Servings: Makes 12 to 14 5-inch churros
In a medium-small (2-quart) saucepan, combine the oil, 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt with 1 cup water. Set over high heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and add flour all at once, stirring vigorously until mixture forms into a thick, smooth-textured ball. Let cool in the pan.
When you're ready to eat the churros, heat oil in a large pan (Chef Bayless prefers a heavy pan or cast-iron skillet that's about 9 inches across and 3 inches deep) over medium to medium-high heat to about 375° (the oil will shimmer on the surface and smell like hot oil).
Scoop the dough into a churrera , a cookie press fitted with a 3/8-inch fluted opening or a heavy-duty (canvas-type) pastry bag fitted with a 3/8-inch star tip. Holding your pressing apparatus a few inches above the hot oil, press out a 5-inch length of dough—the end will dangle into the oil—then pull it free from the press with your fingertips. Cook this one churro, turning occasionally, until it is deep golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes if the oil temperature is right. Remove it to drain on paper towels, let it cool a minute, then break it open to check for doneness—it should be just a little soft inside (but not doughy). Too low an oil temperature and the churros will take a long time to color, usually bursting apart before they're brown; too high a temperature and they'll brown quickly but not cook through.
Press out and fry the churros 4 or 5 at a time, draining each batch on paper towels. Spread the 2/3 cup sugar over the bottom of a baking pan and mix in optional cinnamon. Roll churros luxuriously in sugar mixture while they're still warm. They're ready to enjoy.
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