Today's recipe for Churros comes thanks to reader Marcos' from Australia's request. I often get emails from readers with suggestions, so your Reader Requests will be a new monthly feature. Please email (or tweet, or facebook) me your requests and ideas! Thanks!
There are a lot of things in this world I just can't understand. Some I may eventually learn, others will remain a mystery to me forever. Quantum Physics, the intricacies of the human brain, and why everyone on earth is so enamored of Churros--all a puzzle to me.
My first experience with Churros was admittedly not a very good one. Served in my high-school cafeteria, on days when I managed to ditch my healthy homemade lunch, the options were bleak. Wilted pale salad made from iceberg lettuce, a Snickers from the vending machine, and Churros, stale and tasting of the cardboard they were packaged in were all part of the lunchtime pantheon.
Churros are sold everywhere from the streets of Spain to Disneyland but given my cafeteria experience, I never understood their appeal. But as Mark Twain famously said, "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." And so experiencing the Churro as it is enjoyed in every other place except my high-school cafeteria, I've been able to finally understand what its international fame is all about.
I can consider at least one mystery solved--homemade Churros have won me over! Sweet, crispy yet soft, rolled in cinnamon-sugar, I get it--I know why these little pastries are world-famous. Quantum Physics, the intricacies of the human brain...I'll leave those for another day, and have another Churro.
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In Spain, Churros are served for breakfast with hot chocolate--not a bad way to start the day! Here's a trick to get your eggs at room temperature--place them in a bowl of warm water for about 3 minutes.
makes one dozen, with extras
1 cup water
1/2 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup flour
2 eggs (at room temperature)
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add in the butter and 1/2 cup sugar to the water, and stir to dissolve the sugar. Lower the heat to medium. When the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved, remove the pan from the heat and add the flour, stirring until incorporated. Return the pan to the stove-top, stirring the dough constantly until the dough forms a smooth ball, about 2 minutes.
Remove the dough and place in the bowl of a stand mixer. Let dough cool slightly. With the paddle attachment, start beating the dough on medium speed. Add in the eggs and beat for 3 minutes. The dough will be smooth and shiny.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. (Oil should be hot enough for frying but not so hot it scorches.) Spoon the dough into a pastry bag fitted with a medium or large-sized star tip. Pipe the dough into the hot oil, cutting the end of the churro with a knife. I found that I could fit about 5 churros into the skillet at a time. They may either be made as straight shapes or circular ones. Fry until browned on one side, and then turn and brown the other side, about 2 minutes each side. Remove to a paper-towel lined plate and repeat with the remaining dough.
Mix the 3 tablespoons sugar with the cinnamon on a shallow dish. Stir until incorporated. Roll the churros in the mixture to coat evenly.
Serve with hot chocolate. Best if enjoyed within 24 hours.