Churros: The french fries of the doughnut world



Churros are, in my humble opinion, the world's most overindulge-able doughnuts.  

I mean, when was the last time you ate just one churro?!

They should always come in servings of at least 3!  Think about it.  Wouldn't you be so jazzed if churros were served in those little fast food french fry cup things with a side of chocolate sauce, caramel, or chocolate hazelnut spread!?  It'd be like dessert fries!  





Serves 8

1 cup water
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 ½ tablespoon unsalted butter
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all purpose flour
Vegetable oil, for frying
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Store bought chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, or chocolate hazelnut spread

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the water, salt, sugar, and butter.  Bring this mixture to a boil, add the vanilla, and dump in the flour all at once.  Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until it forms a ball.  Remove from the heat and continue to stir for about 30 seconds.

Allow the mixture to cool and heat 3 – 4” of vegetable oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot to 375F.  Mix the sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and set aside.

Spoon the slightly cooled churro mixture into a piping bag fitted with a star tip and pipe a few churros at a time into the hot oil by piping and snipping with scissors.  Fry the churros until golden and drain on a paper towel lined plate.

While still hot, place the churros in the cinnamon sugar and toss to coat.  Allow them to cool slightly and serve warm with store bought chocolate sauce.

It's January soo... Doughnuts

Vanilla Glaze Cake Doughnuts

Vanilla Glaze Cake Doughnuts

January can pretty much be summed up in one word: blah.  

It's the month when Mopey Mary rears her ugly head to make every day feel drawn out, dull, and dreary.  The holidays are over, the glow of the new year has started to fade, and all I really have to look forward to are the short, chilly days of winter.  Every year I tell myself to plan a holiday for mid-January but, instead, I spend my days drudging through work and my evenings lazing about on the couch watching mainly murder shows because, well, murder shows are pretty great and why the heck not?
(ps how am I only watching Fargo now?!)

In my mind, there is only one thing that can help spurn that grumpy gal to the sidelines and that is doughnuts.  Sure, any sweet would do and I sure have had my fair share of chocolate chip cookies, cupcakes, and brownies these past two and a half weeks but doughnuts!  Oh baby, doughnuts are the answer to my forlorn prayers!

Draped with a Simpsons-esque pink glaze and scattered with a few little sprinkles, nothing brings a smile to my face and a spring to my step quite like a classic vanilla dip!  As I tend to be a bit lazy this time of year, these little puppies are a classic cake doughnut rather than a yeast risen because when I want doughnuts, I don't want to have to wait on yeast!

So, what are you waiting for?  Banish those January blues and get to frying!

Vanilla Cake Doughnuts

Makes 12 doughnuts and 12 doughnut holes

2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt and make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, melted butter, and vanilla.  Pour this wet mixture into the well and mix just until a soft dough forms.  Cover your bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough for 1 hour.

Remove the dough from the fridge and heat about 2 inches of vegetable oil in a large, deep pot over medium heat until a thermometer registers at 350F.  On a generously floured work surface, roll out your chilled dough to a ½ inch thickness and, using a 3-inch round cutter, cut out as many rounds as possible.  Using a 1-inch round cutter, remove the very centre of each circle, giving you doughnuts and doughnut holes! 

Feel free to bring the remaining dough together to reroll and cut out more doughnuts but only do this once as rerolling the dough a third time might make the doughnuts a bit tough.

Before frying, prepare a draining station for your doughnuts by lining a cookie sheet with paper towel and a cooling rack.

Now, it’s time to fry!  Gently lower four or five doughnuts into the hot oil and cook, flipping once, until all the doughnuts are golden brown and lovely.  Remove the cooked doughnuts to the rack-lined cookie sheet and continue to fry until all of your doughnuts and doughnut holes are done.

When cooled, dunk each doughnut and doughnut hole in classic vanilla or chocolate glaze and leave to set for at least 30 minutes.


Classic Vanilla Dip Glaze

1 ¾ cups icing sugar
2–3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8–12 drops red food colouring
Sprinkles, for decorating

In a small bowl, whisk together the icing sugar, milk, vanilla, and food colouring until smooth.  Dunk your doughnuts into the glaze followed immediately by a scattering of sprinkles and allow the doughnuts to set up for at least 30 minutes.

