Food

Mexican Buñuelos a Holiday Tradition — Incredibly Crispy Cinnamon Pastries

Buñuelos are a sweet holiday Mexican tradition, it's a flatbread that's fried and coated with sugar and cinnamon

Buñuelos are a Sweet Mexican Holiday Tradition | Source:: JM Communications

HOUSTON, TX — (EINPresswire) — Holiday Buñuelos are a Mexican holiday treat, a thin pastry that is fried until light and crispy, then coated with a dusting of sugar and cinnamon.

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The origin of the name, buñuelo, is not clear, but the historical origins of this pastry are Arabic, according to chef and cookbook author, Adán Medrano. Buñuelos are a holiday tradition in Mexico, but they are Spanish in origin and also Arabic, since Spain was under Arab rule for 800 years, until 1492. In Granada, Spanish/Arabic kitchens made buñuelos by first frying the wheat pastries and then dipping them in boiling honey.  This traditional Mexican recipe does not use honey but instead uses a dusting of sugar mixed with the wonderfully aromatic “canela,” Mexican cinnamon.

To make buñuelos, chef Medrano starts with a sweetened version of regular flour tortillas.  He says three things to keep in mind when making wheat tortillas.

First, knead the dough thoroughly.  Vigorous kneading changes the structure of the wheat protein to create strands of gluten that will eventually provide the structure and elasticity in the tortilla.

Second, let the dough rest for 20 minutes after kneading it.

And third, make a testal by rotating a ball of dough with your hands while pinching the edges and folding them under to fashion a little round pillow that has an indentation on the underside. The word “testal” is from the Nahuatl word, “Téxtatl” and refers originally to the ball of corn masa that is used to make corn tortillas.

This is chef Adán Medrano’s recipe for traditional Texas Mexican Buñuelos. The recipe is adapted from the cookbook, “Truly Texas Mexican: A Native Culinary Heritage In Recipes” published by Texas Tech University Press.

Ingredients (makes 1½ dozen round buñuelos or about 70 ribbons)

4 cups all-purpose wheat flour

1 ½ teaspoons salt
 
1 ½ teaspoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup vegetable shortening that has no-trans-fats
1 cup warm or hot water

2 cups, or as needed, peanut oil to fry the buñuelos


For the cinnamon sugar mix:
1 cup granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons ground Mexican canela or regular cinnamon

Method
1.  Combine 1 cup of sugar with 2 Tbs cinnamon and set aside.
2. In a food processor, with the blade attachment, place the dry ingredients and pulse a couple of times to mix all the ingredients thoroughly.
3. Add the shortening and process until the shortening is completely blended, about 10 seconds. There will be no granules, but if you squeeze the flour between your fingers, it will stick together.
4. Process again and as you do so, add the water slowly until the flour forms a ball of dough. This will take about 20 seconds.
5. Place the dough in a bowl or cutting board and knead it with gusto for 6 minutes until it is shiny and definitely elastic. Let it rest, covered, for 20 minutes.
6. Divide the dough into 18 balls. Form each ball into a “testal,” a little round pillow with an indentation in the middle as described above. The indentation in the middle and the fat edges will make rolling a snap.
7. Use a “palote”, rolling pin, to roll each round tortilla to a thickness of 1/8 inch.  If you’d like to have a big round buñuelo, skip the next step and proceed to step #9.
8. Cut each tortilla into 2″ wide strips. In the middle of each strip, cut a slit lengthwise with a knife, leaving 1 inch on each end uncut.  Take each strip and insert one end through the slit, twisting as in the picture, to form a swirling ribbon.
9. In a deep skillet, heat peanut oil to very hot, shimmering, 350 F.  Fry the buñuelos, turning so that both sides turn golden.  This will take about 2 minutes.
10. Place on paper towels and sprinkle with generous dashes of cinnamon sugar.
Serve the buñuelos with milk-free Mexican chocolate, “Chocolate Caliente.”

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