I thought it would be a challenge to make gluten-free buñuelos for many reasons. Not only did I fear that they would crack and fall apart, I secretly dreaded the idea that they have to be rolled out. I have never been adept with a rolling pin. Then I realized that rolling them out was just plain silly. I cut a grocery store plastic bag in half, folded the half in half, put the ball of dough in the middle and pressed it flat between two cutting boards. Que fácil.
The trick to making buñuelos is to make sure that the oil is hot enough for the dough to puff up a little. Not as puffy as sopaipillas, the perfect buñuelos form little raised bubbles as they are fried. That was my third fear of trying a gluten-free version: they wouldn’t puff. However, I immediately saw that I had no cause for concern. The texture was perfect thanks to Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Flour. I chose it for the buñuelos because of the sorghum, garbanzo and fava flour which are higher quality flours than in many gluten-free baking mixes, and they contain some quality plant protein.
Buñuelos are made in one form or another in almost every Spanish-speaking culture in the world. Some versions are shaped like balls and stuffed with a variety of ingredients. They are often enjoyed at Christmastime during las posadas, and are also enjoyed by Sephardic Jews during Hanukkah. In Mexico, buñuelos are often soaked in an anise syrup or anise and guava syrup, but I opted to sprinkle mine with cinnamon and organic powdered sugar. A drizzle of honey would also make a delicious topping. Eat them while they’re hot to fully enjoy the experience of buñuelos.
(Makes 20 buñuelos)
3/4 cup almond-coconut blend milk
1/4 cup butter
2 eggs, beaten
3 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose Baking Flour (I cannot predict the results with other flours)
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. pink Himalayan salt
1 tsp. almond extract
coconut oil for frying (I did not fry them in deep oil)
1. In a saucepan, heat the milk and butter until it boils. Remove from heat and let cool.
2. In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, baking powder, salt and almond extract. Mix it to distribute the ingredients evenly.
3. Add the beaten eggs to the milk and butter once the mixture is cool enough to not cook the eggs.
4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and combine until a dough is formed. If the dough feels too sticky, gradually add more flour and combine until it reaches the right consistency.
5. Kneed the dough until it is smooth, about 2-3 minutes.
6. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.
7. Break the dough into balls (approximately 20 balls can be made from this recipe)
8. Over medium high heat, melt coconut oil in a non-stick skillet.
9. Using half of a plastic grocery bag and two cutting boards, place the ball of dough on the bag and then fold it over so the dough has room (2-3 inches) to expand when pressed. Press the ball between the two cutting boards, then turn it a half-turn and press once more. I pressed one, placed it in the oil, and pressed another while the first was cooking.
10. Place the disc of dough in the hot oil and fry until the underside browns slightly and the top side bubbles up a bit. Then turn the disc over and fry on the other side. The finished buñuelos should be light golden brown.
11. Drain the excess oil from the buñuelos by placing them on paper towel and blotting. Once all of the buñuelos are fried, sprinkle them with cinnamon and organic powdered sugar, or drizzle honey or anise syrup over them.
12. Enjoy while fresh and hot!
Note: To make anise syrup, bring 1 cup piloncillo or dark brown sugar, 1 cup water and a tablespoon of anise seeds to a boil. Reduce the heat and let the liquid boil gently for 10-15 minutes , uncovered, until the syrup thickens. I am not a lover of the anise flavor, so if you are like me, leave it out or replace it with a favorite spice or essence.
Also, there is no xanthan gum in this recipe. It wasn’t necessary.