A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from January 24, 2008
Churros (Spanish fritters or doughnuts)

Churros are neither Texas nor Mexican, but have become associated with both cuisines and are sometimes served as a Tex-Mex dessert. Churros are fried dough, usually stretched into a long string and then topped with cinnamon sugar. Churros originated in Spain and are sometimes called “Spanish doughnuts” or “Spanish fritters.”

Churros gained popularity in America as fair food (such as the State Fair of Texas). “Churros” have been cited in English since at least 1910.

“Churro” is also the name of a Spanish brand of sheep that popularly roamed the Rio Grande Valley. It is believed that “churros” (the food) uses the same Spanish name, but the etymology is obscure.


Wikipedia: Churro
A churro is a fried-dough pastry-based snack which originated in Spain, and is popular in Latin America, France, Portugal, the USA, and Spanish-speaking Caribbean islands. It is sometimes referred to as a Spanish doughnut or Mexican doughnut. The snack gets its name from its shape, which resembles the horns of the Churro breed of sheep reared in the Spanish grasslands of Huarocho.

The churro is typically fried to a crunchy consistency. Its surface is ridged due to being piped from a churrera, a syringe with a star-shaped nozzle. Churros are generally prisms in shape, and may be straight, curled or spirally twisted.

Like pretzels, churros are often sold by street vendors who in many cases will fry them freshly on the street stand and sell them hot. In Spain, they are available in cafes for breakfast, although they may be found throughout the day and night as a snack. Specialized churrerías can be found as street shops or as towable wagons in local fiestas. In Andalusia (Spain), a cousin of the churro made with deep-fried wheat flour is sold in spirals or “wheels”, which are cut into manageable portions after frying. These are called porras and calentitos or calientes, as opposed to the potato dough version made in the rest of Spain, also sold in the region but under the name Calentitos de Patatas.

Filled straight churros are found in Cuba (with fruit, such as guava), Brazil (with chocolate, doce de leite, among others), and in Chile and Argentina (usually filled with manjar, also known as dulce de leche, but also with chocolate and vanilla). In Spain they have a considerably wider diameter to allow for the filling. A sweet Turkish ‘fluted fritter’ that greatly resembles churros, is called Tulumba Tatlisi.

Until recently, outside of Latin American street stands and eating establishments, churros could be difficult to find. They were only available at fairs, carnivals, theme parks, and sports stadiums. However, with the increased popularity of Latin American food, today there are a growing number of franchise restaurants that sell fresh churros, both traditional and filled.

In 2003, Costco started serving churros in their food court at most clubs, replacing pretzels.

Wikipedia: Churros (sheep)
An ancient Iberian breed of sheep, the Churra (renamed Churro by American frontiersmen) was first imported to North America in the 16th century and used to feed Spanish armies and settlers. By the 17th century Churros were popular with the Spanish settlers in the upper Rio Grande Valley. Flocks of Churros were also acquired by Navajo through raids and trading, and soon became an important part of their economy and culture.

In the early 1900s, the federal government decided that other breeds would be better for reservation life and a program of out-breeding nearly caused the Churro sheep to go extinct. People concerned with quality of wool, history and culture of the Navajo are making an effort to save the breed.

Spanish traditional wisdom advises not to mix Churras and Merinas, i.e., not to confuse different concepts.

Wise Geek
What is a Churro?
A churro is Spain’s answer to the donut, a crunchy, deep-fried sweet snack that resembles the horns of the churro sheep. They are popular not only in Spain, where they are often served at breakfast, but also in Mexico, and several other Latin American countries. North Americans are not strangers to churros, which are often found in amusement parks and at county fairs.

Churros are usually made of a batter which is piped into extremely hot oil. They are certainly not a low-fat snack because of the frying process. Once the churro is fried it is traditionally rolled in hot cinnamon sugar. The ideal churro has a distinct crunch when one bites into it, but the interior should have a slight softness at the center.

One can often find churro stands in Spain, where these delectable snacks are prepared per customer request. Some tiny shops are called churrerias. Alternately, churrerias can be portable trucks or wagons that are used for local festivals or events.

Most cafes in Spain offer churros in the morning, and the most traditional accompaniment for them is a cup of hot chocolate, which may also be spiced with cinnamon. People often dip churros into the chocolate and claim this as the ultimate churro experience. 

Gourmet Sleuth
Churros
Churros are fried strips of dough typically served hot and sprinkled with powdered sugar, cinnamon and sugar or dipped in chocolate. While the churro is actually an import from Spain the dessert became very popular in Mexico.  It is customary to serve churros with Mexican Hot Chocolate or Cafe de Olla.  Recipe by Jane Milton, from her cookbook “Mexican” (...)

Cooks.com
CHURROS
1 c. water
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 c. all-purpose flour
2 eggs
Peel of 1/2 lemon
Fat for deep-fat frying
Granulated sugar or powdered sugar

In saucepan, bring water, sugar, and salt to boiling. Remove from heat. Stir in flour, all at once, and beat until smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until mixture is smooth. Spoon batter into pastry bag fitted with large star point. Pipe 3 inch strips onto waxed paper or floured surface. Add lemon peel to deep fat and heat to 375 degrees. Fry churros, a few at a time, for 3 to 4 minutes or until golden brown, turning as necessary. Drain on paper toweling. Roll in granulated sugar or powdered sugar. Makes 24.

