The first time I tasted churros was slightly more than a decade ago in a tiny alley in Spain. My best friend and I were on a graduation trip around Europe and the Spanish cities of Madrid and Barcelona were on our list of places to visit. To be honest, I don’t remember much about Madrid but etched deeply in my memory is my first encounter with this Spanish dessert there. It was a dark and cool night (the Spanish eat very late at night) when our Lonely Planet guidebook led us to a cobbled street where a small but busy outdoor cafe sat under a bridge. Locals sat on stools around small round tables as they chatted and sipped chocolate late into the night. And all night long, hot crispy churros and rich hot chocolate just kept coming out of the small food-truck sized kitchen.
Churros are deep fried dough fritters, somewhat like the slimmer, sexier, Spanish cousin of the Chinese ‘you tiao‘. Some even say that it was brought over from China to Europe by Portugese explorers. While others say it was invented by nomadic shepherds high up in the mountains who did not have access to baked goods. Whatever its origins, it is undebatable that this street snack is highly addictive, which explains its popularity beyond Spanish shores.
Churros are made from a basic choux pastry where flour and leavening agents are stirred quickly into boiling water (sometimes milk) and butter. It is a really quick and simple dessert to make and sure to be a crowd-pleaser. Watch my full instructional video below to learn how!