When the weather starts to shift from warm summer nights to cool fall evenings, among the most traditional cozy treats you can make are Mexican Buñuelos with a side of Hot Spicy Cocoa. The buñuelos barely ever make it to the plate because they’re so good right off the griddle, freshly dusted with a cinnamon and sugar mix. And that little hit of chile powder and other spices in the hot cocoa is exactly what gives it the pairing that Mexican flair.
First, start by making the flour tortillas. Use those to make the buñuelos , and then sit back and enjoy then with a rich cup of spicy cocoa. Yum!
Flour Tortillas: (Makes 18 – 24 tortillas)
5 cups flour
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
Boiling water (my mother Lilia Quinones always said that the boiling water, not just hot water was the key in making good tortillas)
Mix flour with salt and baking powder.
Cut in shortening, and make a well in the center and use a large spoon to start adding some boiling water a little at a time.
Keep adding hot water and mixing until mixture it becomes a dough like consistency.
As the mixture becomes easy to handle with your hands, start to knead the dough until soft. Knead for about 5 minutes.
Form into slightly flattened balls about 2 1/2” to 3” in diameter.
With a rolling pin, roll out however many you want to make into tortillas at that moment.
Using a medium to hot griddle, cook on each side until light brown.
- The additional tortilla balls that aren’t used immediately can be left to air dry for 30 to 60 minutes (not stacked). This way they will not stick together. Place in a plastic zip bag in the refrigerator and they will last 3 to 5 days, still maintaining their moisture.
- My sister-in-law Elba Gomez also shared with me that you could make a lot of tortilla balls at once and freeze them to be ready when needed.
- If you have difficulty rolling the tortillas out without them sticking to surfaces, add a little flour to the rolling pin or surface you are using so it doesn’t get messy.
Oil for frying
Use the rolled out tortillas to start your buñuelos. You can leave them whole or cut each tortilla into 3 strips with a sharp knife.
Fry the tortilla dough by heating a frying oil to 350 degrees in a deep skillet.
Fry each tortilla for about 60 seconds turning once with metal tongs until golden brown on both sides. They will puff up.
Transfer to a plate with paper towels to drain off any excess oil.
Sprinkle the buñuelos with cinnamon and sugar mixture and eat! If you’re in a hurry you can just sprinkle with readily available cinnamon powder and sugar, but the fresh mixture is always better!
For an even tastier treat, we like to spread honey on the buñuelos or if you made them as strips, take a bite off one end and put honey inside of the strips!
Homemade Cinnamon & Sugar Mixture:
Cinnamon Sticks (break them up a bit first)
In a blender, place broken up cinnamon sticks and mince into small pieces. Add granulated sugar a bit at a time and blend until finely mixed.
Mexican Hot Cocoa: (4 servings)
6 oz. semisweet chocolate
2 tbsp brown sugar (can adjust if you’d like more sweet)
1 cup boiling water
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
dash of ground cloves and nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground chile de arbor or cayenne pepper
3 cups whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Whole cinnamon sticks
In a small saucepan, mix chocolate and sugar; stir in water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook for 2 more minutes stirring constantly.
Begin to add in the cinnamon and cloves and stir in the milk.
Keep at a simmer for 5 minutes (do not let it boil).
At the very last second, stir in the vanilla.
Divide the hot chocolate into mugs and add top with whipped cream.
Garnish with whole cinnamon sticks and a dusting of cinnamon and chile powder.