Wikipedia: Six Flags Over Texas
Six Flags Over Texas is a major amusement park located in Arlington, Texas (USA), east of Fort Worth and about 15 miles (24 km) west of Dallas. It is the oldest park of the Six Flags chain. The park opened on August 1, 1961 following just a year of construction and an initial investment of US$10 million by real estate developer Angus G. Wynne, Jr.
(...)
Events
Six Flags Over Texas hosts several seasonal events throughout the year including:
(...)
Festival Latino - In April, Hispanic and Latino heritage is celebrated throughout the park. The park alive with arts, crafts, performances by bands and dancers, as well as authentic cuisine including fajitas, sweet corn, churros, and tacos. The annual event started in 2006. 

California Churros
Only from California Churros® can the consumer also enjoy a variety of flavorful filled churros; Strawberry, Raspberry, Apple, and Bavarian Creme, each filled to perfection. We have been producing delicious churros for over ten years. We pioneered the manufacturing of filled churros. Consumers recognize the word “churro” and associate it with its pleasing texture and delicious taste. Our California Churros® are marketed as a tasty snack food to enjoy at any time of day. Churros can be found in a variety of commercial establishments such as schools, amusement parks, swap-meets, supermarkets, mini-marts, drive-in theatres, public events, and fairs.

Churros - Wikiality, the Truthiness Enyclopedia (humor website)
Churros are a dessert, and the best thing to come out of Mexico since Texas. But that’s not saying much, is it?

They are a form of sugared dough, flavored with cinnamon, which have become increasingly common in America. While they are delicious, churros are also a threat to America’s national security and economy. They are sneaking across the border and stealing the jobs of honest, hard-working American donuts.

If you see a churro report it immediately to the Department of Homeland Security for deportation. Then go reward yourself with a delicious American Krispy Kreme donut. 

(Oxford English Dictionary)
churro, n.
[< Spanish churro (1884-3), of uncertain origin; perh. related to churro (adjective) coarse, rough (c1641-3), (noun) a depreciative term for a Spanish speaker from Valencia or neighbouring regions (1898; cf. Catalan xurro (adjective) coarse, rough (1867), (noun) Spanish speaker from Valencia (1851)).]
Originally in Spain and Latin America: a sweet snack consisting of a strip of fried dough, typically having a ribbed, baton-like shape and dusted with sugar or cinnamon sugar.
1929 N.Y. Times 30 June E3 It is related in circles close to the royal palace that none likes the coffee-dipped churro quite so well as King Alfonso.
1959 O. LEWIS Five Families (1975) 78 He went only to first-class movie houses and liked to have coffee and churros in elegant restaurants on the Reforma.
1985 Los Angeles Times (Electronic ed.) 22 Dec. 1 The railroad yard has become an annual carnival.., children scurrying between the Christmas trees as they beg their parents for a hot dog or churro from the roadside food stands.

Google Books
Home Life in Spain
by Samuel Levy Bensusan
New York, NY: The Macmillan Company
1910
Pg. 133:
The morning chocolate is taken with churros or buñuelos which can be bought from street vendors in the early hours of the day.

Google Books
She Who Was Helena Cass
by Lawrence Rising
New York, NY: George H. Doran Company
1920
Pg. 136:
After they had both been refreshed with chocolate and churros Sefton was able to urge him to begin his story.

Google Books
Rosinante to the Road Again
by John Dos Passos
New York, NY: George H. Doran Company
1922
Pg. 196:
Telemachus strode along with a taste of a milky bowl of coffee and crisp churros in his mouth and a fresh wind in his hair; his feet rasped pleasantly on the gravel of the road.

Google Books
Forgotten Shrines of Spain
by Mildred Stapley Byne
Philadelphia, PA: J. B. Lippincott Company
1926
Pg. 170:
After the hot coffee and fritters (or churros) which so agreeably surprised our first morning in the monastery, ...

Google Books
Santander
by Edgar Allison Peers
New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf
1927
Pg. 28:
...—the sickly stench of the hot oil in which fritters, known as churros, a dish beloved by Spaniards, are being fried for immediate consumption.

Google Books
Marching Spain
by Victor Sawdon Pritchett
London: E. Benn Limited
1928
Pg. 38:
The reek of such pleasant frying woke up the little man who went out and bought a yard or two of churros for my breakfast.
Pg. 40:
I drank a grubby bowl of lukewarm coffee and ate my churros in the dining room of the fonda,...

Google Books
Castanets
by Carlos Reyles
London: Longmans, Green and Co.
1929
Pg. 47:
“I am dying to eat some churros and fritters and Estremadura sausages.”

Google Books
Terry’s Guide to Cuba
by Thomas Philip Terry
Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company
1929
Pg. 26:
...churros, tejeringos, calentitos, and a wide variety of pasteles (cakes) and (tarts) are for sale in the goody shops.

