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Mexico, Spain, Turkey, Morocco and Greece have their own versions of bunuelos, dough that's fried, then covered in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. In Mexico, bunuelos are made from tortillas and used as a dessert or snack during Christmas celebrations. They're easy to prepare since they require few ingredients and only minutes of cooking time. Don't start making bunuelos until just before you plan to serve them; they are crispiest and taste best when hot.

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Combine sugar and ground cinnamon in a large, shallow dish. Use approximately 1 cup of sugar and 2 tablespoons cinnamon for every 12 tortillas you plan to make into bunuelos. Mix to combine well.

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Use a sharp knife to cut flour or corn tortillas into wedges, strips or shapes such as stars using cookie cutters, or leave the tortillas whole, as desired.

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Fill a large, deep skillet with 1 to 2 inches of vegetable oil. Heat the oil on high.

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Put the whole or cut tortilla pieces into the hot oil, working in batches to avoid crowding the skillet. Fry the tortillas on both sides until each is light brown and developing bubbles, approximately 1 minute.

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Remove each tortilla or piece with tongs. Hold the tortilla over the skillet and shake lightly to remove excess oil.

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Place the fried tortillas on a paper towel-covered plate briefly to drain; then put each into the dish containing the cinnamon and sugar mixture. Turn to coat while sprinkling the sugar and cinnamon over each portion of the tortilla. Place the bunuelos on a serving platter.

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Repeat with any remaining tortillas or pieces, as needed.

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Serve the bunuelos as soon as possible, drizzled with maple syrup or warm crema Mexicana flavored with honey, if desired.

Tip

While white granulated sugar is traditional for bunuelos, give the basic technique a twist by experimenting with another variety, such as brown sugar. In addition, try adding other spices, such as nutmeg, cardamom, allspice, cloves, mace and ground ginger, along with the cinnamon.

Bunuelos are an economical way to use up stale or extra tortillas.

Try serving bunuelos with cafe con leche for breakfast or brunch. For dessert, top each with freshly whipped cream dusted lightly with cinnamon.

Warning

Never dispose of used cooking oil in the kitchen sink or toilet. Instead, pour it into a disposable can and throw it into the garbage, or leave it in the pan to cool completely; wipe it out with paper towels and discard.

About the Author

Michelle Kerns

Michelle Kerns writes for a variety of print and online publications and specializes in literature and science topics. She has served as a book columnist since 2008 and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. Kerns studied English literature and neurology at UC Davis.