Kid-friendly Cinnamon Peruvian Churro Bites + Machu Picchu Bananas + Ancient Inca Chocolate Sauce Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Family Meal Plan: Cinnamon Dusted Peruvian Churro Bites + Fabuloso Fried Machu Picchu Bananas + Ancient Inca Hot Chocolate Dipping Sauce

Family Meal Plan: Cinnamon Peruvian Churro Bites + Machu Picchu Bananas + Ancient Inca Chocolate Sauce

Cinnamon Dusted Peruvian Churro Bites + Fabuloso Fried Machu Picchu Bananas + Ancient Inca Hot Chocolate Dipping Sauce

by Dylan Sabuco
Photo by Pixel-Shot/Shutterstock.com
prep time
25 minutes
cook time
30 minutes
makes
6-12 servings

Fun Food Story

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Cinnamon Dusted Peruvian Churro Bites

Churros—the ultimate fried street food! There’s something that’s just so right about fried dough coated in sugar and cinnamon! When Chef Dylan catches a whiff of churros, he’s transported to his childhood, at a baseball stadium with his dad, the aroma of fried dough wafting through the air. Dylan wasn’t so much a fan of baseball (or the noise, or the heat!), but the promise of a hunk of fried dough the size of his tiny body always made their excursions worthwhile!

Today's recipe, courtesy of Chef Dylan, transcends stadium fare entirely—crispy, golden-brown nuggets, dusted with cinnamon sugar, dipped in chocolate, and laid on a bed of caramelized bananas. Get ready for a seriously delicious treat!

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief
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Shopping List

  • Fresh:
  • 2 bananas **(for BANANA ALLERGY sub 1 C frozen pineapple chunks)**
  • Pantry:
  • 1 C all-purpose flour **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY sub gluten-free flour)**
  • 1 C white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 or more vegetable oil, for frying
  • 3 T cornstarch
  • 2 T cinnamon
  • 2 T cocoa powder (dark or milk chocolate is fine)
  • 1 pinch mild chili powder
  • Dairy and Eggs:
  • 1/2 C unsalted butter **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub 1/4 C coconut oil or 1/4 C dairy-free/nut-free butter)**
  • 1 egg **(for EGG ALLERGY sub 1 T flaxseed + 1/4 C warm water)**
  • Have on hand:
  • 1 1/4 C water

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • boil :

    to cook a food in liquid heated to the point of gas bubbles and steam forming (boiling point is 212 F at sea level).

  • chop :

    to cut something into small, rough pieces using a blade.

  • crack :

    to break open or apart a food to get what's inside, like an egg or a coconut.

  • dust :

    to lightly cover food with a powdered or granulated ingredient, like flour or sugar.

  • measure :

    to calculate the specific amount of an ingredient required using a measuring tool (like measuring cups or spoons).

  • pan-fry :

    to fry in a pan in a small amount of fat.

  • shape :

    to form food into a specific shape by hand or with a cutting tool—examples are cutting cookie dough into shapes with cookie cutters, forming bread dough into a roll or crescent shape, and rolling ground meat into a meatball.

  • simmer :

    to cook a food gently, usually in a liquid, until softened.

  • stir :

    to mix together two or more ingredients with a spoon or spatula, usually in a circle pattern, or figure eight, or in whatever direction you like!

Equipment Checklist

  • Large pot
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Medium mixing bowl
  • Wooden spoon
  • Tongs
  • Measuring tools
  • Rubber spatula
  • Paper towels (for soaking up excess oil)
  • Small pot
  • Cutting board + kid-safe knife
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Ingredients

Cinnamon Dusted Peruvian Churro Bites

  • 1 C water
  • 1 C all-purpose flour **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY sub gluten-free flour)**
  • 1/4 C unsalted butter **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub coconut oil or dairy-free/nut-free butter)**
  • 1/2 C white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg **(for EGG ALLERGY sub flaxseed + warm water—more info below)**
  • 1/4 or more vegetable oil, for frying
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon

Fabuloso Fried Machu Picchu Bananas

  • 2 bananas **(for BANANA ALLERGY sub 1 C frozen pineapple chunks)**
  • 2 T cornstarch
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 T white sugar
  • 1 T unsalted butter **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub coconut oil or dairy-free/nut-free butter)**

Ancient Inca Hot Chocolate Dipping Sauce

  • 2 T cocoa powder (dark or milk chocolate is fine)
  • 2 T granulated sugar
  • 1 pinch mild chili powder
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 C water
  • 1 tsp cornstarch

Food Allergen Substitutions

Cinnamon Dusted Peruvian Churro Bites

  • Gluten/Wheat: Substitute gluten-free flour for all-purpose flour in Churros.
  • Dairy: Substitute coconut oil or dairy-free/nut-free butter for unsalted butter in Churros.
  • Egg: For 1 egg in Churros, substitute 1 T flaxseed + 1/4 C warm water. Stir and soak flaxseeds in warm water for 5 minutes or until fully absorbed and thickened.

