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The sweet rise of churros

churro ethnic dessert restaurant

We can thank the hard-working Spanish shepherds for first introducing the churro to the world. As an alternative to fresh bread, they used churros for sustenance during the weeks—and sometimes months—they worked in the mountains.

These churros weren’t the sweet, craveable treats we’re familiar with today; instead, they were very simple breadsticks made from flour, water and oil. But it wasn’t long before people in the towns of Spain started rolling the breadsticks in sugar, creating a new sweet treat. As the popularity of this magical creation spread and eventually reached South America, even more versions of the churro were created. Each region customized the churro to match their taste preferences, filling them with chocolate, dulce de leche or vanilla.

Today, churros are found in every different style—from traditional non-filled versions rolled in cinnamon and sugar to filled varieties, such as cajeta or dulce de leche, and now even the OREO® churro.

And consumers are clamoring for this treat. According to Technomic, menu mentions of churros have increased 10 percent in just the past two years. Cinnamon, chocolate and caramel are the top three ingredients paired with churros; however, consumers in the Midwest also like strawberry with their churros, and Southerners often add raspberry to enhance this sweet treat.

In most cases, churros are featured on menus as a dessert option, but out west, churros are a popular addition to kids’ menus as well. The west holds the majority of churro menu mentions with 39 percent, followed by the South (22 percent), Northeast (21 percent) and finally the Midwest (18 percent).

Churros will continue to grace dessert menus with their presence, as restaurant operators look to add ethnic options to their menu while satisfying those 63 percent of consumers who, according to Technomic, eat dessert at least once a week.

Adding onto this sweet craze, fruit desserts have grown 7.9 percent from 2014 to 2015, and churros are a wonderful accompaniment for fresh fruit such as strawberries, raspberries or even bananas. Pre-made churros that simply need to be re-fried offer that speed-scratch route restaurants are craving. Simply heat the churros and add any number of ingredients for an unforgettable dessert your customers won’t be able to stop sharing on social media.

Need a few suggestions for adding these sweet delicacies to your menu?

  • Traditional Churros: Roll fried churros in cinnamon and sugar and serve with a chocolate dipping sauce
  • Churro Sundae: Pile churro bites in the bottom of a large bowl and top with vanilla bean ice cream, hot fudge, fresh strawberries and whipped cream
  • Churro Dessert Skewers: Alternate churro bites, fresh fruit and marshmallows on wood skewers and serve with a variety of dipping sauces
  • Churro Pudding: Twist up the classic bread pudding recipe by swapping churros for the bread pieces
  • Churro Cupcakes: Crush up churro bites and put them in cupcake batter for a pop of flavor

OREO® Churros are a registered trademark of Mondelez International Group, used under license.

Sources: Technomic, The Prisma, Restaurant Business

This post is sponsored by J&J Snack Foods

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