If you have ever ordered the cinnamon twists at Taco Bell, you probably wondered how they make these light and airy treats. They look like large puffs of rotini pasta, but they are actually made with a special ingredient called duros. Also known as "duros de harina" or "pasta para duros," these are a popular Latin American snack food that are often flavored with chili and lemon or cinnamon and sugar.
To make your own homemade version of the Taco Bell cinnamon twists, you'll need to purchase a bag of dried duros from a Latin American grocery store or online. Although it looks similar when dried, this ingredient is different from typical rotini pasta. Duros are made with wheat flour as well as cornstarch, salt, and baking soda. This helps them become puffed and airy when they are deep-fried. Do not attempt to make these cinnamon twists from regular noodles since pasta will simply sink to the bottom of the oil and burn.
The end result is a light and magical treat. It's hard to believe that the tiny pasta-like spirals could so quickly transform into these large puffed treats. While the Taco Bell cinnamon twists use the spiral variety of duros, they are also sold in 1-inch-square pieces and round wagon wheel shapes. It is fun to experiment with different shapes and sizes when cooking your own homemade version of this Latin American street food snack.
- Vegetable, canola, or peanut oil, for frying
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 2 cups spiral-shaped dried duros
Gather the ingredients. Using a deep, heavy-bottomed pan or electric skillet, add enough oil to reach about 2 inches up the side. Heat the oil to 350 F.
While the oil is heating, combine the sugar and cinnamon in a brown paper bag. Set aside.
Working in small batches, place several duros in the hot oil to cook. The duros will sink to the bottom of the pan and nothing will happen for the first few seconds. Watch carefully because suddenly they will begin to puff up. If necessary, gently turn the duros so they are puffed and cooked on all sides. The whole process will take about 30 seconds.
Once the duros have puffed up and cooked, remove from the oil using a slotted spoon or a spider.
Transfer the cooked duros to a paper towel-lined plate to drain off the excess oil.
Once cool enough to handle, quickly transfer the duros to the paper bag filled with the cinnamon and sugar mixture. Fold down the top of the bag and shake to coat.
Place the coated duros on a plate to cool. Repeat the frying and coating process in small batches with the remaining duros.
- Use a cup-for-cup sugar substitute for a sugar-free version.
- Add a pinch of cayenne pepper for a little heat.