Churros are special South and Central American doughnut sticks. This sweet treat was adopted from Spain and often called a "Mexican doughnut." Churros are tube-shaped, unyeasted sticks of dough, piped from a star-tipped pastry bag, fried in oil, and rolled in cinnamon sugar. They're delicious and surprisingly easy to make.
In South America, churros are a little different. They are typically filled with something rich like dulce de leche, Nutella (hazelnut butter and chocolate), or vanilla pastry cream. If you have made cream puffs before, you will find that churro dough is very similar.
Whether you choose to fill them or not, churros are quick to make and a guaranteed crowd pleaser. If you make them yourself, you will enjoy them at their best—freshly cooked, warm, and crispy on the outside.
- In a pot, combine the water, buttermilk, butter, salt, and 1 tablespoon sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil.
- Stir in the flour all at once using a heat-proof spatula. Continue to stir until the mixture clumps together to form a ball. Continue to cook for a minute or two more, turning the dough over in the pot with the spatula. Remove from heat.
- Add the vanilla. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each. The mixture should begin to look shiny, but should not slide off the spatula easily and be slightly stiffer than cream puff dough. If the mixture seems too thick and lacks shine, add an extra egg.
- Place dough in a pastry bag fitted with a star tip that has an opening at least 1/2-inch wide. You can also use a round tip.
- Place a sheet of wax paper on a cookie sheet. Pipe lengths of dough about 4 to 6 inches long onto the cookie sheet and place in the freezer while you heat up the oil.
- Heat 1 to 2 inches of oil to 375 F. When the churros feel firm, carefully pick them up off the cookie sheet with a spatula and drop them into the oil.
- Working in batches, fry the churros for about 2 minutes on each side, until they are golden brown. Cool and drain them on a plate lined with paper towels.
- Mix 1/2 cup sugar and the cinnamon together, and place the mixture on a plate or in a pan. Roll the churros in the cinnamon sugar while they are still warm.
- To fill the churros, fit a pastry bag with a round (#4) metal icing tip. The tip should be small enough to poke into the end of the doughnut. Fill the pastry bag with your filling of choice.
- Poke a skewer through the doughnut lengthwise and pipe the filling into the hole.
- Serve warm.
Experienced churros makers often skip piping the churros onto the cookie sheet. They will simply pipe them directly into the hot oil.