12 Days of Cookies: Buñuelos and spicy hot chocolate from Rick Martinez

The beloved food writer shared his sweet and spicy dessert.

December 9, 2022, 7:56 AM

Food editor, host and cookbook author Rick Martinez helped kick off the 12 Days of Christmas cookies with "Good Morning America."

He shared a sweet recipe from Northern Mexico that his grandmother made every New Year's Eve, a dough fritter with cinnamon sugar, plus his hot chocolate with an added kick.

VIDEO: Chef Rick Martinez makes delicious bunuelos
VIDEO: Chef Rick Martinez makes delicious bunuelos
ABCNews.com

Buñuelos

PHOTO: Buñuelos, fried dough fritters.
Buñuelos, fried dough fritters.
Rick Martinez

Makes 12

Ingredients
3/4 cup (165g) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground canela or cinnamon
1 teaspoons (4g) sea salt
3 cups (375g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 tablespoons (80g) vegetable shortening, plus more for frying

Directions

In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar and canela until completely combined. Set aside until ready to use.

In a measuring cup, whisk salt into 3/4 cup warm water until dissolved and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and baking powder and whisk to combine. Toss shortening into flour and smash together. Squeeze the shortening into the flour in between your fingers and palms until it’s completely incorporated; no clumps of shortening should remain and the flour should resemble damp sand.

Pour in almost all of the warm salted water, leaving about a tablespoon in the measuring cup and mix with your hands until a shaggy dough forms. If dough seems dry, add remaining tablespoons of water, or more, until dough comes together and is soft and pliable but not sticky. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.

Wrap the dough in plastic or reusable food wrap of your choice and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes to relax the dough.

Divide dough into 12 balls (about 50g each). Roll out each of the balls to an 8-inch round on a clean, flat work surface, working with one ball one at a time. As you roll out the dough rounds, keep the remaining balls covered with a kitchen towel.

In a medium heavy skillet (preferably cast iron) over high heat, heat 3 cups (600g) of vegetable shortening (the melted shortening should be about 1-inch deep) until an instant read thermometer reads 375°F. When the oil is hot, carefully lay the dough rounds into the hot oil and fry, gently pushing the edges down into the oil to coat the top surface of the buñuelos. Cook until the bottom side is golden brown, 1-2 minutes. Flip and fry the second side until golden brown and crispy, about 1 - 2 minutes more. Drain well and transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet. While the buñuelos are still hot, sprinkle them generously with the reserved cinnamon sugar.

Repeat the frying process with remaining dough rounds until you’ve fried all 12 buñuelos; add additional shortening to pan for frying if necessary. Sprinkle remaining cinnamon sugar on the buñuelos as they finish frying.

Serve immediately with a mug of spicy hot chocolate (recipe below).

Spicy Hot Chocolate

Ingredients
4 cups whole milk
1 three-inch stick canela or Cassia bark
1 chile cascabel or 2 chiles de árbol; or 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes or ground cayenne pepper
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (preferably 70% or higher), chopped
1/4 cup piloncillo or dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 pinch sea salt

Directions

In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, bring milk, cinnamon, and chile(s) to a simmer. Cover and stir the mixture occasionally, making sure milk doesn’t boil, until cinnamon is very floral and fragrant, about 15 minutes.

Whisk in chocolate, sugar, vanilla, and salt and cook, whisking frequently, until mixture is smooth and creamy and chocolate is melted, about 5 minutes.

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