By Christina Guerrero
BEING OF MEXICAN and Spanish descent, I often
find myself having to translate to co-workers the
names of different dishes in Hispanic cuisine.
However, I’m not the only one who has noticed
some foods no longer need explaining since they’ve
become part of the American menu.
“I wrote a blog post, ‘Churros Don’t Need
Translating Anymore’—meaning it’s not so foreign
anymore,” says Pati Jinich, Costco member, chef,
blogger, host of PBS’s Pati’s Mexican Table and cookbook author ( patismexicantable.com).
The churro is a fried pastry made from dough
pushed through a churrera (churro press), or a pastry
bag with a star tip, to form it into a distinctive stick
with ridges, and then lightly fried, which gives it a
soft, cake-like center and a crispy outer crust traditionally rolled in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.
“Churros have become increasingly more popu-
lar and mainstream in the U.S. in recent years,” says
Jim Morris, national director of bakery sales, J&J
Snack Foods Corporation of California, a Costco
supplier. “That can be attributed to the blending of
Hispanic culture and flavors, along with the fact that
churros are so delicious and now can be found on
dessert menus in high-end restaurants, fast-food
chains, coffee shops, your favorite Costco ware-
house, retail freezer doors and more.”
The history of the churro is debatable, with many
Latin countries claiming it as their own, Jinich says.
One faction believes that Portuguese sailors discov-
ered a savory version of the food in China called you-
tiao and introduced it to Europe, including Spain.
“Some say they were the invention of nomadic
Spanish shepherds living high in the mountains
with no access to bakeries,” Morris says. “The
Spanish shepherds supposedly created churros,
which were easy for them to cook in frying pans
over fire. Lending credibility to this version of his-
tory is the fact that there exists a breed of sheep
called the Navajo-Churro; the horns of these sheep
look similar to the fried pastry.”
The Spanish conquistadors introduced churros
to Latin America, where various countries have cre-
ated different varieties, including churros filled with
dulce de leche (a blend of cooked milk and sugar
resembling caramel), known as churrisimos or chur-
ros rellenos in Mexico, Morris says.
“For Latinos or Hispanics worldwide, I think
that churros mean comfort, nurturing—[churros
remind] them of home,” says Jinich, who lives in
Washington, D.C., but was born in Mexico, where
churros are enjoyed for breakfast, dessert or
merienda (afternoon snack). “Churros also speak of
holiday, but they can be everyday food too.”
In other countries, such as Spain and Mexico,
churros can be found in churrerías (churro cafés) or
sold by vendors on the street corners. Served warm,
churros are versatile and can be topped or dipped in
dulce de leche, chocolate sauce or Nutella; dunked in
hot chocolate or champurrado (a hot corn masa-
based chocolate drink); served with ice cream; or
eaten for breakfast with honey or syrup and café con
leche (coffee with milk).
“It has everything you want in a treat: crispy
and crunchy on the outside, but the inside is soft so
you get different consistencies on the same bite,”
says Jinich. C
The Costco Connection
Churros can be found in Costco Food Courts,
except Hawaii and Puerto Rico; pick up ingredients
for toppings and sauces in your local warehouse.
Churros have become a
fixture of American cuisine
or Toppings for
RICH CHOCOLATE GANACHE
12 ounces semisweet chocolate,
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons sugar
Heat the chopped chocolate in a
double boiler over boiling water
until melted. Slowly fold the whipping cream into the melted chocolate. Mash the butter until it’s
creamy and has no lumps. Finish
off by folding in the softened butter
and adding sugar until everything
is well combined. Drizzle over
churros or use as a dipping sauce.
Makes 2 generous cups.
LIME-APRICOT DIPPING SAUCE
1 cup soft apricot preserves
1 tablespoon sugar
5 tablespoons freshly squeezed
In a saucepan set over medium
heat, combine apricot preserves,
sugar and lime juice. Stir occasionally for a couple of minutes, until the
ingredients are thoroughly dissolved.
Drizzle over churros or use as a
dipping sauce. Makes 1¼ cups.
Courtesy of Pati Jinich (patismexi
for your table
In our digital editions
Click here to watch host Pati Jinich
make champurrado on PBS’s Pati’s
Mexican Table cooking show. (See
page 12 for details.)