After a hot July filled with savory recipe experiments, I wanted to end the month on a sweeter note. One of my roommates has been bugging for some churros (a request he submitted to the Baking Jar early on), and I wanted to 1. be able to say I can make homemade churros and 2. get him to stop pestering me (haha).
I know from my binging of The Great British Baking Show that churros essentially come from traditional choux pastry dough — an airy, stovetop dough that can be made into cream puffs, eclairs, and many other tasty treats. But since I needed to make vegan churros, the usual egg(s) had to be omitted. The choux recipe ratio is 2:1:1:2 by weight of water to flour to butter to eggs. I measure by volume, so I remember it as 1:1 of everything.
I don’t know about you, but 1 stick of butter to 1 cup of water and flour seemed a bit much (and when I tested it, I didn’t like the flavor and texture it gave). So, my 1 cup of water and 1 cup of flour instead get combined with just 2 tablespoons of butter — and of course, no eggs. What resulted was a crispy, airy, cinnamon-sugary stick of amazingness! …The third time.
At first, I made the dough and everything was going as planned. But I only had disposable piping bags and a smaller star tip. Please learn from my mistakes and don’t use those plastic piping bags (yes, even if you layer them, trust me). They will burst and you will be frustrated. Also, make sure you have a larger star tip if you want thicker churros. If you don’t mind thin little churro sticks, then do you, but I wanted traditional, chunky churros.
My second attempt, however, was even WORSE. I was in the kitchen, doing my thing, frying some churros. Everything seemed to be going well (better than the first time), but then the oil full on exploded. Luckily, I was left mostly unscathed. But I did get some burns all over my left thigh, above my lip, and on my eyelid. Thankfully, none got in my eye or burnt me too badly, but it was definitely a scary experience. I did some research and found very few articles about this kind of thing.
What I did find was that churros are super sensitive. If you don’t use the correct piping tip, they can explode because the heat gets trapped inside, causing the dough to just pop. Also, if there’s even the slightest air bubble in the dough while you’re piping it, that can cause an oil explosion. So here’s my warning: please please PLEASE only try this recipe if you have the proper tools (check my recipe notes for what you’ll need), and if you feel confident with your dough.
Despite all of that drama (and a little bit of pain), I knew I had to try one more time. Lui insisted on helping me fry this time, so he was in charge of the oil — and it did make me feel less nervous. And even though I’m a bit of a control freak in the kitchen, it was nice to have someone else take on some of the work. So I made the dough (mixed it more thoroughly so that there were zero lumps), piped them into the pot — while Lui fried them, wielding his pot lid shield, and took them out for me to finish.
Although this recipe experience was somewhat intense, I still wanted to post it because on the final attempt, the churros were a major success. They were crunchy on the outside, flavorful, and heavenly dipped in the spiced chocolate sauce. But like I said, only fry these if you have the right supplies. If not, and you still want to try your hand at making churros, bake them! I made a note of how to do so in my recipe notes.
I honestly thought making churros was going to be much more complicated and time-consuming than even homemade conchas! At their core, churros are actually pretty simple. There’s minimal ingredients, they cook very quickly, and the yummy payoff at the end will make you feel like you’re in fried dough heaven. Just be very very careful and follow directions!
Vegan Churros with Spiced Chocolate Dipping Sauce Recipe
Vegan Churros with Spiced Chocolate Dipping Sauce
- 1 cup water
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp butter cubed
- 1 tbsp vanilla
- 1 cup flour
- vegetable (or other neutral) oil for frying
- 1 cup sugar
- 2-3 tbsp cinnamon
Spiced Chocolate Dipping Sauce
- ½ cup dark chocolate chips
- ½ cup milk
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp salt
- Combine sugar and cinnamon in shallow bowl. Set aside
- In a small saucepan on medium heat, melt the butter and add water, vanilla, and salt
- Bring to a boil and remove from heat
- Sift in 1 cup flour to the saucepan and mix until smooth dough forms (try to get rid of most of the lumps). Set aside
- In a large pot on medium high heat, bring oil to 360º F – 375º F. Keep lid nearby to protect from potential hot oil splashes
- Add the dough to a piping bag with an 846 star tip (do NOT use plastic piping bags or other size piping tip — the bag will burst and piped churros can explode in the oil with other tips) . Pipe churro dough ~3-4 inches long into oil (cut with clean scissors or sharp knife to avoid splashing)
- Fry for 1-2 minutes until golden brown on both sides. Place on paper towel for 10 seconds and, while still hot, coat in cinnamon sugar mixture
- Once all the dough is cooked, warm milk in a small saucepan or microwave (don't boil)
- Add the milk to bowl of dark chocolate chips and stir. Add cayenne, cinnamon, and salt
- Serve churros right away with warm chocolate dipping sauce. Enjoy!
- Do NOT use plastic disposable piping bags! It’ll be too hot, will definitely burst, and cause more problems than not. I recommend canvas piping bags or nylon coated ones.
- I used the 846 star tip (1/2 inch opening) by Ateco! This is super important — if you use a regular open tip, or a larger star tip, you run the risk of making explosive churros.
- I don’t recommend using olive or coconut oil for frying. You want a neutral oil like vegetable oil or canola oil that has a high heat tolerance and won’t add strange flavor to the churros.
- If frying is too risky or you want an oil-free option, pipe the churros onto a lined baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 400º F and cook for 20-25 min. While still warm, coat in cinnamon sugar. These will be crispier on the outside, but they’ll taste just as good as if fried!
- Chocolate sauce is 100% optional but so so delicious! The sauce and the coating is the reason I don’t add sugar to the dough itself, but if you opt out of the sauce and coating, add 1-2 tbsp of sugar to the dough with the flour.