Homemade Classic Churros

You ever have one of those weeks where you say “geez, what a week” and then realize it’s only Tuesday?!

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That’s been my week thus far. On Saturday I effectively lost all of my credit/debit cards in between frenzied shopping excursions to get tequila from the liquor store, soil from the garden shop, and toiletries  from Target. “No biggie”, I thought, “I’ll just cancel these and get some new cards delivered. Sh*t happens.”

Sunday, the eye of the storm as it turns out, was spent making churros, drinking 5 margaritas (I can hear my mom sighing from hundreds of miles away), and screaming at my television while I watched the latest Game of Thrones episode.

Monday came around and after a pretty crazy work day I decided to meet a friend for dinner (thank God for Venmo and good friends, y’all!). After dinner I walked back to where I knew I had parked…but my car was nowhere to be found. As my eyes frantically darted around the dark parking lot, they came to rest on the words “permit parking only, all others will be towed” Cool.

So Tuesday morning, here I was. No active bank cards. My car in an impound lot. Little dignity to my name but a LOT of laughs about what a giant hot mess I was being. In the end I handled it pretty seamlessly and all before 10:30 a.m, but there were a couple of hilarious hiccups along the way. First when I realized I couldn’t order an Uber to the impound lot because I had canceled all the credit cards that were linked, so I had to call every immediate family member and see if they could do it for me. The second was when my *ahem* monthly visitor showed up as I was waiting for the Uber.

I can’t make this up. I should have a sitcom, right?

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ANYWAY. Back to these Cinco de Mayo Churros, which you can bet your life I snacked on as a coping mechanism.

They’re good. Really good. In Los Angeles we lived right next door to a place called The Churro Cafe where Mark and I would sometimes order from, so I feel like despite my not being even a little latino, I have some authority on this matter. They’re also pretty easy to make, given you have a dutch oven that you can fry things in.

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Homemade Classic Churros

ingredients:

for the churros:

1 cup water

1/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed

1 tbsp white granulated sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup flour

1 large egg

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

oil for frying

for the sugar coating:

1/2 cup granulated sugar

3/4 tsp cinnamon

optional for serving & garnish: 

espresso

dulce de leche

nutella

directions:

Heat oil in a dutch oven to 375 F. I use a candy thermometer to tell when the oil is at the right temperature and so I can ensure it doesn’t get too hot. Although I will say, the oil got to be about 400 during the actual frying process and the churros came out beautifully browned and the perfect consistency, so you have some wiggle room!

In a large saucepan add the water, butter, sugar, and salt. Mix and heat over medium-high until it starts to boil. Add the flour to the saucepan and reduce the heat to medium-low. Mix contents constantly with a rubber spatula so the dough comes together but doesn’t burn or stick. Try and get most all the clumps out at this stage.

Transfer this dough to a mixing bowl (preferably one for an electric mixer) and let it cool for about 5 minutes, more if necessary. It will remain a bit warm and that’s okay. You just don’t want it hot enough to scramble the egg.

Add the egg and vanilla to the dough and immediately turn on the mixer to incorporate it well.

Transfer the dough to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip (I used a round tip because my star tip was too small, and lived to tell the tale!)

Before you start frying, set up your work station. Make the sugar coating in a shallow bowl or a rimmed dish. Place a few paper towels on another plate. Get a slotted spoon ready to go.

Squeeze the churro dough out directly over the dutch oven and use clean kitchen scissors to cut the pieces off at random lengths. Fry a few churros at a time for about 3-5 minutes or until they’re golden brown on both sides and floating to the top. Use the slotted spoon to remove the churros from the oil, set them on the paper towels to remove any excess oil, and then roll them in the sugar coating. Repeat with all the dough!

Serve warm with dulce de leche or nutella. Also amazing with espresso or coffee!

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Okay, that’s it for now! Have a good week friends, hopefully yours is going a bit smoother than mine. 😉

Cadbury Egg Magic Squares

Sometimes you just need a quick, easy recipe that tastes good and looks festive. I get it. If you’re hosting an Easter get together and you go the whole nine yards on the appetizers and entree, you might just need something simple for the final course. The carrot cake recipe I just shared is a tad involved (as most cakes are). However these magic squares, decorated with mini cadbury eggs, are not!

