Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Cinco de Mayo Churros

I know that this holiday is a highly fabricated, American excuse to drink Margaritas and eat chips, but I do embrace most holidays that are food-focused, so I went all out this time. I made desserts for a fund raising event that was being held today in honor of the dubious holiday. And what better excuse to make churros! I love these little treats. I made mine especially bite size - better known in the diminutive as "churritos." It's amazing how many of these little tasty treats you can pack away!

• 3/4 C sugar
• 1 tsp cinnamon
• 1 C milk
• 6 tbs butter
• 1 tsp salt
• 2 tsp sugar
• 1 C flour
• 3 eggs, lightly beaten
• frying oil (i used Canola)

Make cinnamon sugar for the final coating. Set aside in bowl or plate.

Begin heating frying oil over medium heat (looking for a temperature of 325˚).

Bring milk, sugar, butter, salt and 2 tsp sugar to boil over medium heat.
Add flour all at once, cooking and stirring (wooden spoon worked best) until it forms a ball; about 30 seconds. Removed from heat and let cool; 3 minutes is fine. Beat in eggs one at a time making sure to fully incorporate.

Fill pastry bag (or in my case, awesome pastry gun) with the filling. Using the star tip, slowly squeeze out desired length of churro. I did mine no more than 2 inches each, and just scraped the tip to release the batter for each churro. I'm sure there are many ways of doing it like cutting the dough with scissors or bribing someone else to help you, but this worked well for me. I only was able to squeeze 6-8 churros per batch since I was having to rotate them in the oil for even cooking. The recipe says to cook them for 5 minutes, but just use your judgment. I like them golden brown, and a little squishy, not crunchy. But they are incredibly resilient and taste great no matter what you do (aside from burning of course).
Pull each batch out and degrease on paper towels. When they're cooler, toss around in the cinnamon sugar mix until well coated.

Since I had to make mine a day ahead, I waited to put the sugar on and simply reheated the pre-fried tasty morsels on a cookie sheet in the oven for no more than 2 minutes at 425˚; then I gave them a good toss in the sugar.
They really are best warm, but who's picky?

Just a side note, taking photos with one hand while deep frying things in the other is probably a bad idea. I survived this round, but am going to exercise more caution if I ever get the brainy idea again.

Another note. Churros are really good, so they're worth any trouble they might cause in order to make them. My major complaint this time is how much I hate the smell of oil frying filling every crevice of my apartment. It gets stuck in on my clothes and in my hair for days after.

On a related note, I have a shameful admission: If the labor of making Churros sound daunting or time consuming, I can't help but recommend the quick, cheap and amazingly delicious alternative of a Costco Churro. I don't know how they manage it, but I actually have a hard time even driving by Costco without having to fight the urge to go in and get one.

Anyhow, feliz Cinco de Mayo!

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