Never too late to make, eat Churros

Friday, May 9, 2014, Vol. 38, No. 19

Cinco de Mayo has come and gone, and I hope you celebrated with guacamole, tamales and enchiladas.

Don and I love to travel to Mexico. We love the culture and the pride that goes into making the beautiful pottery, colorful embroidered clothing and delicious foods.

Two of the foods I like the most are the enchiladas and the churros. Most of us have a good enchilada recipe, but how about churros? I love them. Deep fried but not greasy, crunchy and sweet but not too sweet.

I found a recipe on the Internet just like the ones I eat in Mexico. They are wonderful after eating enchiladas and tamales. It’s like eating Spumoni after a large plate of Italian spaghetti, something you just gotta do.

If Mexican is not your thing, I also have two of my very favorite desserts – Mississippi mud cake and toffee bar cake. Two excellent recipes to have in your stash of keepers (along with the Churros).

I know you have probably heard of and made Mississippi mud cake and pie before, but I have this recipe that is soooo very good that I wanted to share it with you.

And then the Toffee Candy Bar cake that is equally good! You just can’t beat these two desserts when you have family gatherings.

Mississippi mud cake is a dark, rich chocolate cake topped with marshmallows, nuts and chocolate frosting. The cake and the pie are supposedly named after the dark muddy soil of the Mississippi River (after all the rain we’ve had lately, we don’t need the Mississippi’s mud), but I’m thinking that maybe they are misnamed because they look wonderful and taste heavenly!

There are two ways to make the toffee bar cake: using either two toffee candy bars that have been frozen and then chopped, or the easier method - using a few bags of toffee baking bits. The latter is much easier and just as good.

Anyway, try these cakes and stuff yourself. You may be sorry later because of the pain, but then, that eventually goes away, and you can go and grab another piece.

Cinnamon Churros

1/3 cup butter

1 cup plus one tablespoon water

1/4 teaspoon salt

1-1/2 cup flour, sifted

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

3 eggs, beaten

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Oil for frying

1 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Items you will need:

• A heavy medium-size saucepan for the batter and another deep pan for frying the churros.

• A large baking sheet-pan lined with paper towels for draining the churros.

• A pasty bag fitted with a large star tip.

Combine sugar and cinnamon and place in a large zip-lock bag; set aside.

Bring butter and water to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and add salt, flour and cinnamon; with mixer, beat together until combined. Dough will appear crumbly. Add in eggs and vanilla; beat again until dough becomes smooth.

Place dough in pastry bag and carefully pipe dough (to desired length) into oil heated to 350 degrees. Use a knife to cut off dough from tip. Fry dough for about three minutes, turning half way. Remove from oil to drain on paper towels for a few minutes. Place fried dough in bag with cinnamon sugar and shake to coat. Repeat with remaining dough. Serve with a yummy chocolate sauce for dipping!

Mississippi Mud Cake

1 stick butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 eggs

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup cocoa

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Dash salt

1 cup chopped pecans

1 cup mini chocolate chips

4-6 cups miniature marshmallows

Preheat oven 350 degrees. Grease 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Beat butter, sugar and vanilla in large bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt; blend into butter mixture. Stir in pecans and chocolate chips. Pour into pan. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until top springs back when touched lightly in center. Meanwhile, prepare frosting.

Remove cake from oven; immediately place marshmallows over top. Return to oven for about five minutes or until marshmallows are gooey but not brown. Gently spread marshmallows over cake. Immediately drizzle/spread warm frosting over marshmallows. Cool thoroughly.

Buttercream Frosting

6 tablespoons butter, softened

2-2/3 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup cocoa

1/3 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat butter in medium bowl. Blend in powdered sugar and cocoa alternately with milk; beat to spreading/drizzling consistency (additional milk may be needed). Blend in vanilla.

Toffee Candy Bar Cake

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter

1 egg, beaten

1 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups sifted self-rising flour

1 1/2 cups toffee bar baking bits

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease/flour 10” cake pan. In large bowl, cream sugars and butter. Beat in egg and slowly add buttermilk. Add vanilla, and flour. Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle candy and nuts over top. Bake 45 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.