These baked versions of the classic Spanish snack are healthier and safer to make than traditional deep-fried churros, but they are just as tasty as the original. Dusted with cinnamon sugar and served alongside a banana butterscotch sauce, one is never enough.
Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/Gas 6. Using the heart shaped biscuit cutter as a guide, draw 6 heart shapes, spaced equally apart, onto one sheet of baking paper lining a baking sheet. Turn the paper over so the ink or pencil is underneath.
Make the churros. Sift the flour and sugar onto the sheet of baking paper lining a baking sheet.
Put 150ml water into a medium saucepan with the butter and salt and heat gently until the butter has melted – but don’t let the water boil at this stage. Once the butter has melted, increase the heat and quickly bring the mixture to the boil. Tip in all the flour in one go. Remove the pan from the heat and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon, until there are no patches of dry flour left.
Return the pan to a low heat and beat the dough for 4–5 minutes to slightly cook and dry it out, until it comes away from the sides of the pan in a smooth, glossy ball. Tip the dough into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the beater attachment and mix on low speed, until the dough has cooled until warm.
Crack the eggs into a jug and whisk lightly with a fork. Gradually add the eggs, a little at a time, beating on a medium speed between each addition until you have a shiny dough. You may not need to use all the egg. Finally beat in the vanilla extract.
Spoon the mixture into the piping bag fitted with a large closed star nozzle and pipe 6 hearts onto the lined baking sheet, piping around the outside of the drawn heart shapes (to give the churros space to expand during cooking without filling the centre).
Bake the churros for 20 minutes, until golden brown and crisp, then remove them from the oven and transfer them to a wire rack, turning them over so the bases are facing upwards. Use a cocktail stick to poke holes in the bottom of the churros, then return them to the oven and bake them bottom side up for a further 5 minutes, until fully dried out on in inside.
To coat, mix the sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl, then spoon it into a sugar shaker. While the churros are warm, brush the bases with melted butter and sprinkle them with the cinnamon sugar. Turn the churros over, brush the tops with melted butter and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar. Leave to cool.
For the banana butterscotch, melt the butter in a pan, then add the sugar and whisk to combine. Add the milk, cream and large pinch of salt. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 5 minutes, until thickened. Be careful as the mixture will spit, splutter and burn if it gets too hot. Once thickened, add enough mashed banana to flavour, then spoon into a serving bowl and serve with the churros.