Bannock: The quickest of quick breads



Bannock is kind of the perfect cross between a biscuit, a pancake, and an English muffin.  It’s amazing plain fresh out of the frying pan, smeared with lots of butter and jam, served alongside a saucy dinner used to swipe up every last tasty morsel, or even as a sandwich or burger bun.

It takes about as much work as pancakes so you’ll be able to impress your family and friends with pretty much zero effort on your part!


Makes 12

3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for shaping bannock
2 teaspoons salt
2 ½ tablespoons baking powder
¼ cup melted butter or lard
1 teaspoon honey
1 ½ cups warm water

In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder; make a well in the centre.  In a separate bowl, mix the melted butter with the honey and pour into the dry ingredients.  Add the water and stir just until a loose dough forms. 

Dust a clean work surface with flour, dump the dough out, and knead 7 or 8 times or until the dough is no longer sticky on the outside, adding a scattering of flour as needed.

Divide the dough into 12 equal portions and flatten into 1”-thick rounds.  This should leave you with rounds that are around 3-4” across.

Heat a cast iron skillet or frying pan over medium heat and add enough canola oil to coat the bottom of the pan.  When hot, fry the bannock a few at a time for about 3-4 minutes per side or until deep golden brown.  If your pan starts to look a little dry, add a bit more oil and allow it to heat up before frying more bannock. 

Allow the bannock to cool slightly and enjoy with anything your heart can imagine – or, if you’re feeling extra snazzy, split the bannock down the middle and use it as a bun for Bison Burgers!

D'ough Canada 150!

Canoe Paddles (aka those flat doughnuts that you know and love but they have a trademarked name so here's my take!)

Canoe Paddles (aka those flat doughnuts that you know and love but they have a trademarked name so here's my take!)

Is there anything more Canadian than eating a Beavertail during Winterlude on the slick icy surface of the Rideau Canal?  Now, if you’re pretty much any other Canadian out there, you’d probably also have a pair of skates on as your turn triple axles on the frozen river but I am a rather blasphemous countryman as I never learned how to skate.

So, for me, Beavertails still call to mind our nation’s capital but instead of slipping around on the Canal, you’ll find me nibbling away on this wonderful confection as I meander through the Byward Market or dancing terribly at one of Ottawa’s many music festivals.

Here’s my take on the classic.  I've dubbed mine Canoe Paddles, a name drawn up by my husband after he had scarfed down about seven. 

If you’re like me, nothing beats fried dough with cinnamon sugar and a squidge of lemon but feel free to slather on chocolate hazelnut spread, ice cream, strawberry jam, or whatever else you can think of!

Canoe Paddles

Makes 16

¼ cup warm water
1 tablespoon instant yeast
½ teaspoon + ¼ cup sugar, divided
2 ¼ - 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil, for deep-frying

Topping Options:
Cinnamon Sugar (1 cup sugar + 1 tablespoon cinnamon)
Lemon juice
Chocolate hazelnut spread

In a small bowl, whisk together the water, yeast, and ½ teaspoon of sugar and set aside to bloom.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the 2 1/4 cups flour, salt, and remaining ¼ cup of sugar.  Make a well in the centre and set aside.

In another small bowl, beat the buttermilk with the egg and vanilla.

Pour the yeast and buttermilk mixtures into the well of the dry ingredients and stir until a shaggy dough forms.  If using your hands, turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead, adding additional 1/4 cup of flour if needed, for about 8 minutes or until the dough is soft and no longer sticky.  If using a stand mixer, attach the dough hook and knead for around 6 minutes.  Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and allow it to rise for 40 minutes.

Punch the dough down and divide into 16 golf ball sized portions.  Flatten each into an oval that is around ½” thick and place on a baking sheet while you preheat 4” of oil to 385F in the bottom of a large heavy bottomed pot.

When your oil is up to temperature, stretch an oval into a thin canoe paddle shape (the edges will be a bit thicker than the middle) and carefully place into the oil.  If you're looking for a little extra info on shaping these tasty treats, check out my segment on Your Morning for Canada 150!

Stretch and fry about 3 pieces of dough at a time and fry, flipping halfway through, until both sides are golden.  Remove the canoe paddles from the oil onto paper towel then, while still warm, toss in cinnamon sugar if desired.  For my favourite, I add a squidge of lemon to the cinnamon sugar coated canoe paddles just prior to eating.

If you want to top your canoe paddle with chocolate hazelnut spread, feel free to leave them plain and top just before serving.