want it more dense, take an egg or 2 out. I prefer my churros to be almost a full pate a choux – that way I can fill them if I want!
Churros don’t stay fresh for long, so eat them as close to making them as you can!