Fabuloso Fried Machu Picchu Bananas

  • Bananas: Substitute 1 C frozen pineapple chunks for banana.
  • Dairy: Substitute coconut oil or dairy-free/nut-free butter for unsalted butter.

Instructions

Cinnamon Dusted Peruvian Churro Bites

1.
measure + boil

Measure 1 cup water, 1/4 cup butter, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and add to a large pot. Place the pot over medium-high heat and bring all the ingredients to a boil for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, reduce the heat to low and pour in 1 cup flour. It is important to stir everything consistently until a ball of dough forms. Continue cooking and stirring for 3 minutes. Remove from the pot and place in a bowl to cool for a few minutes while you prepare the next step of the recipe.

2.
rinse + measure + crack

Carefully clean out the pot. It will be used for frying later on in the recipe, so there cannot be any food or water in the pot. In a small bowl, prepare the topping by combining 1/4 cup sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon. Set the small bowl of topping to the side until the churros are finished frying. Now the dough should be slightly cooled. Crack 1 egg over the dough in the large mixing bowl and stir with a wooden spoon until combined and smooth.

3.
shape + fry

The churro dough should be cooled enough to touch. Start dividing the dough into as many tablespoon-sized pieces as you can. Roll those divided pieces into ultra thin logs. Once all of the dough is rolled out, bring 1/4 cup vegetable oil to medium-high heat in the cleaned, large pot. Place a small amount of dough in the pot and once it sizzles you can start placing all the churros in the pot in one layer. The churros cook super fast! About 2 to 3 minutes per side. They will be golden brown and oily when finished frying.

4.
toss + dunk

Toss the crispy churros with the cinnamon-sugar topping and then place the churros on a paper towel-lined plate to cool. After the churros are cool enough to touch, pick one up and dunk it in some delicious Ancient Inca Hot Chocolate Dipping Sauce (see recipe) and enjoy!

Fabuloso Fried Machu Picchu Bananas

1.
chop + measure + mix

Chop 2 bananas into large dice. Place the diced bananas in a bowl and add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Stir gently until the bananas are coated.

2.
sprinkle + melt + fry

Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of sugar across the bottom of a small saucepan and turn the heat to medium. Add the coated bananas over the top of the sugar and then add 1 tablespoon of butter. Cook for 5 minutes before stirring. The sugar will be melting and the bananas caramelizing by this point. Continue to cook on low heat, gently stirring for another 5 minutes. Serve these glossy Fabuloso Fried Machu Picchu Bananas atop some ice cream or alongside the Cinnamon Dusted Peruvian Churro Bites (see recipe)! Enjoy!

Ancient Inca Hot Chocolate Dipping Sauce

1.
measure + simmer

Measure 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 pinch mild chili powder, 1 pinch cinnamon, 1/4 cup water, and 1 teaspoon cornstarch and combine in a small pot. Bring all the ingredients to a simmer over medium-low heat. After 5 minutes of simmering, the sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Serve this ancient sauce alongside Cinnamon Dusted Peruvian Churro Bites (see recipe) for a match made in heaven.

Surprise Ingredient: Cinnamon!

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Photo by Geshas/Shutterstock.com

Hi!  I’m Cinnamon!

"Did you know that I'm a spice that comes from the inner bark of certain trees?! You can add me to both sweet and savory foods. Recipes generally call for ground cinnamon, but you can also use cinnamon sticks, dried strips of my bark that curl into a tube shape, to flavor apple cider, stews, curries, and more. Just don't forget to remove the stick before serving! And, what's more, I can make your kitchen and home smell wonderful!"

