Sugar and spice for Cinco de Mayo
All photos by Melanie Kim/THE CHIMES
Cinco de Mayo: yet another holiday that Americans like to celebrate with food, street fairs and parties that do not exactly honor the original purpose of the holiday. As a person who likes food and street fairs, I embrace this adulterated tradition, especially since it involves tacos instead of green dye-laden food.
But giving you a recipe for tacos didn’t seem quite festive enough to help celebrate a day that doesn’t have as much significance in Mexico as we pretend it does. Besides, sugary deep-fried food goes hand-in-hand with the upcoming finals season. So I bring you this simple offering of churros to enjoy while pretending that spring break hasn’t ended quite yet. I recommend making this a group activity, mostly to prevent you from eating them all right out of the fryer because they are that delicious.
1/3 cup unsalted butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
2 eggs, beaten
2 quarts vegetable oil
1/ 2 cup sugar
3-4 teaspoons cinnamon
Thermometer, candy or probe
Note: Make sure you use a thermometer to monitor the temperature of the oil or else it can overheat, burn the churros and, well, then you don’t get to eat churros.
In a medium saucepan, bring the butter, brown sugar, salt and water to a boil. Stir the mixture occasionally to combine.
Stir the sifted flour into the butter mixture over low heat until completely combined. Remove from heat and transfer the dough to a large bowl. Add the beaten eggs to the dough in three parts, stirring until completely incorporated after each addition.
Heat the vegetable oil in a large, deep pot on high heat until it reaches 375 F. Use a probe or candy thermometer to monitor the temperature. Adjust the heat to maintain the temperature, ensuring that it does not exceed 390 F.
Place a 805 or 806 star tip into a large piping bag. If you do not have a piping tip or a piping bag, both of which can be bought at craft stores such as Michaels, a large freezer resealable zipper bag will do nicely. Make sure it is the large freezer bag, as the smaller sandwich size bags tend to be flimsier. Cut one of the corners off at diagonal angle to create a hole and fold over the top of the bag to make it easier to fill the bag.
Mix together the sugar and cinnamon in a wide baking dish and line a plate or baking sheet with three paper towels before starting to fry the churros.
Fill the bag no more than halfway full with dough and twist the top closed to help keep dough from spilling out. Squeeze the dough into the oil, about four inches at a time, and cut it off with a butter knife. Fry four or five churros at a time for about four minutes, until they are a deep golden brown color.
Use tongs to pull the finished churros from the oil and set them on the paper towels. Repeat the process of frying the churros. While the churros are frying, move the finished churros from the paper towel and coat with the cinnamon sugar. Make sure the churros are still hot or the sugar will not stick as well.
Enjoy the churros while still warm, possibly with a cold glass of horchata or after a plate of tacos. Feliz Cinco de Mayo!