30 June 1929, Helena (MT) Independent, “Alfonso ‘Gedunks’ Spanish Doughnuts,” pg. 15, col. 1:
Madrid, June 29,—(AP)—Visitors to Spain henceforth need not feat to follow the national custom of “gedunking” the luscious churro, a species of sweet doughnut, in their coffee. it is quite good form and they will only be following royal example.

It is related in circles close to the royal palace that none like the coffee-dipped churro quite so well as King Alfonso. This fondness is the subject of a story which Spaniards tell with great gusto. Queen Victoria Eugenia, English born wife of the king, recently remonstrated with her husband about dipping his churro in his coffee, but Alfonso, staunch nationalist is said to have remarked that he only felt sorry if it wasn’t done in England because they didn’t know what they were missing.

Google Books
Don Gypsy:
Adventures with a Fiddle in Barbary, Andalusia and La Mancha
by Walter Starkie
London: J. Murray
1936
Pg. 401:
...gazing at his wares with such a moist, loving eye the dwarf put some of the steaming hot churros into a piece of brown paper and held them out to me, saying—“Come on, man; try a few of them; they’re fresh.”
Pg. 500:
churros (oil fritters)

Google Books
First Person Plural
by Angna Enters
New York, NY: Stackpole Sons
1937
Pg. 299:
Question every morning is the same: are we to have churros (little rope-like doughnuts made of sourdough and fried in olive oil) or not.

Google Books
In Franco’s Spain: Being the Experiences of an Irish War Correspondent
by Francis McCullagh
London: Burns, Oates & Washbourne Ltd.
1937
Pg. 196:
Coyne said the sausages were called churros, and were not sausages at all, but fritters made of flour, butter and dripping.
Pg. 197:
...breakfast—for the sake of the coffee which formed the principal portion of it, and which was much better than the ersatz coffee supplied in the churreria. A few churros were served to us gingerly, on a plate, but as…

Google Books
The Masquerade in Spain
by Charles Foltz
Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Co.
1948
Pg. 124:
Chefs served oily churros — string fritters made in deep fat —from great caldrons by the palace walls.

Google Books
The Handbook of Spain
by Herbert William Williamson-Serra
Madrid: The Times of Spain
1948
Pg. 601:
Churros are of the same consistency as what are called doughnuts, but are dropped as fine ...

Google Books
The Broken Root
by Arturo Barea
New York, NY: Harcourt, Brace
1951
Pg. 11:
“What I like is a nice cup of coffee with milk, and a couple of crisp churros.”

Google Books
A Stranger in Spain
by Henry Vollam Morton
New York, NY: Dodd, Mead & Company
1955
Pg. 17:
The Spanish breakfast is as deplorable as the French: rings of batter fried in oil called churros, and a cup of coffee or chocolate.
Pg. 260:
And, by the way, a word about Spanish breakfasts. As everywhere upon the Continent, the Spanish breakfast is a shameful affair. It is composed of fried batter rings called churros, which are sold by little boys in the early morning.

Google Books
The Tangerine House
by Rupert Croft-Cooke
New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press
1956
Pg. 204:
She comes from the market with her shopping-basket full and makes a pot of strong coffee with hot, creamy goat’s milk, and that with croissants or churros gives us our breakfast. Churros are the national breakfast food of Spain, fritters made by putting batter through a piping funnel so that it drops into the frying-pan to shape ...

Google Books
Our Spanish Southwest
by Lynn Irwin Perrigo
Dallas, TX: Banks, Upshaw and Company
1960
Pg. 268:
From Mexico the early settlers drove up herds of small sheep known as churros, which multiplied into thousands on the ranches along the Rio Grande.

28 August 1966, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “Around the World with Stan Delaplane,” section D, pg. 7:
The Spanish breakfast coffee is a fearful thing of cool coffee and hot milk. Along with it they serve of greasy, fried batter called churros.

Texas Cooking Communities - Churros
catrancher
12 Jul 2003, 11:27 AM
Churros from ‘Celebrate San Antonio Cookbook’
(Spanish Fritters) A popular, light and crisp Spanish pastry.

INGREDIENTS:
Cinnamon Sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Dough
1 cup water
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white cornmeal
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 large eggs, beaten peanut oil for frying

DIRECTIONS:
For cinnamon sugar:
In a shallow bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon,
mix thoroughly then set aside.

For dough: In a 3 quart saucepan, add water, butter, shortening, sugar, and salt. Bring to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and stir in the cornmeal and flour all at once. Return to low heat and stir vigorously with a spoon until a ball forms. Remove from heat. Place warm dough in a mixing bowl and add the beaten eggs. Blend until smooth and shiny. In a deep skillet or Dutch oven, place 3 inches of oil and heat to 375 degrees. Place dough in a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. (#5 preferred) Pipe 8 inch strips of dough into hot oil and fry on both sides until browned and crisp. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Yield: 12 fritters

http://www.texmex.net/recipes/churros.htm

NOTE: these are also good with some whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate on them, especially if they are still warm! 

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Thursday, January 24, 2008 • Permalink