History

  • Some people say the best kind of cinnamon, referred to as the "true cinnamon" and called Ceylon, is native to an island southeast of India called Sri Lanka. It has a more subtle flavor than other types. The most common cinnamon in use today, though, is derived from Cassia, which originated in China.   
  • Cinnamon is an ancient spice. It was imported to Egypt in about 2000 BCE. The ancient Egyptians used cinnamon together with myrrh to embalm the dead. They considered cinnamon to be more valuable than gold!  

Anatomy & Etymology 

  • Cinnamon is the inner bark of some tree species of the genus Cinnamomum. Cinnamon trees can grow about 60 feet tall.
  • Cinnamon farmers begin to harvest cinnamon when the tree reaches two years old. They cut the tree back so that shoots form from the stump. After one more year, the farmers strip the outer bark from the shoots and set the peels out to dry in the sun.
  • When the bark dries, it curls into "quills," which are the sticks that are cut and sold as cinnamon sticks. They can also be ground into powdered cinnamon, which is how much of the cinnamon we see is sold in stores. So, what do a porcupine and a cinnamon tree have in common? They both grow quills!
  • The word "cinnamon" comes from late Middle English derived from the Old French form, "cinnamome," from the Greek "kinnamon." The Greek was borrowed from a Phoenician word, which was similar to the related Hebrew word "qinnāmōn."

How to Pick, Buy, & Eat

  • Cinnamon is harvested twice a year, immediately after the rainy season. The humidity in the air makes the bark peel more easily.
  • The bark is typically peeled by hand by skilled peelers.
  • The quality of cinnamon is judged by the thickness of the bark, the appearance of the quills (broken or whole), the aroma, and the flavor. 
  • Cinnamon is a spice used to add flavor to a variety of dishes. For example, it may be added to desserts, chocolate, toast (in cinnamon sugar), fruit (especially apples), roasted veggies, soups, tea, and hot cocoa. It's also good in savory dishes like Bavarian pot roast, Moroccan chicken, and Indian curry. 

Nutrition 

  • It is best to eat cinnamon in small doses in its ground form, sprinkling it on top of food or adding a small teaspoon to food. Eating too much cinnamon could cause adverse health effects.
  • Cinnamon has one of the most recognizable scents. Its pungent, spicy smell is due to the chemical called "cinnamaldehyde." This chemical is considered an antioxidant that has some anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
  • Cinnamon is believed to regulate the sugar in our blood and possibly lower cholesterol; however, study findings aren't clear.
  • Cinnamon oil can keep mosquitoes away! It kills mosquito larvae and probably repels adult mosquitoes, too. 

 

History of Churros!

Photo by Peruphotart/Shutterstock.com
  • The origin of the Churro (pronounced CHU-rro) may have begun not in Spain but in China, where Portuguese merchants first tasted "youtiao" (YOO-teeow), strips of golden, fried, salty pastry traditionally eaten for breakfast. The Portuguese recreated this Chinese delicacy in Iberia, adding sugar rather than salt, and sometime after, it was introduced to Spain. The Spanish eventually formed their churro dough through a star-shaped nozzle, and the now-familiar ridges were born. 
  • Spain has another theory about the Churro's beginning. They say that nomadic Spanish shepherds, high up in the mountains, created an easily packed dough that did not have to be baked, which they could easily cook in a pan over an open fire. Originally, these churros were about the size of a breadstick. 
  • Spanish conquistadors are said to have brought the churro to South America in the 1500s. They returned with chocolate and plentiful amounts of sugar, turning the simple dough sticks into a sweet sensation. 
  • Churros are now tasty, deep-fried, sticks of dough, sugar-sprinkled, and served with warm chocolate sauce for dipping. While Brazilians prefer a chocolate filling, the Cubans like their churros with guava fruit stuffing, and Mexicans eat churros with dulce de leche or vanilla. In Uruguay, a savory combination arose with cheese-stuffed churros, and in southeastern Spain, they eat the pastries with salt rather than sugar, closer relatives of the original Chinese "youtiao."
  • Churros are made with a type of dough called "pâte à choux" (paht-ah-shoo), or choux pastry. It is prepared on the stovetop by boiling water and butter, adding flour, and stirring for a few minutes while the dough cooks and comes together. After it cools a little, eggs are added one at a time until the right consistency is reached. Steam from the moisture in the dough causes it to puff while it bakes, creating the space to fill pastries like churros, cream puffs, or eclairs.

Let's Learn About Peru!

