Baked Churros

That’s right! Baked, not fried.

I’ve been wanting to make a baked version of these insanely addictive treats for quite some time now. My mom absolutely loves them and I so wanted to bake her a batch while she was here, visiting us. But every time we went out to eat she would skip the entree and order a plate of churros for herself. I did not want to double up on those calories so I kept delegating this recipe to the bottom of my baking to-do list.

Then I found the perfect motivation. I made a batch of Smitten Kitchen’s Hot Fudge Sauce. This stuff is indeed the bomb. I want to put it over everything! And what goes better with chocolate sauce than churros?

I mean, just check this out!

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It’s easy to make – half an hour from beginning to end – and it’s something you can easily whip up for company. Best part is, no special equipment needed. Just a saucepan, spatula and some elbow grease!

Let’s get started

Yield – 24 Churros each 4 inches long

Ingredients

  • All purpose flour – 1 and 1/3 cup
  • Large eggs – 3 (at room temperature)
  • Unsalted butter – 1/2 cup (If using salted butter leave out salt from the dry ingredients)
  • Light brown sugar – 1 tbsp
  • Granulated sugar – 2 tbsp
  • Salt – 1/4 tsp
  • Water – 1 cup
  • Vanilla extract -1 tsp
  • Granulated sugar with 1 tsp of nutmeg or cinnamon for dusting finished churros – 1/3 cup

Method

  • Preheat oven to 400 F or 205 degree Celsius
  • Add butter, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, salt (if using) and water to a medium sized saucepan and place it on medium heat. Stir occasionally till the sugars and butter melt completely
  • Let the liquid come to a boil and then take it off the heat
  • Add in the vanilla extract and flour to the hot liquid and stir vigorously till a smooth dough is formed and it begins to gather around the spatula
  • Make a well in the center of the dough and and the first egg. Stir vigorously again till the egg is completely incorporated. It takes a couple of minutes. You will see the dough getting smoother and shinier after the egg is mixed in
  • Mix the other two eggs one at a time stirring thoroughly after each addition. Here’s a visual guide. The image on the right was taken after the three eggs were added

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  • Fill the dough into a piping bag fitted with a wide open star tip and pipe the dough in straight lines on a parchment lined sheet tray. I piped them about 3.5 to 4 inches long

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  • Spray or lightly brush the piped dough with oil. Bake in a preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes
  • When done the churros will be crisp and golden brown on the outside and will slide around easily on the tray
  • Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes
  • Take granulated sugar and nutmeg (or cinnamon) in a wide bowl and mix. Toss warm churros in the sugar till they are lightly coated. Serve!

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Notes – These churros are best eaten fresh, right out of the oven. You can dip them in any sauce of your choice – melted chocolate, salted caramel, fudge – all work great! If you want to make these churros in advance, cool them and store in an airtight container. Just before serving, warm them in a preheated oven at 350 F or 180 degree Celsius for 5 minutes and then toss them in the sugar – nutmeg mixture 

Recipe adapted from Cookie Dough and Oven Mitt

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Banana Bread with style!

Who doesn’t make banana bread, right? It’s almost the only thing that pops into your head when you spot over ripe bananas. But the thing is, it can get pretty boring pretty quickly. Frankly, I get bored just making it sometimes.

So when my toddler, who usually inhales anything with even a hint of sweetness about it, walked right past a slice of warm chocolate chip banana bread last week, I knew it was time to give this menu staple a makeover!

Loaf 1

Simply Recipes has a fantastic banana bread recipe that I use as a base for all my experiments. Turns out great every time! For this round, I replaced most of the APF with whole wheat flour and added pureed berries to the batter. Total yum!

Loaf 2

How good does that look! Here’s how it’s done

Ingredients

  • Whole wheat flour – 1 cup
  • All purpose flour – 1/2 cup
  • Baking soda – 1 tsp
  • Bananas – 2
  • Melted butter – 1/3 cup
  • Granulated sugar – 1/2 cup
  • Egg – 1
  • Vanilla extract – 1 tsp
  • Milk – 2 tbsp
  • Blueberries – 1/4 cup
  • Blackberries – 6
  • Maple syrup – 1 tbsp

Note 1: I used salted butter. If using unsalted butter add 1/2 tsp of salt to the dry ingredients.