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I sometimes forget that magic squares are so good because they’re so easy. As if their unimpressive assembly means unimpressive taste. Not the case, people! These end up being pretty adorable and absolutely delicious. And they take about 45 minutes, total. Yaaas!

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Cadbury Egg Magic Squares

ingredients:

1/2th cup butter

crumbs from 12-13 graham crackers

14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk

6 oz of semisweet chocolate morsels

1 cup chopped pecans

1 1/3 cup sweetened coconut flakes

mini cadbury eggs

directions:

preheat oven to 350 F.

place the full stick of butter in a rimmed baking sheet and place in the oven for a few minutes, allowing the butter to melt fully. once the butter has melted, pull the sheet from the oven and evenly distribute the graham cracker crumbs so as to make a dense crust.

evenly pour the sweetened condensed milk all over the graham crackers, so that the entire surface is coated. sprinkle on the chocolate chips, then the pecans. finally distribute the coconut flakes evenly across the sheet. press down on the surface of the coconut, so that all layers are densely packed.

bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until the coconut starts to lightly brown. remove the sheet from the oven. while the coconut is still hot and gooey, add the mini cadbury eggs. doing so while the coconut is still warm will help them adhere to the squares better.

place the sheet in the oven and allow the bars to chill completely. cut into uniform squares, and serve.

enjoy!

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I hope you’re all having the very best Easter! Wishing so badly I was a kid searching for eggs and my basket again. 😉

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Worlds Best Carrot Cake

In my humble opinion no Easter celebration is complete without a carrot cake. It being my very favorite cake, I’ve tried more than a few variations. Even still, my favorite recipe is my moms (you can call it bias, but I swear its superiority is the objective truth).

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I’ve alluded to this cake many times on this blog, so this year I finally decided it was time to share the wealth. It’s a definite crowd pleaser, and the true magic of this cake is it freezes beautifully. I take the leftovers, freeze them by the slice, and pull them out for months (or, let’s be honest, weeks) afterwards whenever I’m craving something indulgent.

A little bit more about the cake: carrot cake recipes often call for raisins, the original version of this one included. I omit them from mine. I love the nutty and carrot-y flavors in the cake and I just think raisins distract from that.

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One of the best parts of making a carrot cake is decorating the top. So much room for creativity! This year I went for a simple but elevated look, with some piped carrot tops and candy eggs. A little Peter Rabbit-esque. Fun!

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ingredients:

1 1/4 cups vegetable oil

2 cups sugar

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

4 eggs

4 cups grated carrots

1 cup pecans

8 oz softened butter

8 oz softened cream cheese

1 lb of powdered sugar

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1 cup sweetened coconut shavings

optional: cadbury eggs, orange food coloring, and carrot greens for garnish

directions:

preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

grease two 9-inch cake pans and line their bottoms with parchment paper.

in a large mixing bowl, combine the vegetable oil and sugar. in a separate bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

alternate between adding some of the dry ingredients and the eggs, one by one, to the sugar/oil bowl. mix after each addition. finally add the carrots and pecans, mix to evenly combine, and divide the batter evenly between the two cake pans.

bake in the oven for 70 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. let the cakes cool completely before removing them from their pans. trust me here.

in a new mixing bowl, cream the butter and cream cheese together. add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract, and beat till everything is well combined.

reserve 2-3 tablespoons of icing for piping the carrots (more if you want to do additional decorations). spread a thick layer of frosting between cake layers, then ice a crumb coat on the whole cake. place the cake back in the fridge for about 20 minutes so that the crumb coat can set.

use the rest of the icing to completely frost the cake. mix a few drops of orange food coloring with the 2-3 tablespoons of reserved frosting. use a piping bag with a large, round tip to pipe the carrot tops. gently insert carrot greens into each of the carrot tops. add the candy eggs in whatever arrangement you like.

take the oven temperature down to 300 F and spread some coconut on a baking sheet. toast the coconut until lightly browned, tossing every so often so the coconut toasts evenly. apply a layer of the toasted coconut to the sides of the cake.

cut & enjoy!

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