My friend Miguel is an interesting guy. He has an enormous amount of knowledge about sharks and dinosaurs, is an amazing artist, and collects bugs, reptiles, and other creepy crawlies for fun. And sometimes Miguel likes to buy things on impulse, such as a giant industrial sized churro gun. Also known as a churrera, the gun is basically a giant extruder, meant to handle large batches of churros at one time. Just the sort of thing that every home kitchen needs, right?
I agreed to help him with his first batch of churros, even though neither one of us had ever made them before. Luckily the batter was a cinch to whip up, and in no time we were pumping out the delicious fried treats. Here we are making churros like pros:
And man were those first churros tasty. Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and sprinkled with the perfect amount of cinnamon sugar. I think we could hardly believe we had created something so good. We made that first batch of churros about a year ago, and unfortunately I don’t think the churro gun has been in use ever since. In all honesty it was a bit cumbersome, and not exactly practical for the smaller batches of churros that we were churning out. Luckily churros are just as easily prepared with a piping bag and piping tip. I wasn’t sure exactly what prompted Miguel to make such an interesting purchase, but I found out it has something to do with his dream of one day owning his own churro cart. A dream that he believed would lead him to fame, money, women, and all the churros he could eat. He sent me this picture to help me better understand:
I told you he was an interesting guy. And yes there is an "h" missing on the name on the cart, and no, that $100 price tag is not a mistake, they really are that good.
I did a little research on the churro that I'd like to share with y'all, but feel free to scroll down if not interested. I just happen to find food history a bit fascinating. So, these tasty little treats were created waaay up in the hills of Spain by shepherds and nomads. According to local folklore (or Wikipedia.com) the pastry's were named because of their resemblance to the horns of the Churro sheep that resided in the mountains.
Up high in the mountains, fresh baked goods were difficult to come by, so the ingenious, nomadic folk of the hills came up with a bread-like dough, rolled in to the shape of a breadstick, which they could easily cook in a pan over an open fire. This was the birth of the Churro. The churro however, could not be destined to stay in the hills of Spain forever. They are simply too delicious. Eventually they traveled to South America and other places around there until they reached North America. It won't be long before they are taking over the world.
Ok, enough with the history lesson, let’s get to making some churros. First up, some milk, butter, sugar, cinnamon and salt gets heated up in a pan until just simmering.
Then add some flour and mix it in very quickly with a wooden spoon. After about a minute it should come together in a semi-smooth ball.
Take the dough and put it in the bowl of a stand mixer and let it chill out for about 5 minutes. Turn the mixer on medium speed and add 4 eggs. Here’s a kind of trippy, blurry action shot to make your head hurt:
After a few minutes of mixing the dough will be smooth and sticky:
At this point it’s ready to go, but it can also hang out at room temp for about two hours if you’re not ready make them right away. Although I don’t know how you could contain yourself from making them for that long.
Heat up some oil to 360-375 degrees. This was my set-up:
You’ll want about 2 inches of oil. While the oil is heating up you can make the cinnamon sugar mixture. I add a pinch of cayenne to the sugar , which really ups the ante. The little bit of heat from the cayenne is a great contrast to the sweetness and richness of the dough.
Once the oil is hot enough it’s time to pipe. The churros can be difficult to cook all the way through if they are too thick, so there are a couple of important tips to follow. Use a closed star tip in your piping bag. The closed star tip creates ridges in the churro that expand and allow the oil to get closer to the center so that they cook all the way through quicker. My piping bag looked like this:
When frying the churros, test the first few for doneness. Mine were very dark brown by the time they were cooked all the way through on the inside and took about two minutes of cooking time per side. This can be different depending on the temperature of your oil and how large or small the piping tip you are using is.
Pipe out about a 5 inch length into the hot oil, and use an oiled knife to separate the dough from the piping tip. Once the churros are dark brown, and cooked all the way through, let them drain for a moment on paper towels, then toss them in the cinnamon sugar mixture
The churros are best eaten right away, but they usually don't last much longer than that. Enjoy!
Adapted from Bon Appetit
1 cup whole milk
¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1 cup all purpose flour
4 large eggs
3 cups canola oil (for frying)
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Dash of cayenne pepper
Bring first 4 ingredients to boil in heavy medium saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves and butter melts. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add flour; stir vigorously with wooden spoon until shiny dough mass forms, about 1 minute. Transfer to large bowl; cool 5 minutes. Using electric mixer, beat in eggs, 1 at a time; continue beating until smooth, shiny, sticky paste forms. (Can be made 2 hours ahead. Cover and let stand at room temperature.)
Mix together sugar, cinnamon and cayenne together in a bowl.
Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat to 360-375°F. Working in batches, spoon batter into pastry bag fitted with large closed star tip. Pipe batter into hot oil in 4-5 inch-long ribbons (use knife if necessary to cut batter at end of star tip) and allow batter to slide into oil. Fry churros until brown and cooked through in center, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels. Cool 5 minutes, then toss in cinnamon sugar to coat.