Churros are widely popular in Spain, South America and Mexico. Best described as a long, fried doughnut, smothered in cinnamon sugar and dipped in a rich, thick chocolate sauce for those who want extra sweetness.
Normally sold as a street-food snack to enjoy while walking along the beach, after the pub or to take home as a snack, churros are loved for their crispiness and satisfying sweet-hit.
Finding gluten-free churros is a challenge. While I was in Spain, I did notice some ready-made frozen packets of gluten-free churros for sale. I managed to test them back at my service apartment and they turned out great. So, if you don’t want to go to the trouble of making them, I highly recommend any frozen gluten-free churros you come across.
My recipe has been adapted from a gluten version by the respectful English chef, Thomasina Miers, who has written several Mexican food cookbooks and opened a huge chain of amazing Mexican restaurants across the U.K. called Wahaca https://www.wahaca.co.uk/about-us/
She really impressed me with her knowledge of Mexican cuisine and her grasp of the Spanish language. Having sampled many of her dishes in England, I was blown away, especially by her churros (at the time I was gluten), but the great thing about her chain, is that she has an exclusive gluten-free menu. When I eventually was following a gluten-free diet, I was thrilled to read and order from this menu.
WARNING!! One interesting observation about making homemade churros is that hardly anyone warns you about the dangers of frying churros without a star-nozzle tip. Why is this important? Well, I found out the hard way when I was experimenting a few years ago. Opting for a plain nozzle, I piped several churros into the hot oil and BANG!…the dough literally exploded in my kitchen, scattering dough on the ceiling, walls and my skin! Luckily, I ducked enough to only get a slight burn on my arm, but some people have not been so lucky like a few in Chile. The story goes that a local newspaper ran an article with the recipe for churros without warning them to use a star-nozzle tip and to not heat the oil up to such high heat. Subsquently, the lack of these instructions, caused many readers to get severely burnt and ended up suing the newspaper.
By using a star-shaped nozzle, the ridges on the churro dough create more surface area to cook evenly, so when in contact with the oil, the heat doesn’t build up inside the hard shell of the churros and explode. So to be on the safe side, I highly recommend using a star-nozzle tip to make this recipe, unless you fancy fireworks in your kitchen!
Which nozzle to use:
I used a small Wilton star-nozzle tip, which gave me thin churros, which explains why mine were not uniform in shape, even though they still tasted great. However, next time I will use a larger nozzle by using Wilton 1M tip or for an even larger churro, Ateco #847 tip.
- 250ml water
- 60g butter
- 20g sugar
- 140g store-bought or homemade gluten-free plain flour
- 90g rice flour
- ¼ teaspoon xanthan gum
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ an egg, beaten
- Sunflower oil, for frying
For the sugar coating:
- 150g caster sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon sugar
For the chocolate dipping sauce:
- 100ml dark chocolate
- 50ml milk
- 80 – 100ml cream
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- Sift the flours and xanthan gum in a medium bowl.
2. Over low heat, melt the water, butter and sugar in a small pan. Bring to a gentle boil and remove from the heat.
3.Add the butter mixture to the flour mixture, whisking vigorously with a balloon whisk until it is a thick smooth batter with no visible lumps.
4.Set aside for 10 minutes, covered with a tea towel.
5.Heat a large wok or pan with oil until it reaches 170°C/300°F, or until it fries a small piece of bread brown in less than 30 seconds.
6. Add the vanilla extract and the egg, beating well with a hand-held electric mixer. The batter should be thick, glossy and smooth.
7. Assemble a disposable piping bag with a small star nozzle. Remember it is very important that it is a star nozzle and not a plain nozzle, otherwise, the churros will explode in the oil.
8. Pipe the batter into the oil to about 15cm long. Don’t worry if they are not perfectly straight. Some will curl, others will hook off towards the end. Different shapes make them look homemade anyway.
9. Fry a few at a time from 2 to 2 ½ minutes.
10. Drain on paper towels and immediately transfer them to the cinnamon sugar to roll them in. The sugar will stick best on to the churros while they are warm.
11. Continue with the remaining batter. Towards the end, combine all the chocolate sauce ingredients in a heatproof bowl.
12. Sit the bowl over some simmering water (Bain-Marie method) and combine the ingredients until it has completely melted and appears glossy. Always keep the heat down low so as not to burn the chocolate.
13. Pour the chocolate into small pots and serve with the cinnamon sugar-coated churros.
- Makes 30 churros
- Can be reheated in a moderate oven for 10 minutes covered with some foil
Churros can be reheated in a moderate oven for 10 minutes covered in foil.
They are also delicious dipped in Dulce de Leche! In Argentina, they sell churros with a dulce de leche filling.