As I was frying these churros, my house was engulfed by the smells of the oil and the dough that transported me to the traditional churrerias in Spain. Eating churros in Spain equates to eating pancakes in certain countries… it’s not just about the food, but the rituals that accompany it.
For me, it reminds me of the many times my mother, my aunt and I would meet up in Sevilla to go shopping, first stopping to have a “churro con chocolate” breakfast around the corner from my great-aunt’s apartment in San Gonzalo. We still indulge in some churros with our afternoon coffee when we go shopping; but as we all see less of each other, it only happens when we are together in Sevilla.
However, and this is a big one for me, I always have gotten an upset stomach after eating them. I don’t know if it’s the dough (made with wheat flour) or possibly the oils in which they are fried. But it hardly ever fails. So when I eat them out now, I usually have only one (and yes, I admit dipped in white, refined sugar, or dipped in chocolate as pictured below).
But as I’m on a quest to Paleolise many of my favourite Spanish indulgences, I finally tackled the churro.
My first attempt was based on the recipe for buñuelos (a fried-dough pastry, similar to choux) that I found in a book I bought on our last visit, called “Come Sin Gluten y Disfruta” by Begoñia Naveira. Yet, the dough was raw and still quite sticky inside after frying and baking. And honestly, it was a slippery glob when handling.
As the process is slightly labour-intensive, I thought of giving up and trying it another day. But then my ambition and determination got the better of me, and I tried again. The secret to my success is the addition of coconut flour and altering the amounts of the ingredients a bit.
These truly taste and feel like the real churros from Spain. I tried two ways: frying and baking. And while frying is the authentic way to make them, especially in olive oil, using a different oil (with a healthier smoke point, such as lard or coconut oil) will make them a healthier treat. If you want the real taste, though, frying them in olive oil is the way to go. And after all, this is a treat, so just don’t over-indulge!
As for the baking: I like the results, but it’s more of a choux pastry then, instead of a churro. So… this recipe lends itself to more experimentation and to making some “Neapolitans” filled with cream and some delightful choux!
I also froze some of the fried churros to see how they would “work” the next day. I took them out of the freezer, and stuck a few directly into the oven at 180C (350F) and heated them up for about 5 minutes (probably effectively 3 once the oven reached the temperature). They were delicious! I would say they were even better the next day!
I left the choux-like mounds (pictured above) at room temperature overnight and they were also very nice the next day. They held their shape and texture, and the inside was still perfect.
And one last word of praise to this recipe: they do not seep in the oil when frying. The inside stays nice and dry, which is a really good thing since the real churros actually sometimes get oily inside.
So go ahead and give this a try! I can’t wait to hear your feedback. Personally, I’m ecstatic that this worked and I know I can create more things with this basic recipe. 😉
- 125ml (1/2 cup) water
- 100g (7 tablespoons) butter, measured when slightly softened
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea/himalayan salt
- 33g (1/4 cup) coconut flour (scoop and scrape method)
- 66g (1/2 cup) arrowroot powder (scoop and scrape method)
- 3 eggs
- Be prepared for some intense stirring and a bit of a workout. But these churros are worth it.
- NOTE: You will notice that the amounts are given in both metric and U.S. And although the amounts are not an exact conversion, they both work. I’ve tried it both ways to ensure both are foolproof. Don’t “mix and match”; either stick to metric or U.S. when making this recipe.
- I recommend preparing and measuring everything out before starting, as you will have to move rapidly and will not have time to measure once you’ve commenced the process.
- Also, crack the eggs in individual bowls before hand. (I always crack eggs separately when cooking/baking to ensure I don’t throw away a batch because of one bad egg.)
- Prepare your piping bag and tip as well. I used the Wilton 1M.
- Combine the coconut flour, arrowroot powder and salt together in one small bowl.
- Over low heat, in a medium pot, melt the butter in the water and when it starts to bubble, immediately, still over low heat, dump in the flours all at once.
- With a wooden spoon, stir vigorously until a ball is formed, which will be in about 30 seconds or less. (The dough will become a ball as you stir and will be sticky in itself but not stick to the pot. See photos attached.)
- Keep stirring for about 1 minute in total.
- Remove from heat and let cool about 5 minutes. (I actually timed this.)
- Add one egg at a time, stirring vigorously after each addition.
- The dough will slightly come apart when you first add each egg, but once you stir long enough, it comes back together, although never as dry as like in the beginning. (The dough starts to get noticeably stickier after egg number two.)
- Once all the eggs have been incorporated and the dough is well blended, spoon the dough into a piping bag.
- For Spanish looking churros, you’ll want to use a star or round tip. (Churros in Spain are typically either star shaped – pictured- or long round pieces.)
- Heat your oil of preference in a deep pot or a deep fryer (for an authentic Spanish taste, use olive oil).
- Once the oil is hot enough, carefully pipe the dough into the hot oil. You can use a pair of scissors to help you cut off the dough. (Be careful not to burn yourself or cause splatter.)
- Make either long or curled shapes.
- Fry turning over with a tong until golden brown on each side.
- Note: as the oil gets warmer, the dough will turn darker quicker, but still needs to be cooked through.
- Remove the churros from the oil with the tong and place on a plate prepared with paper towel (to absorb the extra oil).
- Serve immediately with thick, sweetened hot chocolate or dip in some coconut sugar.
- This dough also worked well in the oven, for a “healthier” version:
- Preheat oven to 200C (400F).
- Place a sheet of parchment on a cookie sheet.
- Pipe out desired shapes. Depending on what shape you choose, the baking time will have to be adjusted.
- For churro shaped rounds or “sticks”, bake about 8-10 minutes, turning over half way.
- For choux shaped mounds, bake 15 minutes. (These are also good the next day, stored at room temperature.)
- You can also freeze the fried/baked dough and reheat in the oven at 180C (350F) for about 5 minutes.