This cinnamon funnel cake churro hybrid is a delicious dessert to make at home when you’re missing the State Fair or Disneyland, for that matter. And it’s served with creamy dulce de leche to sweeten the deal.
I started researching this recipe with the idea of doing some Latinx twists on North American summer classics. Thinking of a summer limited by social distancing, it seemed to me that putting a touch of American nostalgia could give a breath of fresh air to some tried and true treats you might not be able to go out and eat this year.
Part of my summer experiences as an immigrant in this country have been linked to the beaches of the northeast, and with those come the walks. Boardwalk food is a fascinating metaphor for American excess and a celebration of portable fried foods. Being able to move around while eating is a must here; after all, you’re most likely swimming, drinking, walking, going to kitschy souvenir shops, or taking your kids for walks – you need delicious, fatty, and portable fuel.
The jump from funnel cake with churros is not huge, and as I quickly discovered, there is a popular version served in Disney theme parks too much. Fair enough, but to give it a personal touch I have included an easy to do hack dulce de leche at home, and eat with the cakes (instead of the finer caramel sauce you get at the park).
Dulce de leche is one of the most popular sweets in all of Latin America. In Colombia, we call it arequipe, and it has other names in other countries (cajeta, manjar, fanguito, doce de leite, etc.). It is essentially heated sweetened milk which changes texture, color and flavor thanks to the Maillard reaction. Doing the real thing is an act of patience and love as you slowly cook milk and sugar (specific recipes require additional ingredients) over low heat. You can do it in an instant pot, but I’m going to show you a trick I learned as a kid that basically involves submerging a can of condensed milk in boiling water.
Churro Funnel Cakes with Dulce de Leche
This method of making dulce de leche – or a team – is easy, but you have to pay attention to the water level. You need:
- 14 ounce can of condensed milk
- The water
- Large jar
1. Place the can on its side in a large saucepan. Fill the pot with room temperature water, making sure the water level is at least 2 inches above the can.
2. Put the pot on high heat and let the water boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 2 hours.
3. Check the pot and adjust the water level and heat if necessary. The water should always be 2 inches above the container; allowing the water to burn and evaporate may cause the can to explode, which is a serious risk.
4. Remove the can from the water using a pair of tongs and place it on a heat resistant rack or surface to cool to room temperature. Do not try to open the box while it is still hot; this can cause hazardous spraying of hot pressurized equipment.
5. You can store unopened team boxes at room temperature for up to 3 months.
Reheat in a double boiler to soften a spread or to sprinkle. After using the team from the box, you can transfer your leftovers to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.
For another method of making dulce de leche, check out this recipe: