This post is like a recipe and public service announcement all in one, read carefully, this could save you from disaster. Actually.
I should also mention, I didn’t make these with the intention of posting them on the blog, but after it was all said and done, I had to share the story, so I snapped some photos with my iPhone. (Thank god I didn’t have my actual camera on me! You’ll find out why, soon enough)
What began as an exciting foray into the cuisine of Spain, became a harrowing tale of disaster and determination, in what has become the scariest thing I have ever cooked.
As I waited for my girlfriend Megan to get home from a meeting, I began cooking a casual meal of salmon and pasta for the two of us. As meetings often do, hers took longer than expected, leaving me waiting with a cooked meal and half an hour to kill. In a burst of spontaneity, I decided I’M GOING TO MAKE CHURROS! AH YES! BRILLIANT IDEA! GREAT SURPRISE FOR MEGAN!
Note: I have never made Churros.
Thoroughly excited by my decision and the prospective Churros, I boiled a cup of water with a pinch of salt, added a cup of flour, and mixed until a dough formed. Simple enough I thought, this recipe is gonna be great!
I set the dough aside, Megan arrives home, we eat, Megan watches TV, I begin to prepare my Churros in secret.
The recipe says to use a “Churrera” to form the Churro, fortunately I was able to find a cookie press in Megan’s house, which seems to be nearly the exact same thing as a “Churrera”. Unfortunately I didn’t see the star attachment, and began preparing my Churros with a wide nozzle tip. Apparently this was A BAD MOVE!
Cookie Press | Churrera
With a few strips of Churros laid out, I heated the oil, the recipe called for 350-375°F but I put it on medium heat, and hoped for the best! (Probably another BAD MOVE – buying a deep fryer thermometer next time).
With crossed fingers I dropped my first piece of Churro in to “test the waters” so to speak. Everything seemed to be going well, though It wasn’t browning, so I turned up the heat a little bit more. That’s gotta do the trick right? NOPE.
BOOOM! CHURRO EXPLOSION!
HOT OIL EVERYWHERE, CHURRO ON THE FLOOR, ACROSS THE KITCHEN, STUCK TO THE ROOF!! (WHYYY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME CHURRO GODS!!)
CINNAMON SUGAR SAVED MY LIFE! (My back was turned to the explosion, as I was making cinnamon sugar for the almighty Churro). My poor shirt. RIP.
Utterly terrified of making another Churro, but desperately wanting to finish what I started, I abandoned sanity, Googled “Churro Explosion” and amongst horrifying results like “The Exploding Churro Scandal of Chile”, I found this educational piece called “The Lessons Found in Exploding Churros” (I would highly recommend reading this before making Churros!). Armed with knowledge behind the more scientific side of Churros, I packed my dough back into a ball, stuffed it into my cookie press (with the star attachment this time) and piped out many beautiful little Churros.
In what could be unwavering bravery or complete stupidity, I heated my oil once again, and prepared myself mentally and physically for potential disaster. Along with using the proper tip for the Churros, I took a toothpick and hollowed holes in each Churro, (hopefully) making an escape route for any steam building up inside. As another means of protection I placed a large lid over my pot to shield me from flying Churros and oil explosions (it worked – if you use a lid, make sure it’s not sealing off the pot, as that can cause an oil explosion. This lid was merely a shield and did not create any form of seal around the edge of the pot).
I courageously placed a batch of Churros in the hot oil, stomach in my throat, heart beating, I watch tensely as these seemingly innocent bits of dough bubbled and fried. Relaxing as time passes and the Churros gently fry, when all of the sudden…POP!
I’M BACK IN THE BATTLEFIELD!! But wait. Churros are still frying, no oil spills, lid is still on. I scan the scene with a sigh of relief. One of the Churros looks a little messed up. Fortunately, instead of the entire thing becoming a steam filled bomb, the hot air poofed out of the side of the Churro. No explosion. No mess. Yet I feel no relief. I wait in fear as they continue to fry. Unable to take it anymore I remove them from the oil, place them on a paper towel, then toss in a bowl with some cinnamon sugar and have a taste.
WHYYY ARE YOU SOO TASTY LITTLE CHURRO! Is it the lust for danger, the adrenaline pumping moments as I watch them fry, the crispy exterior, soft interior, or the cinnamon sugar that make these so delicious?
I dont know.
What I do know, is I have several more batches left to fry… I hand over a bowl of Churros to Megan (which she promptly devours), and brace myself for another dance with death. I make it through another couple batches, with a few minor pops, thinking to myself, “you know, this whole Churro thing ain’t so bad!”. That is, until my final batch. Of course, being the last pieces of dough, they are kind of the rejects of the bunch, thinking I probably shouldn’t risk it, I go for it anyways…
Half way through – POW! POT FALLS OVER, LID FALLS OFF, CHURROS ALL OVER THE STOVE, OIL ALL OVER THE STOVE. WHYYYY!?!
Fortunately, the lid did it’s job. The blast was contained. The Churros and oil were deflected off the lid and all over the stove, and while still being quite the mess, I suffered no oil/Churro related injuries.
A night of cooking that will surely lead to post traumatic stress next time I deep fry anything, ended with a huge mess, a valuable lesson in the hazards of cooking, and some wonderfully delicious pieces of fried dough, that are by far the scariest things I have ever cooked in my life.
Oh yeah and here is the recipe (adapted from this cookbook):
- 1 cup water
- 2 pinches of salt
- 1 cup flour
- 2-4 cups canola oil (depends on pot size & how many you wish to fry at once)
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- Boil water, add salt.
- Once water has boiled, add flour, turn off heat, mix flour and water until a dough forms.
- Set the dough aside to cool.
- With a cookie press (must use star tip) or a Churrera, press out dough.
- Cut into approximately 2 inch pieces (longer if you desire). Poke hole through the middle to avoid steam build up (use toothpick or skewer).
- In a deep fryer, or appropriately sized pot, heat oil to 350-375°F.
- Fry Churro dough until golden brown.
- Remove to paper towel, allow to rest briefly to remove some excess oil.
- Combine cinnamon and sugar in a bowl.
- Toss fried Churros in cinnamon sugar.
I would love to hear advice from anybody who has experience frying Churros! What are your tips and tricks?