Growing up in a Latin-American household, there was probably no tradition I looked more forward to than Christmas. It was a month of food and celebration, merging American traditions with my grandparent’s Mexican heritage. There were tamales made during the month, special family dinners, not to mention the dozens and dozens of cookies and sweets. But by far my most favorite holiday treat were buñuelos, Mexican fritters made of dough, and sugar and spices.
Like many regional dishes, the recipe changes from place to place; I’ve based my version on the variety my grandmother would make in December. Perhaps to me they tasted extra special because I knew I’d have to wait an entire 12 months to have them again. As a child that was an eternity!
SWEET BUNUELOS WITH STAR ANISE INFUSED HONEY
3 cups all purpose flour, sifted
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon Spice Islands Ground Nutmeg
½ teaspoon Spice Islands Ground Allspice
½ cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
½ cup whole milk, plus more if needed
canola oil for frying
1. Two days before making the fritters, make the honey and store in an airtight container.
2. Place the honey, star anise and cinnamon stick in a small saucepan and warm over medium-low heat.
3. Once the mixture has warmed, (7-10 minutes), remove from heat, cover, and allow to steep overnight.
4. Pour the mixture into a small bowl and cover tightly until ready to use.
5. In a medium bowl sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, ground nutmeg, and ground all spice. (The flour will now have been sifted twice, creating a lighter fritter).
6. Cut in the butter until a cornmeal like consistency has been achieved. Set aside.
7. In a small bowl whisk together the eggs and milk and stir into the flour mixture until a dough forms, adding more milk if the dough is dry.
8. Turn the dough onto a clean, lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 3-4 minutes.
9. Divide the dough into 20 pieces and roll each piece into balls.
10. Place the balls onto a baking sheet, gently cover and allow to rest for about 20 minutes.
11. While the balls of dough rest, combine the topping ingredients into a small bowl and whisk together until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
12. Pour three inches of oil into a 12 inch skillet and heat over medium-high heat.
13. On a clean and lightly floured surface roll each ball into a 6in inch disc, about ¼ inch thick and place between sheets of wax paper until ready to use.
14. Once the oil is hot carefully place a disc, one at a time, into the skillet and fry for about 30 seconds on each side or until golden brown and transfer to a baking sheet.
15. Repeat with the remaining discs.
16. When the fritters have cooled just slightly sprinkle each, on both sides, liberally with the topping mixture.
17. Drizzle the anise infused honey over the fritters and serve.