Churros are special South and Central American doughnut sticks, a treat adopted from Spain. They are tube-shaped unyeasted sticks of dough, piped from a pastry bag with a star tip, fried in oil, and rolled in cinnamon sugar.
Churros: Not Just Doughnut Sticks
In South America churros are typically filled with something rich like dulce de leche, nutella (hazelnut butter and chocolate), or vanilla pastry cream. If you have ever made cream puffs, you will find churros dough very similar. Churros are quick to make and quite the crowd pleaser. If you make them yourself, you will enjoy them at their best — freshly cooked, warm, and crispy on the outside.
- Place the buttermilk, water, butter, salt, and 1 tablespoon sugar in a pot, and bring 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 just start to look shiny, but should not slide off the spatula easily. (It should 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 (I usually make them 4-6 inches long) onto the cookie sheet.
- Place cookie sheet in the freezer while you heat up the oil. Heat 1-2 inches of oil to 375 degrees. When the churros feel firm, carefully pick them up off the cookie sheet with a spatula and drop them into the oil. Work in batches, and fry the churros for about 2 minutes on each side, until they are golden brown. Cool them on a plate lined with paper towels.
- Mix the 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 pole 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
Makes 20 5-inch churros
Tip: Experienced churros makers often skip piping the churros onto the cookie sheet, and simply pipe them directly into the hot oil.