Photo by Ruslana Iurchenko/Shutterstock.com
  • Peru is the third largest country on the South American continent, after Brazil and Argentina. It is on the western coast, next to the Pacific Ocean.
  • Peru shares borders with five countries: Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia, and Chile.
  • Lima is Peru's capital and largest city. The country's official languages are Spanish, Quechua, Aymara, and other indigenous languages.
  • Peru is a unitary presidential republic with a president, vice-president, prime minister, and congress. Its currency is the Peruvian sol. 
  • The land area of Peru is 496,225 square miles. It is larger than the state of Texas but smaller than Alaska. Over 34 million people live in Peru. 
  • Peru's landscape has beaches, deserts, mountains, and rainforests. Most people live along the coast, where the capital, Lima, is located. 
  • Machu Picchu, the "lost city of the Incas," is located in Peru and is one of the World's New Seven Wonders. It was built by hand in the Sacred Valley over 8,000 feet above sea level and rediscovered in 1911. You have to hike or take a bus to get to Machu Picchu. 
  • The Giant Andean Condor is the largest flying bird on Earth and can be found in Peru.
  • Guinea pigs are a delicacy eaten in Peru! They are called "cuy" (pronounced "Coo-wee").
  • The Amazon River starts in Peru and runs through six other South American countries. Some consider the Amazon the world's longest river; however, other experts say that honor belongs to the Nile River in Africa.
  • The Andes mountain range, at 4,300 miles, is the longest above-water mountain range in the world. It runs through seven countries, north to south, including Peru. 
  • Over half of Peru is covered by forest, much of it rainforest.
  • Peru is home to an extensive and diverse selection of plants and animals. Yet Peruvians have not impacted their natural world like many other countries, and many of these ecosystems have been undisturbed.
  • Did you know that in less than half a square mile of the Peruvian rainforest, there are more than 6,000 kinds of plants?
  • Some of the main crops of Peru have been cultivated for thousands of years. A few of those crops are quinoa, potatoes, beans, peppers, maize, and tomatoes. The potato originated in Peru. 
  • Peru's cuisine has been influenced by its indigenous population, including the Inca, and cuisines brought in by colonizers and immigrants from Europe, Asia, and West Africa. Without familiar ingredients from their home countries, immigrants modified their traditional cuisines with those native to Peru. 
  • "Chifa" (CHEE-fa) is one of these cuisines, combining foods Chinese immigrants brought to Peru in the 19th and early 20th centuries with Peruvian ingredients.
  • "Ceviche" (seh-VEE-chay) is a seafood dish that originated in Peru. Chunks of raw, fresh fish are marinated in key lime juice, seasoned with chili peppers, coriander, julienned onion, salt, and pepper.  

What's It Like to Be a Kid in Peru?

  • Peruvian kids attend school from March to December. Peru is in the Southern Hemisphere, so its seasons are opposite those of the Northern Hemisphere, with summer months from November to March. 
  • Families are close in Peru, and kids enjoy family gatherings with many relatives. 
  • Peruvian kids like to play a game called Sapo, where they try to toss coins into holes on top of a box. The winner is the first to get a coin into the frog's mouth (one of the holes in the box). Kids also enjoy playing with marbles. 
  • Football (soccer) is the most popular sport in Peru, so you can often find kids playing football together. They may also play volleyball or basketball.  
  • There are several sweets kids like to eat. "Alfajores" are Spanish sandwich cookies filled with dulce de leche. "Picarones" are Peruvian doughnuts made from squash and sweet potato. They are often covered with "chancaca," a syrup made from the raw sugar of the sugar cane with added orange zest. Finally, kids may have ice cream or shakes made with "lúcuma" (an Andean fruit) for a cool treat.

Lettuce Joke Around

I named my dog Cinnamon!

He's a lot of bark!

That's Berry Funny

What do you call people who like to drink hot chocolate all year long? 

Cocoa-Nuts!

The Yolk's On You

What do you call a sheep covered in chocolate? 

A Candy Baa!

That's Berry Funny

"Knock, knock!" 

"Who’s there?"

"Ben and Anna."

"Ben and Anna who?"

(no answer—Ben and Anna (banana) split)

Lettuce Joke Around

What do you call stolen cocoa? 

Hot chocolate!

Lettuce Joke Around

Why are bananas never lonely? 

Because they hang around in bunches!

That's Berry Funny

What kind of key opens a banana? 

A mon-key!

The Yolk's On You

What would you call two banana skins? 

A pair of slippers.

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