I recently visited one of Mexico City’s best churrerias: El Moro, which specializes in two things: hot chocolate and churros. Churros are popular the world over, and have been totally bastardized by places like Taco Bell — they sell “cinnamon twists” in many stores. While cinnamon twists are not half-bad, traditional churros are not that airy or cinnamon-y. They are long, thin, crispy donut-like pastries best served hot and coated in sugar. They’re a lot like the beignets of New Orleans fame, but the dough is a bit more dense.
A long time ago, after a visit to New Orleans, I made beignets at home from a mix sold at the local grocery store. They were a success. Inspired by this (and my love of all things fried, crispy and covered in sugar), I decided to make churros at home, following the same idea: I bought a box of churro mix at the grocery store. It’s pretty simple. You boil some water, add in the flour mix and stir until spongy. Then you squeeze out the dough through a pastry tube into a pan full of hot oil.
All went well, until my pastry tube (included free in the box) broke. So I hand-rolled almost all of my churros. I fried them until brown, drained them and covered them in sugar, just like the box’s directions.
And the first bite? Crispy, but bland, bland, bland. I thought anything tasted good when fried, but this was so not the case. My poor churros — they went straight to la basura. Perhaps the key to good churros is not using perfectly clean vegetable oil? I dunno.