Monday, January 16, 2012

Spanish Beavertails

What could be more Ottawa than skating along the Rideau Canal with a fresh BeaverTail resting in your wool mitten? Skating is a little risky for me now. But a BeaverTail? Always a welcome treat.

This weekend, I tinkered with my newest kitchen gadget and made a "Spanish BeaverTail." No, not with chorizo and manchego cheese. Although, I could be on to something.

I enlisted the help of a mini-army for my churros marathon. My 11-year-old was in charge of loading the churros maker. His nine-year-old sister sprinkled the cinnamon sugar and struggled hard to keep her fingers out of her mouth. My five year-old looked on, waiting for scraps. Our 18-year-old Filippo piped the dough into the oil. 

My aim was to make a gluten free version that doesn't need to be deep fried. I can hear them now, my Spanish and Latin American friends wagging their fingers in disapproval, "Impostor! Qu√© sacrilegio."

Churros need to eaten immediately. Ever try a cold churro?  It's a limp grease stick. My baked version can be enjoyed fresh out of the oven, or saved for later and reheated in the toaster oven. And they're still delicious. Just ask the official testers.

The kids said, "These taste kinda like BeaverTails." Best of all, we didn't need to brave the frigid cold (-27 degrees) to get them.
The Dough
The basic churro ingredients are hot water, oil, flour, sugar, salt and an egg. For a gluten free version, I use a combination of rice and sorghum flours.

The Device
A churros maker is a metal piping bag. A regular piping bag or a milk bag with the corner snipped off does the job too. A star-shaped tip creates ridges which help the cinnamon sugar and chocolate stick.

The Technique
If you use the deep-fry method, you'll need lots of oil and a deep skillet. Make sure your oil is very hot. I use my tried and true chop stick test. Place a wooden chop stick or tooth pick into the oil to touch the bottom of the pan. If tiny bubbles appear, the oil is hot enough. It's best to pipe out three or four strips  at a time.

Fried Churros dusted with cinnamon sugar. Nutella on the side.

If you prefer the baked method, pipe the dough onto a baking sheet and brush the churros with vegetable oil. Bake in a hot oven (around 425 degrees) for 10 - 15 minutes each side.

Baked Churros

A-K's Churros Dough
Makes about 8 sticks

1 cup fennel tea 
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup rice flour
1/4 cup sorghum flour
pinch salt
1 tablespoon coconut sugar
1 egg

Fennel Tea: 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds in 2 cups hot water. Let steep for five minutes. Discard the seeds. You will have an extra cup for drinking.

In a small bowl, combine dry ingredients and set aside.
In a small sauce pan, add fennel tea and oil. Bring to a gentle boil then turn off heat.

Add dry ingredients to the hot water, stirring constantly.
Keep stirring until ingredients form a ball. Let cool for a minute.
Add egg and combine well.
Let batter rest for 10 minutes.
Transfer batter into a piping bag.
Fry or bake as desired.


  1. I know one boy in particular who will be enjoying
    these at your house for the next few months!
    Those churros look great!