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It’s time to give churros a makeover. Obviously, as a fried dough enthusiast, I’m fond of them. They’re comforting and familiar and taste like my childhood—warm summer days spent at amusement parks, eating churros between bites of cotton candy and caramel apples. (I was a sugar hero from an early age.) But since then, I’ve grown up, embraced a slightly more sensible diet, and expanded my culinary sensibilities. Isn’t it time churros grew up a little too?
Good news, churro (and ice cream) fans! Say hello to Churro Ice Cream Sandwiches—two round churros, fried until golden brown and tossed with cinnamon sugar, sandwiching rich, creamy homemade horchata ice cream. The official dessert of summer has arrived!
I don’t know why we’ve spent all these years making our ice cream sandwiches with sad little chocolate cookies like chumps. Churros are obviously the superior method of ice cream delivery. I really can’t imagine anything better than freshly-fried dough, crispy on the outside and a little tender on the inside, coated with cinnamon and sugar, with a fat scoop of smooth horchata ice cream tucked inside. Perfection? I’d say so. Let us never speak of those other ice cream sandwiches again.
I wish I could take credit for this amazing idea, but honesty and easily google-able facts prevent me from lying to you. The concept of churro ice cream sandwiches originated (as far as I can tell) from an LA dessert company called The Churro Borough, and after seeing approximately a billion articles about them, I needed to recreate the concept in my kitchen immediately.
Reading about churro ice cream sandwiches was one thing, but figuring out the best way to make them was quite another. I started with my trusty churro recipe, but I soon learned that round churros that look like the proper size and width when going into the fryer turn into unwieldy dough-beasts when coming out of the fryer. After a few experiments with different piping styles and tip sizes, I learned that using a smallish star tip, and piping very thin discs of dough, produces the best results.
It’s a balancing act: I wanted my churros to puff up, and have that recognizable churro texture, but they also had to be thin enough so the sandwich was easy to hold, and so the ice cream didn’t get totally overshadowed. The winning churros were thinner than “normal” churros, but dang if I didn’t like them just as much! They were just the right size for holding a scoop of ice cream. I had to stop myself from munching on the plain ones….okay, I barely tried to stop myself from munching on the plain ones. What happens in my kitchen stays in my kitchen.
The ice cream can seem like an afterthought, after the excitement of frying churros, but it’s still a wonderful recipe! It has a remarkably strong horchata flavor that goes perfectly with the cinnamon-coated churros.
To get that authentic horchata taste, I started with my basic method for making horchata, but I swapped milk and cream for the water–nobody is here for thin, watery ice cream, am I right? A quick horchata primer: it’s made with rice and cinnamon, and in my method, I blend these two ingredients with the rest of the liquids and let it sit overnight in the refrigerator to infuse the flavors. After straining, it’s ready to be churned! It’s just that easy. The starch from the rice makes the ice cream thick and creamy, no yolks, cornstarch, or other tricks required.
I love this horchata ice cream recipe, and I want you to fall in love with it too! It’s summertime, it’s hot, and we all need a churro ice cream sandwich in our lives right about now.
If you want more churros and/or ice cream sandwiches in your life, check out these other SugarHero recipes:
Churros with Three Dipping Sauces
Brownie Raspberry Swirl Ice Cream Sandwiches
Salted Caramel Ice Cream Sandwiches
Churro Ice Cream Sandwiches
For the Horchata Ice Cream:
- 1 cup long-grain white rice
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 cup milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
For the Churros:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 cup + 2 tbsp
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp + 1 tbsp divided use
- 1 cup water
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 6 cups oil for frying, or enough to fill a large skillet with 1 1/2-2 inches of oil
To Make the Horchata Ice Cream:
- Combine the rice and cinnamon stick in a blender. Blend on medium-high speed for 1-2 minutes, until the rice and cinnamon are finely ground. (It's okay if your blender produces a coarser mixture—you just want to break them down a little.) Add the cup of milk and blend the milk with the rice until you have a thick, slushy mixture. Pour it into a large container and add the cream, condensed milk, salt, and vanilla. Whisk well, then refrigerate it overnight, or at the minimum 3-4 hours.
- Line a strainer with 4 layers of cheesecloth, and pour the ice cream mixture through the cheesecloth to strain out the rice and cinnamon stick. Churn it in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions. When it is finished it will probably have a soft-serve consistency, so place it in the freezer to firm up before scooping and assembling the sandwiches.
To Make the Churros:
- Sift together the flour and 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and set aside for a moment.
- Combine the water, sugar, vegetable oil, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring it to a boil, and once boiling, add the flour mixture all at once and stir it in quickly. It will be thick. Continue to stir until the streaks of flour are gone, and the whole thing comes together in a rough, shaggy ball in the middle.
- Transfer the hot ball of dough to the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Begin to beat on medium speed, and add one of the eggs. At first it won’t come together, but continue to beat until it’s incorporated and the mixture smooths out. Add the other egg and beat until your dough is combined and smooth.
- Fit a pastry bag with your star tip, and fill the bag with churro dough. Cover two baking sheets with parchment or waxed paper. Pipe the dough in a spiral shape into 3-inch circles, keeping the tip close to the baking sheet so the dough is in a very thin layer. You should get about 18-20 circles from one batch.
- Transfer the sheets to the freezer for 10 minutes to chill the dough and make it easier to handle. While the churros are freezing, heat the oil for frying. Pour the oil into a large skillet, so that it’s 1 1/2 – 2 inches deep, and turn the heat to medium. Insert a candy/deep fry thermometer and let the oil heat to 350 F (175 C). Line a baking sheet with several layers of paper towel, and toss the granulated sugar and remaining tablespoon of cinnamon together in a shallow pie pan.
