Who Knew That Churros Could Be So Bad?

churros

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.

5 thoughts on “Who Knew That Churros Could Be So Bad?

  1. Betty Victory says:

    Sounds to me like the mix was not really that great. The following sounded kind of neat: Ingredients: (Makes one platefull)
    Vegetable or Olive Oil
    1 cup water
    1/2 cup margarine or butter
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 cup all-purpose flour
    3 eggs
    1/4 cup sugar
    1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)

    Prepare to fry the churros by heating oil in a pan (1 to 1&1/2 inches) to 360 degrees F.

    To make churro dough, heat water, margarine and salt to rolling boil in 3-quart saucepan; stir in flour. Stir vigorously over low heat until mixture forms a ball, about 1 minute; remove from heat. Beat eggs all at once; continue beating until smooth and then add to saucepan while stirring mixture.

    Spoon mixture into cake decorators’ tube with large star tip (like the kind use to decorate cakes). Squeeze 4-inch strips of dough into hot oil. Fry 3 or 4 strips at a time until golden brown, turning once, about 2 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels. (Mix Sugar and the optional cinnamon); roll churros in sugar or dump the sugar on the pile of churros, like the pros.

  2. Romy says:

    I loved your article on Churros at El Moro in Mexico City. I am gong to be there for Christmas of 2008. I will look up this place. Is it near the Zocalo by any chance? That is where my hotel will be.

    Thank you.

  3. Spanish Doughnuts says:

    We cook all our Churros in Canola Oil, we find this doesn’t effect the flavour too much and keeps them nice and crisp on the outside whilst doughy in the middle.

    Another thing to keep in mind and what you roll them in or dip them in. A great Churro can be killed with a bad dipping sauce or large chunky sugar.

    Good quality fine castor sugar with ground cinnamon or even putting a vanilla pod in your castor sugar can make a great roll sugar for your Churros.

    And always always use good quality chocolate for your dipping sauce. I hope your next lot of Churros are a great experience

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