The name of this simple-to-make Tex-Mex sweet snack comes from the fact that these flour-based chips are coated with cinnamon and sugar, which gives them a flavor similar to that ubiquitous Latin American fried treat, churros. They could also be called sopaipilla chips for a similar reason, although that name does not roll off the tongue nearly as effortlessly as churro chips!
In their basic form, churro chips make a great party food, casual yet nice enough for company. There are many ways to vary the flavor and/or dress them up, however, so don´t miss the suggestions for variations on ingredients and serving suggestions below the recipe itself.
- 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) real butter or coconut oil or cooking spray
- 4 large flour tortillas
Turn your oven on at 350 F / 175 C so that is can preheat while you prepare the tortillas.
In a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon, mixing well.
If using butter, use the real stuff (not margarine!) and melt it completely, either with 10-second bursts in the microwave until it is liquid or over low heat in a pan on the stove. Use a pastry brush to coat both sides of one tortilla with a thin layer of melted butter. (Use this same method if you have chosen coconut oil—but remember that coconut oil melts at a much lower temperature than butter does, so be extra careful not to burn it.)
If using cooking spray, spray each side of one tortilla so that the whole piece is covered with a very thin layer of oil.
Place the tortilla on a large dinner plate. Sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of the sugar mixture on top of the tortilla and use your fingers to spread it around; it will stick to the tortilla because of the butter or oil coating. Turn tortilla over and repeat this operation, so that both sides of the tortilla are evenly coated with cinnamon sugar. If necessary, turn the piece over and repeat so that maximum coverage is achieved. Place coated tortilla on a large cutting board.
Repeat steps 2 and 3 with the rest of the tortillas, placing them all in a stack on the cutting board.
Use a sharp knife to cut the stack of tortillas into 8 wedges.
Place the tortillas wedges in a single layer onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
Bake the chips for about 15 minutes, until they are crispy and lightly browned. Keep a close eye on them during the last few minutes of baking so that your chips do not overbrown.
Remove your baked churro chips from the oven and allow them to cool undisturbed for 12 to 15 minutes so that they can “set.” Serve immediately or store loosely covered for later. (These are best when eaten within a couple of days of making.) Eat with your hands!
Variations on Baked Churro Chips
Don´t hesitate to try different versions of this deliciously simple recipe. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Want a heartier, more rustic chip? Use thin corn tortillas instead of flour ones.
The tortillas are cut into wedges in this recipe because that´s an easy way to make uniformly sized chips. However, there is no reason that the chips have to be wedge-shaped; try cutting them into strips or rectangles or any other shape you fancy at the moment.
Spice-wise, you don´t have to stop at just cinnamon: add ½ teaspoon of ground cloves, or a bit of ground ginger or nutmeg to the mix for a deeper dose of spices—especially welcome around holiday time or on a cold day. (Fresh baked churro chips with hot chocolate after a day of sledding, anyone?)
For a little different flavor, use granulated brown sugar instead of white sugar. Granulated brown sugar is pourable because it is less moist than ordinary brown sugar; look for in in the baking aisle of a large supermarket.
Looking for a little more “oomph” in the flavor of these chips? Add half a teaspoon (or to taste) of ground chile pepper (such as powdered piquin or chipotle pepper) to the sugar mix. Make sure you do not use “chili powder” (which is used to make chili soup and includes other seasonings such as cumin that don’t pair so well with sugar) but rather just simple ground dried hot pepper.
If you´d prefer to deep fry your chips instead of baking them, place the cinnamon sugar mixture in a lunch-sized paper bag. Omit the butter. Cut tortillas into wedges and fry for 1 to 2 minutes, turning once, in a deep fryer or in a few cups of vegetable oil in a saucepan. Remove fried chips from oil and drain on absorbent paper. While still warm, place a few chips at a time in the paper bag and shake so that they get coated with cinnamon and sugar.
How to Serve Your Delicious Cinnamon-y Churro Chips
These are delicious as-is, but if you want to get a little fancier (and more caloric!), try one of the following:
Offer one or more sweet dips with your chips. Try Mexican Chocolate Sauce or just plain sweetened condensed milk. Make a Mexican caramel sauce by beating together roughly equal parts of cajeta or dulce de leche and liquid sweet cream until the mix reaches dipping consistency. Place the bowls of dip in the center of a large platter or lazy susan and arrange the chips around them.
Serve your churro chips “nacho style”—that is, with one or more sweet toppings. Drizzle chocolate sauce, squeezable dulce de leche, fruit jam (heated until warm so it can be poured), and/or sweetened condensed milk over a plateful of chips, top with whipped cream or a commercial whipped topping and colorful sprinkles, chocolate shot, or finely chopped nuts. Present your creation on a plate or in a large paper cone to be hand held.
These basic, casual cinnamony-sugary wedges take on a certain elegance when used as part of a “fancier” dessert:
Artfully pose one or two crunchy chips in a dish of scooped ice cream, or place them on a plate next to a little dish of chocolate mousse or sweet strawberry soup.
Make the chips larger (as in a flour tortilla cut in half or thirds) and use them as the “cookie” portion of a napoleon dessert, sandwiched between layers of whipped cream and fruit.
Or make smaller churro chips (in strips or square shapes) and include them as a lighter option on a tray of different kinds of holiday cookies.