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Mexican buñuelos, a crunchy Christmas flavor

By Tribune Travel

December 14, 2022

Christmas buñuelos, whether “windy”, “knee-made”, or “salty”, are a must this season. A dessert of crunchy, sweetened dough can’t go wrong. Especially when paired with a steaming cup of punch, mulled wine, or “café de olla.”

They date back to the Middle Ages, when the Arabs ruled Spain. This delight is so good that they have withstood the test of time. The recipes have multiplied to produce very unique dishes in Mexico, Colombia, and South America.

Each one has a history or a reason to be cooked and eaten in accordance with seasonality, religious festivals, or simply for the simple joy that the fried dough always implies.

however, a buñuelo does not have to be sweet: it can be filled with fish, meat, or cheese. However, the dessert versions immediately take us back to holidays and celebrations.

Christmas classics: Recipe for Knee Buñuelos

The Spanish tradition came to Mexico along with its wheat flour. They also brought the lard we use to fry the delicious Mexican buñuelos.

The traditional recipe evolved into what we now find at every town fair: a large disc fried and drenched in piloncillo sauce.

a pile of three Mexican buñuelos with a clay cup

Tthey are called “knee buñuelos” (buñuelos de rodilla) because the most traditional way to give these buñuelos their enormous and distinctive shape was by leaning on one knee and stretching the dough. Of course, they can be made in a variety of sizes and procedures nowadays.

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Ingredients for buñuelos

1½ cups of wheat flour

1 cup of water

2 tablespoons of butter

½ teaspoon of salt

1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

2 tablespoons of sugar

1 teaspoon of baking powder

2 liters of oil

Ingredients or the piloncillo sauce

1 cone of piloncillo

The peel of 1 orange

1 cinnamon stick

½ cup of water


  • Make a hole in the center of the flour and spread it out. After combining the dry ingredients, add the water, butter, and vanilla extract.
  • Mix until a uniform dough forms. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and set aside for 20 minutes.
  • To make the piloncillo sauce, combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan and allow to infuse until it boils and becomes honey-like.
  • Break the dough into small 50-gram balls. Let the rest for another 10 minutes.
  • Spread oil on your hands and begin to stretch, using a pot, frying pan, or round surface as a guide for shaping. Or, as the name goes, bend your knee!
  • Heat the oil in a pan over medium-high heat and fry the stretched buñuelos.
  • Drain on absorbent paper and then cover with piloncillo sauce.

Serve and enjoy!





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