Note 2: You could any combination of berries you like. I used what I had in my freezer. This recipe makes more than you need. Store the leftover puree in the fridge. You could even use a berry jam instead of making your own. 

Method

  • Make the berry puree first: Add the berries, maple syrup and a tsp of water to a small saucepan and cook it on medium low heat, stirring regularly, till the berries soften and disintegrate. Add another tsp of water if you see the berries beginning to stick to the bottom of the pan. Once cooked down, cool the berries and puree them in a blender. Set aside.

Berry puree

  • Preheat oven to 350 F or 180 degree Celsius. Grease and flour a loaf pan. I used an 8×4 inch pan
  • In a big mixing bowl, mash the bananas with a fork till they become smooth and creamy. You should get approximately 3/4 cup of puree
  • Add the baking soda and salt (if using) and whisk briefly
  • Add the egg, sugar and vanilla extract and whisk to combine
  • Add both the flours and whisk till there are no dry streaks. Do not over mix
  • Add about half of the batter to the loaf pan. Add two or three tsps of the berry puree at multiple spots on the batter and swirl with a toothpick. Make sure not to swirl too much or the berry streaks will disappear
  • Add the remaining batter to the pan and top with a few more tsps of berry puree and swirl with a toothpick

Loaf pre-bke

  • Bake in a preheated oven for 55 minutes.
  • Check the loaf about halfway through and turn the pan around to ensure even baking
  • At the 40 minute mark, once you see the top of the loaf has browned, cover the top with foil and continue to bake till done. This prevents the top from burning and helps it retain that lovely golden brown color
  • At the 55 minute minute mark insert a toothpick or cake tester into the loaf to check. It should come out clean with maybe a few moist crumbs attached. The sides of the loaf should begin to pull away from the pan
  • Cool the banana bread in the pan on a cooling rack for about half an hour
  • Carefully remove the loaf from the pan and place it back on the rack to cool completely
  • Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 days.

Slice 1

This loaf is not too sweet. A generous dollop of the berry puree slathered onto a slice of this banana bread just kicks it up a notch! You must try it!

Slice 2

If you do give this one a shot let me know how it turned out! Can’t wait to hear all about it 🙂

Caramel Sauce

I love a good dessert sauce. It adds a generous dose of glamour and oomph to even the most mundane of desserts. But as far as caramel sauce is concerned I’ve been sitting firmly on the fence for a long time. And I refuse to budge. I have to concede, however, that it is not always the adulterant I’d like to think it is. I may not like it on my ice-cream or in my coffee but it does pair very well with popcorn, apples or dark chocolate.

But have I ever tried making it at home? Nah! ‘It’s not worth the effort’, I kept telling myself. That’s until I came face to face with this recipe. It’s pure gold! image

I tried to drink it straight out of the jar. It was only when husband reminded me that I wasn’t pregnant anymore and that drinking dessert sauces neat wasn’t going to do my waistline any good, did better sense prevail. It’s THAT good!

For this basic sauce you need just three ingredients – Sugar, Butter and Cream. It’s super simple.

Follow the pictures below for a step by step visual guide. You’ll be done in 15 minutes.

Ingredients

  • Granulated sugar – 1 cup
  • Salted butter – 6 tbs (chopped into cubes)
  • Cream – 1/2 cup

Method

In a saucepan with tall sides, heat granulated sugar on medium heat, stirring constantly with a silicon or wooden spatula.

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The sugar will get clumpy before it melts into a thick golden coloured liquid. Keep stirring. Make sure not to burn the sugar. Reduce heat if required.

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Once melted, add in all the butter. The sugar will bubble up. This is where the tall sides of the pan come to your rescue. Keep stirring till the butter melts entirely.

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Slowly drizzle in the cream while stirring. This too will cause the caramel to bubble up and splatter. And yes…..continue to stir

image Allow the caramel to boil for a minute. After this stage, you can take your caramel off the heat and allow it to cool.

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If you’d like a thicker caramel which just a faint hint of bitterness to it….keep stirring on a low flame till it reaches the desired consistency. Remember, caramel will thicken further once it is cooled. Pour the caramel sauce into a jar with a tight lid and store it in the refrigerator. It lasts for up to 10 days. Reheat in the microwave, in short 5 second bursts before using.

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