These ridged strips are made from pate a choux (cream puff) dough, piped out of a pastry bag fitted with a star tip directly into the hot oil. The ridges created by the star tip allow the cinnamon sugar coating to cling to a large surface area, which is part of their charm. They are light, crisp, and very easy to make.
Yield: about 36 churros
1 cup water
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1⁄8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Flavorless vegetable oil for deep-frying, such as canola
Half a recipe Cinnamon-Sugar Topping (see below)
Pastry bag fitted with a large star tip (about 1/2-inch opening), such as Ateco #847
1. Combine the water, butter, sugar, and salt in a medium-size saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat and immediately remove from the heat. Quickly stir in the flour all at once with a wooden spoon, until the dough comes together. Place over very low heat and keep stirring to dry out the dough, about 1 minute. It should come away cleanly from the sides of the saucepan. Scrape it into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Turn on medium speed and add the eggs one at a time, allowing each egg to be absorbed before continuing. Beat in the vanilla and cinnamon. The batter should be smooth, golden yellow, and firm enough to hold a shape when mounded with a spoon.
2. Place the cinnamon-sugar topping in a shallow bowl. Line two rimmed baking sheet pans with a triple layer of paper towels. Scrape dough into pastry bag.
3. Heat 3 inches of oil in a deep pot or deep-fat fryer to 350 to 355 degrees. When the oil is hot enough, pipe 5-inch-long strips of dough directly into the hot oil, cutting the dough with a scissor or knife to release it from the tip. Fry a few at a time; do not crowd. Fry until golden brown, about 1 minute, flip over, and fry for about 1 minute more, until golden brown on the other side. Using a slotted spoon, remove each churro from the oil, place on paper towels for a moment, then immediately roll in the cinnamon sugar, tossing to coat completely. Transfer to a serving plate and repeat with remaining dough.
Cinnamon Sugar Topping
This simple combination of cinnamon and sugar is a classic dry topping for doughnuts. You can halve or double the recipe. It will keep for 1 week in an airtight container at room temperature.
Yield: enough to coat the tops of about sixteen 3-inch doughnuts or about 24 doughnut holes or small fritters
1 cup granulated sugar or superfine sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Stir the sugar and cinnamon together in a shallow bowl large enough to hold a doughnut. Place a still-warm doughnut on top of the mixture and toss around to coat thoroughly.