Mexican buñuelos are some of my favorite treats. They used to be made for Christmas, although in recent years, they have become increasingly available at fairs and other celebrations throughout the year. Buñuelos are like fried wheat flour tortillas that are covered in sugar and canela or piloncillo syrup. There are a few different kinds of buñuelos: the huge buñuelos de rodilla (said to be named after the way cooks used to stretch the dough over their knees) that can measure 12", the regular sized buñuelos, 6"-7", and buñuelos de molde, which is what we’re talking about today.
I love how pretty these buñuelos are. There are a few designs of molds out there and all make beautiful fritters. This particular mold, though, belonged to my maternal abuelita Amalia, and when I left Mexico she gifted it to me. Back then, I tried making buñuelos and let's just say they didn’t turn out so well. OK, they didn’t turn out at all! Deeply disappointed, I washed my mold and put it away.
Fast-forward to a couple of decades later and after years in the restaurant industry, I spotted the mold in my basement while packing for a move. I made a mental note to try it again once I was settled and that’s exactly what I did. This time around, though, I actually knew what I was doing.
The recipe is very simple and it goes together very quickly. The trick, though, is in the handling of the mold. Since the buñuelos are deep-fried, the secret to using the mold is to have the mold sizzling hot, so keep it submerged in the oil until you are ready to use it. And every time you dunk it in the batter, make sure it’s as hot as it can be. You will hear a distinct sizzle when the hot mold touches the batter; hold it there for at least 30 seconds, to make sure the batter adheres securely to the mold.
Transfer it to the hot oil and after 30 seconds or so, carefully pry the fritter off the mold with a rubber spatula. If you let it cook on the mold until completely browned, chances are you won’t be able to pry it off in one piece. Once the fritter is free of the mold, it will brown quickly. After you remove the fritter from the oil, dunk the mold again into the oil and leave it there until you are ready to use it again.
Once you master this little trick, you will be a buñuelo pro. And your family will thank you, because these make the best treats. Enjoy!