Why stand in line at your local food booth? There's nothing more satisfying than fresh homemade churros--my daughter's favorite treats! Golden brown and crispy on the outside with a soft and tender inside, they are always a crowd favorite in my familia.
a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch star tip; a deep-frying thermometer
For the churros: In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring 1 cup water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the butter, sugar and salt to the water and stir until the butter is melted, the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is returned to a rolling boil. Meanwhile, whisk together the flour and cinnamon in a medium bowl until combined.
Turn off the heat. Using a heatsafe rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in the flour mixture until it’s evenly saturated and coming together in a smooth ball. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and let rest for 5 minutes.
Use the spatula to break up the dough into small pieces in the bowl and add the eggs and vanilla. Using a hand mixer on medium speed, work your way around the bowl incorporating the chunks of dough, egg and vanilla. The mixture will be lumpy at first. After 5 minutes of mixing, it should be evenly hydrated and smooth.
Transfer the mixture to a large pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch star tip. Note: A quart container or large cup is very useful to have standing by, since you will be picking up and putting down your pastry bag quite a bit.
For the coating: In a baking dish or large bowl, add the sugar, cinnamon and salt. This will be used to coat the churros, so make sure the vessel is large enough that a churro can lay flat in the sugar mixture.
To a large heavy-bottomed pot, add 1 1/2 to 2 inches of vegetable oil. Set over medium-high heat until a deep-frying thermometer registers 350 degrees F.
Reduce the heat to medium and using your pastry bag, pipe four 5-inch-long churros directly into the oil. Use kitchen shears or a paring knife to cut off the dough from the piping bag so that it will fall into the hot oil. (The churros should not feel crowded; the number you can cook at a time will vary depending on your pot size.) Cook until the outsides are dark golden brown and the insides are cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes on each side. The churros should be a dark golden color before you flip them. Periodically check your thermometer and increase or decrease the heat as needed to keep your oil at 350 degrees F.
When the churros are dark golden on both sides, lift them out with tongs and place on a rack to cool slightly and drain excess oil. While they are still warm, toss them in the cinnamon-sugar mixture so they have a nice even coating. Repeat with the remaining dough. Serve warm or at room temperature.