I must have been a toddler when I had my first Mexican Churro. Growing up in Los Angeles, every other Sunday we would visit one of our local swap meets or as they are known in Texas, La Pulga (flea markets). The swap meet was where you could find, old and new items, fresh produce and of course those warm and sugary Mexican style churros. We never prepared them at home since they were available in a variety of locations. It really was more of a special treat we looked forward to every time we visited the swap meet.
I am not 100 % sure about this, but I believe the origins of the churro come from Spain. Although all of my life, I just knew them as a wonderful Mexican treat. Churros are typically fried and sprinkled with a sugar/cinnamon mix. They can be served simply with a cup of hot chocolate or cafe for dipping during brunch. One of my favorite ways to enjoy churros is the way you will find them in Mexico, filled with cajeta or dulce de leche. For this recipe, the already prepared dulce de leche in incorporated into the dough.
This recipe was adapted from Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, owners of Border Grill. I have been a long time fan of their cooking shows since their days on Food Network.
1 1/4 cups water
13 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 tablespoons brown sugar
Zest of 1 orange
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons Mexican vanilla
1 cup dulce de leche caramel
You will also need
Oil for frying
A pastry bag
A large star tip for pastry bag
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 more tablespoons cinnamon
1. In a large pot, add the water, butter, brown sugar, orange zest and salt. Bring up to a boil, add all the flour and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon. Using a wooden spoon stir quickly to form a dough ball. Cook for a few minutes to toast the flour.
2. Remove from heat. If you have a stand mixer, you could transfer now. I left mine right in the pot and used my electric mixer to mix while adding one egg at a time. Mix well after each egg.
3. Scrape down sides, add vanilla and mix well. Finally, add in the dulce de leche. You could transfer the mixture to the refrigerator until you are ready to use. If frying right away, transfer half of the mixture to a large pastry bag fitted with a large star tip.
4. In a heavy pot, preheat canola oil (about 4 cups)to 375 degrees F. Now you can make bite size churros, about 2 inches long, or you can make a them up to 5 inches long. Use a small knife to cut off as you carefully drop them into the oil. Fry for about 4 minutes, drain onto baking sheet lined with paper towels. Dredge in cinnamon/sugar mixture while the churros are still warm. The centers will be soft because of the dulce de leche. This recipe yields 8 to 10 servings.
Tips~ My best tip when preparing churros is if possible, do not fry them until an hour before serving. If you have to make them ahead of time, let them cool on baking sheet. Cover loosely or they will have a tendency to become humid or moist and that will ruin the crispy texture. When I prepared these, after dipping them in the sugar mixture, I stored them in my cool oven uncovered until the next day.