Have you ever had real churros? Not the reheated ones that sit under the lamp until you walk up to the window. Real churros, hot from the fry and slightly damp with sugar and cinnamon. Nothing compares. Fresh homemade churros are the the only way to eat them and that’s what we’re Cooking with Heinen’s this week.
They can seem a little intimidating if you’ve never made them before but they really are simple to make. A few simple ingredients you probably have in your pantry, and you’re on your way. I’ve shared the steps and tips below so you can make a perfect batch!
How to Make Churros
For the coating whisk together 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon to taste. I’m a bit heavy handed on the cinnamon but, for most, a tablespoon will do. Set aside.
Heat about 1 1/2 inches vegetable oil in a large pot or deep saute pan over medium-high heat to 360 degrees. Prepare the dough while oil is heating.
Add water, butter, sugar and salt to a large saucepan, bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
Add flour, reduce heat to medium-low and cook and stir constantly with a rubber spatula until mixture comes together and is smooth (a few lumps in it are fine).
Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl, let cool 5 minutes.
Add vanilla and egg to flour mixture then blend immediately with an electric mixer.
Transfer to a 16-inch piping bag fitted with a rounded star tip (no bigger than 1/2-inch).
Carefully pipe mixture into preheated oil, into about 6-inch lengths, cut end with clean scissors.
Transfer to paper towels to dry briefly, about 15 seconds (don’t wait too long or they’ll be dry and the sugar won’t stick as well).
Then transfer to cinnamon sugar mixture and roll to coat.
Repeat process with remaining dough (frying no more than 5 at once, separate with metal tongs if they stick a little).
Let cool for a few minutes then serve warm.
Tips for Churro Success
- Use a thermometer for the oil. I think it’s a must so you can heat the oil to the proper temperature and monitor it as the churros fry. Preheat the oil while you make the batter because it will take time to come up to temperature. I you don’t have a thermometer that goes to 350 you can test the oil with a bit of batter. If it bubbles and starts to cook it’s ready. If it browns quickly turn the heat down.
- I like to stick with one egg in the batter. Some recipes use 3 eggs but I feel like they come out too eggy, some omit the eggs but the egg gives them some rise and a richer flavor so I found just one egg was perfect. I use farm eggs so it gives my batter a rich yellow color. If you are using store bought generic eggs it may have a pale yellow color.
- Use a closed star piping tip (one with rounded off edges), it gives the churros more defined edges. Which means crispier exterior and classic churro appearance.
- Let the dough rest and cool a bit before adding the egg, you don’t want to cook and scramble the egg into the batter. Keep in mind though the dough will still be really warm so have the mixer ready to go right after you add the egg and mix away.
- Really pay attention to the color as they fry. They never seem to need an exact amount of time, their golden brown color will let you know when each side is done. If undercooked they’ll seem raw in the center so wait for that golden brown shade. Don’t let them get too brown or the end result will be hard and crispy. You want it to be a bit doughy. Test as you go the first time you make them to get a feel for this.
- Let the churros drain on paper towels just briefly before you add them to the cinnamon sugar mixture. You don’t want them to be wet and oily and add straight to the sugar or they’ll just clump up the sugar and you’ll get too thick of a coating, but on the other hand you don’t want them to dry completely on the paper towels or the sugar won’t stick very well. 15 seconds then roll.
- Serve them warm. There’s nothing like a freshly made warm churro. Brace yourself for a surge in popularity.
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, diced into small cubes
- 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- For coating
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- Chocolate sauce for serving.
- For the coating whisk together 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon in a shallow dish, set aside.
- Heat about 1 1/2 inches vegetable oil in a large pot or deep skillet over medium-high heat to 360 degrees Fahrenheit. While oil is heating prepare batter.
- Add water, butter, sugar and salt to a large saucepan, bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Add flour reduce heat to medium-low and cook and stir constantly with a rubber spatula until mixture comes together and is smooth (a few lumps in it are fine).
- Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl, let cool 5 minutes.
- Add vanilla and egg to flour mixture then blend immediately with an electric mixer. Blend until mixture comes together and is smooth (it will separate at first but keep mixing it will come together).
- Transfer to a 16-inch piping bag fitted with a rounded star tip (no bigger than 1/2-inch).
- Carefully pipe mixture into preheated oil, into about 6-inch lengths, cut end with clean scissors.
- Let fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels to dry briefly then transfer to cinnamon sugar mixture and roll to coat.
- Repeat process with remaining dough (frying no more than 5 at once). Serve warm
Photographer Sally Roeckell specializes in contemporary lifestyle portraiture with an emphasis on food photography. Her Blog, Table and Dish is a website devoted to celebrating and curating the many ways that food binds us. Sally hopes that her recipes and images will inspire you to gather your friends and family in the kitchen to make memories, use the time to connect with busy kids, chat over mixing bowls, get messy, laugh, sing, set the table, clear the table, pass the salt, debate the days topics and pray. You can follow her here as a weekly contributor to 365Barrington and Heinen’s as well as via Table and Dish on Instagram and on her website at TableAndDish.com.
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Heinen’s Grocery is located at 500 N. Hough Street, between E. Main Street and Route 14 (next to Meatheads) in Barrington, Illinois. They’re open 7 days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. For more information, visit Heinens.com.