- Once at 350 F, slide a spatula under the frozen churros to release them from the pan. Transfer 2-3 churros to the hot oil and fry them, turning them occasionally so that they brown on all sides.
- When they're finished, they will be puffed and golden brown on all surfaces. Transfer them to the paper towel-lined baking sheet using a slotted frying spatula, then quickly move them to the cinnamon-sugar bowl and toss them with the sugar until they’re coated. Let the oil come back up to 350 F before frying the next batch. If it gets too hot during the cooking process, remove it from the heat until it cools down again. The goal is to always keep it around 350 F.
- Continue to cook the churros in small batches until they're all fried and coated with cinnamon sugar. While the churros can be made a few hours in advance, for the best taste and texture, they should be enjoyed on the same day they’re made. To make the ice cream sandwiches, top one with a scoop of ice cream, place another churro on top, and serve immediately!
Our recipes are developed using weight measurements, and we highly recommend using a kitchen scale for baking whenever possible. However, if you prefer to use cups, volume measurements are provided as well. PLEASE NOTE: the adage “8 oz = 1 cup” is NOT true when speaking about weight, so don’t be concerned if the measurements don’t fit this formula.Click here to learn more about baking measurements and conversion.
I would love to try the Sweet Potato Flan recipe.
The summer refreshing beer cocktails look so yummy!
two ingredient pie crust! Maybe I can actually at age 60 make an edible crust LOL
As for the yahoo food, I have my eyes on the roasted strawberry red wine pop! Yum
I liked the Chowder 3 Ways article because chowder is one of my favorite things to eat.
I can’t wait to try the deep fry cookie dough/ My grandkids and their friends will just love it and we will have a new treat to share. Thanks for the recipe
I love chocolate souffle when I go out. So why not at home just for me? I don’t like coffee, so I might try just a touch of almond extract instead. And homemade blackberry ice cream on the side.
I like the article about charring cucumbers. I have persian cucumbers in the fridge right now and need to grill them tomorrow!
14 Boozy Popsicles Fit for Summer…. caught my eye….I’ll try it at the next BBQ
Ooh, the watermelon cucumber cooler sounds so refreshing!
Recipe that caught my eye was the last minute pot luck chocolate chip cake. I’m always going to last minute parties and this cake seems perfect for that.
14 boozy treats sound refreshing for a hot summer day
I’d love to make their Grandma Virginia’s Oven-Fried Chicken!
baked zucchini chips. But those churro ice cream sandwiches look divine!
Blackberries, we’ll be drowning in them in a little while, so having more ideas of what to do with them is always appreciated
The Bacon potato salad recipe looks amazing. We’re always trying to find new potato salad recipes for summer picnics. 🙂
The ‘A Salad to Be Plum Crazy About’ article looked like a refreshing summer plate.
so many cool recipies and articles my favorite one so fat the no bake dessert recipies
Ooh, charred cucumbers. Cooking vegetables is always neat.
Also, churro ice cream sammiches? Droooool.
The last minute potluck article is genius. Every other week it seems like we have to whip something up for work :-/
The Refrajo (Colombiana Pitcher Cocktail) sounds good.
The Wild Mushroom Soup (https://www.yahoo.com/food/savory-wild-mushroom-soup-91353347188.html) looks delicious.
The Nanaimo Bars recipe caught my eye. Yum!
I like the “How Gorgeous Are These Melony Sno-Cones?”. I would like to give those a try.
The Nanaimo Bars on the front page from Saveur-just wow!
I visited Yahoo Foods and a recipe that caught my eye was the Pork + Peaches Forever recipe. I have found a local peach orchard in my area that has delicious fruit and I would love to use some in this fun recipe. Yum!
I like the Nanaimo Bars recipe
I like the Martha Stewart: Pinwheel Cherry Pie
I love the One Fabulous Bourbon Grapefruit Cocktail
Summery Wild Mushroom Soup, I’d make a lighter, healthier version but I love mushrooms so the basic idea sounds yummy.
I’d like to try the Heavenly Oatmeal-Molasses Rolls
The BBQ Basics You’ve Got to Know caught my eye. They look delicious, our family loves BBQ’s
Last minute potluck
I can’t wait to try!
The recipe that caught my eye was definitely the 7 Super-Refreshing Beer Cocktails!
The secret to the perfect 2 crust pie!
I really like the summer fruit crisp recipe.I think I will have to go to the grocery store today to get the ingredients.
OK. Lots of things – I missed the contest, but that’s ok. I actually gave away our ice cream maker a while ago bc I only used it about once a year, and I need the cupboard space to hold things like mini-bundt pans and casserole dishes. Also, I LOVE churros, and I can totally be on board with making these. I’d serve them with a bowl of ice cream instead – because I’m lazy like that. And your fingers, Lady. What?? You paint your nails? I NEVER do, because they are ruined in roughly 10 seconds flat via dishwashing and/or toilet scrubbing and the like. Cheers to you for being FASHIONABLE!!
Ah yes, the old mini bundt pan vs ice cream maker dilemma! Been there. That might explain why I have trifle dishes in my living room and teapots in my bedroom…. #needmorespace
And the nails are a VERY rare occurrence! Mine usually chip instantly too, but sometimes I just can’t resist.
I got super excited when I saw “churro ice cream sandwiches.” But then I saw that horchata ice cream was involved… and I think I may cry tears of joy.
My absolute favorite ice cream recipe!! Such a creative idea with the churro horchata combo!!!!! This was a huge hit at our brunch party. Thank you so much!
I often make cream cake for my husband because he loves it, but i never make churro ice cream sandwiches. It looks so delicious