As happens with many different foods brought to the New World from Mother Spain, buñuelos are enjoyed in countless versions throughout Latin America. Depending on where they are made and what ingredients they include, buñuelos can be sweet, savory, or somewhere in between.
Mexican buñuelos are sweet, and they exist in two main forms: the roundish doughnut-like rendition explained below, and a larger, relatively flat version that is more similar to an American “elephant ear.” Both of these types of buñuelos are popular during the December holidays, and both can be eaten plain or covered in sugar or a light piloncillo syrup.
As a fried food consisting mainly of carbohydrates, buñuelos are not recommended as frequent fare, but as an occasional holiday treat/comfort food their crunchy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside character can´t be beaten. Enjoy them as dessert, a snack, or even a slightly decadent breakfast.
- For the Topping:
- 3 tablespoons white sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- For the Dough:
- 1 and 1/2 cup white wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 tablespoons white sugar
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil or butter
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/2 cup masa harina
- For Frying:
- Approximately 1 cup vegetable oil
For the topping, combine sugar and cinnamon in a shallow dish.
Sift together the flour and baking powder.
In a separate bowl, cream the sugar and the oil or butter until smooth. Add the egg, the milk, and the masa harina.
Gradually add the flour, mixing well after each addition, until a dough forms.
Roll the dough into meatball-sized spheres, about 1 and 1/2 inches in diameter. You can leave them round, or flatten them into cakes.
Heat vegetable oil in a medium-sized saucepan until hot. Fry dough balls or cakes until golden brown, about 6 or 7 minutes, turning to brown all over.
Remove balls to the paper towel-covered plate to drain.
Using tongs, place each buñuelo onto the plate with the sugar and cinnamon mixture and shake until well coated, turning the piece over if necessary.
Serve your delicious buñuelos warm, with atole or hot chocolate, if you like.
Variations on Toppings for Buñuelos:
Omit the granulated sugar and cinnamon and try these other topping possibilities:
Roll your buñuelos around in powdered instead of granulated sugar. The powdered sugar will “melt” and disappear, but leave a sweet glaze behind. If you like, roll them in the powdered sugar again once they have cooled down somewhat, or sprinkle some on them when serving.
Make a light syrup by dissolving some piloncillo (or dark brown sugar if you don’t have piloncillo) in a water. Add a little ground cinnamon and a healthy pinch of ground anise and/or cloves; mix thoroughly. Pour the syrup, warm or room temperature, over the buñuelos, or use it as a buñuelo “dip.”
Serve Mexican chocolate sauce as a dip for the buñuelos.
Edited by Robin Grose