Bunuelos -- a culinary tradition that traces its roots to Spain but is enjoyed by Spanish-speaking cultures from Columbia to Texas -- come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Some chefs make flat, disk-like bunuelos while others prepare the pastry in the form of doughy balls, or even figure-eights. Traditionally, bunuelos are deep-fried, but you can cut down on the fat content by baking these sweet treats.
Temps and Times
For most recipes, including tortilla-style and puff pastry-style shapes, you can bake bunuelos in a regular oven at a temperature of 375 degrees Fahrenheit. For eight to 24 servings, bake for between 8 and 15 minutes. You'll know your bunuelos are done when they're golden brown on the outside. Flat bunuelos should begin to curl at the edges and have a nice crunch when you bite into them. For puffs and sphere-shaped bunuelos, you want a crispy exterior and a fluffy interior.
Bake bunuelos on baking sheets positioned on your oven's second rack. Prepare the sheets with nonstick spray or line them with parchment paper to keep the dough from sticking, and rotate the sheets about mid-way through baking. Once they're baked, you can roll the bunuelos in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar to lightly coat them.
Basic bunuelo ingredients include flour, shortening, butter, sugar, eggs, baking powder and salt, but a bunuelo isn't a bunuelo without that special sweet touch. Cinnamon and vanilla make great additions to any bunuelo batter, but cooks often add their own secret ingredients to the mix. Experiment with fennel seeds or even lime juice to give your bunuelos a little extra pop. Likewise, brown sugar can enrich the pastry's taste. For festive treats, add colored sugar sprinkles to your baked bunuelos.
Before baking, brush your bunuelos with melted butter to ensure a crisp finish. If you're making flat bunuelos, cookie cutters and pizza slicers serve as easy cutting tools. In the wintertime, people traditionally eat bunuelos for good luck in the new year -- pair your baked bunuelos with hot chocolate or coffee for a decadent cold-weather dessert.