Churros. They’re fried. They’re crunchy. They’re tossed in sugar. What’s not to love? I don’t get sick of making them (they’re probably the easiest donuts to put together, other than baked, and that’s a cake people. It’s a cake.). And I certainly don’t get sick of eating them. This iteration is inspired by the beautiful book Love, Aimee, written by the uber talented food and prop styling genius Aimee Twigger of Twigg Studios.
Aimee offered to send me a copy of her book several months ago, in preparation for it’s Aussie release (which is today!). I jumped at the chance to cross it off my cookbook wishlist, because 10 pages is frighteningly long, even for me. The book is a beauty, not the least because of Aimee’s cool, moody, bohemian styling, but because the topic is a really useful, interesting one too. Edible gifts! Things to make and then present at a party or as a hostess gift, or whatever. I love this genre, and I think it’s definitely an under-served one in the cookbook game.
The recipe in Aimee’s book (also beautifully made by Michelle on Hummingbird High), makes a churro that is crunchy, sweet, cinnamon sugar-coated, and served with beautiful dulce de leche. I’ve made them, I’ve eaten them, they are amazing. It’s a great recipe – unlike a lot of fried-dough, these actually hold reasonably well; they’re good for at least a few hours after frying. My version, which tweaks the original only ever-so-slightly, adds a salty peanut edge to the whole shebang. Think peanuts in the cinnamon sugar – adding crunch and savour – and peanut butter whipped into the dulce de leche, which you will want to smear all over your body.
Churros, as you probably know, are usually piped to give them a ridged look, reminiscent of the horns of churro sheep, for which they are named. In her book Aimee says go for it if you want to pipe, but she opts to just roll the batter into little orbs before deep frying. Point for easiness. I go one lazy-step further than that, and just use a mini ice cream scoop to shape them, and then just drop them straight off the scoop into the oil. So you’ve got a high-tech and a low-tech option.
Similarly, the cinnamon-peanut sugar can be made either by blitzing everything in a food processor or just smashing the peanuts (I use salted, because salt is delicious) in a pestle and mortar or plastic-bag-rolling-pin situation. The sauce is a simple case of stirring together store-bought dulce de leche and a spoonful of smooth peanut butter, and then thinning to your desired consistency with a little water. Whoever is luck enough in your life to be the recipient or co-enjoyer of a batch of these is truly endebted to you. So if you need a favour from someone, you know what to do.
- 90g (1 stick, minus 2 tbsp) butter
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup (250ml) water
- 1 cup (150g) plain flour
- 2 eggs
- oil, for frying
- 2 tbsp salted, roasted peanuts
- ½ cup (100g) caster sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tbsp peanut butter
- ½ cup dulce de leche
- Make the sugar coating and sauce first, so you can eat these straight away.
- To make the sugar, crush the peanuts to a fine dust (by way of a pestle and mortar, or a plastic bag and a rolling pin, or a food processor) just be careful not to take them to far to a nut butter. Stir together with the sugar and cinnamon and place in a shallow dish.
- Stir together the peanut butter and dulce de leche in a small bowl, and add about 2-3 tbsp of water, to reach a thick, mayonnaise-like consistency (this will depend on your ingredients - add more or less water or none at all depending on what you have).
- To make the dough for the churros, place the butter, sugar, salt and water into a medium saucepan and place over a medium heat. Bring to the boil, and cook just until the butter melts, then remove from the heat.
- Immediately add in all the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until the dough forms a ball. Place back on the heat, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
- Remove from the heat, and place into a mixing bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat the mix for a minute, to drive some of the steam off, and then add the eggs one by one, beating until completely incorporated.
- Heat about 2 inches of oil in a deep pot (oil should only fo about ⅓ of the way up the sides of the pot) to 180C/350F.
- Using a small ice cream scoop (2 tsp capacity) scoop up and carefully lower balls of the dough into the oil (alternatively, roll little balls with your hands, or use a heaping teaspoonful).
- Fry the churro balls for about 4 minutes, or until dark golden and cooked through, then transfer to some paper to drain. Continue until all the batter is used.
- Toss the churros into the cinnamon peanut sugar, and serve with the PB Dulce de Leche.