Saturday, May 5, 2018

Vegan Churros

These crisp-chewy churros are baked - not fried - and coated head to toe in cinnamon sugar. Even better? They're vegan and nut free!

Happy Cinco de Mayo! While I've never been to Mexico (it's on the bucket list) I do appreciate "real" Mexican food when I can get it. The one exception that I will always make is guacamole - don't hate me, but I can't stand avocado in any form (except perhaps as a cookie or brownie). Mole, arroz negro, cajeta or fideos though- those are fair game, especially when paired with the gorgeous fresh fruit that is so abundant there. One of my all time favourite treats is the churro, and growing up there was a Mexican bakery near the mall that made them in a few different styles. The "basic" sticks, simply coated in cinnamon-sugar, were perfect for on-the-go munching and were never greasy or prone to weighing you down. For more immediate enjoyment, they served the sticks filled with either jam, dulce de leche or Nutella - if that isn't Heaven on a plate, I don't know what is. They had dipping sticks too for the rich, thick hot chocolate, all alongside some of the best, freshest tasting smoothies I ever had. 

Fast forward 20 years and I'm now making them with my Home Ec classes. Churros are, in their very essence, an extruded sweet-ish choux paste, and while they are usually fried to delicious golden perfection, I have a deep-seated fear of deep frying and opted to try a baked version. One of the cardinal rules about choux dough is that it is so temperamental in poor weather, and our egg-and-dairy originals fell flat and doughy by the time I got them into the oven. Not having any extra eggs on hand, I quickly scoured the 'Net for a way to approximate the recipe without the key ingredient (ludicrous, I know, but it was 8PM and I didn't feel like going to the store). Finally, armed with a few well-reviewed recipes, I concocted a slightly modified version of Nature's Emporium's. I didn't need to keep things gluten free, so regular flour fit the bill just fine, and I added a touch of nutmeg for that doughnutty flavour.

Vegan Churros

Out of the oven and rolled in that classic cinnamon sugar, these tasted amazing, and the dough smelled a heck of a lot better than the standard choux paste I'm used to (I can't stand the smell of eggs). These held up to storage a bit better than their pastry cousins as well, keeping crisp for at least a day. I would suggest, should storage be your aim, refrigerating or freezing these "naked", then reheating and sugar-coating them as needed. Of course, a caramel or chocolate dunk is purely optional, although delicious!

Vegan Churros
Makes 28
1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used Ripple Pea Milk)
½ cup vegan butter
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 tbsp maple syrup or agave
1 tbsp vanilla
½ tsp salt
6 tbsp egg replacer powder
½ cup water
1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
Cinnamon sugar, to coat
  1. Heat your oven to 425F.
  2. In a saucepan, bring milk, butter, nutmeg and syrup to a simmer. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and salt and set aside.
  3. Whisk together the egg replacer and the water and add to the milk mixture
  4. Add the flour and baking powder and mix until a smooth batter is formed.
  5. Using a piping bag fitted with a star tip, pipe 28 short, straight lines of dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes.
  7. Lower the heat to 350F and bake for another 10 minutes.
  8. With the oven off and the door slightly open, allow the pastries to rest for an additional 20 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and toss with cinnamon sugar to coat. Store in an airtight container and consume within 3 days.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 54.6
Total Fat: 3.4 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 34.2 mg
Total Carbs: 5.1 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.1 g
Protein: 0.9 g 

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