Growing up my mom, the oldest of four, would tell me stories of her childhood in East Texas raised in a working class family. Her mother was the center of the household and managed everything down to a science. She made every meal from scratch with hardly a short cut in sight and everything was, as you would expect, Southern. Each meal was planned and budgeted for and midday dinners were comforting and plentiful. As each month would come and go, there was always one expectation, churros for supper. Always falling on the last day before payday because that’s all they had left to afford. No one ever complained, in fact, how could you when having dessert for dinner? Instead it became a most favorite meal. It’s been a lifetime since those day but recently, in praise as I tested this recipe, I received the best compliment one could have given; “Tastes like mamas, this takes me back...” and I watch my own mother take each bite quietly as she drifted back a generation.
Churros are easy to make and don’t require a lot of ingredients. Just a little care in your method. Choux pastry, or pâte à choux give you stability in piping the dough into hot oil while still providing a cloud like texture to the center when cooked. Fried golden and crisp on the outside and then rolled in cinnamon sugar and served warm, preferably with hot coffee, each bite better than the last.
½ cup water
½ cup milk (2% or higher)
½ cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp granulated sugar
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
3 large eggs
½ tsp vanilla extract
Oil for frying, about 2 quarts
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
Preheat fry oil to 350 degrees.
In a medium sauce pot over medium heat, bring water, milk and butter to a simmer. In a small bowl combine flour, 1 tsp of sugar, salt and nutmeg. To heated liquid, over low heat, add flour mixture and stir until thick dough ball forms, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool five to ten minutes. This is the base to your choux pastry.
In a mixing bowl, add your firm pastry base and mix on low speed. While mixing add vanilla and eggs, one at a time, until well blended. Batter will thick which will provide structure when piping. Add pastry dough to a large pastry bag fitted with a size #9-open star tip. Do not overfill bag. If pastry bag is not large enough, add dough in two additions.
Into hot oil pipe 5 to 6 inch strips and fry until golden brown, turning halfway through cooking process. The easiest way to pipe churros is to snip the piped dough directly into the oil with kitchen shears to help with accuracy of size and shape. Fry in batches and do not overcrowd your pan. Remove churros from oil and drain on paper towels.
In a separate dish or tray combine 2/3 cup sugar with cinnamon. While still warm, roll churros in cinnamon sugar until well coated. Serve churros right away and enjoy!
~Makes about a dozen churros
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