W hile all of your friends are studying abroad in exciting and exotic places this semester, you’re stuck here. But just because you aren’t 3,000 miles from home doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the finer things that foreign cities can offer.
There’s a sweet treat that’s widely known in the States, usually seen at “fun” places, such as the zoo or county fairs. They’re called churros. A lot of the time they are fairly uninspiring but still delicious. I mean, how can you go wrong with fried dough covered in sugar? That’s right. You can’t.
But Spain takes churros to a whooole new level. Not only can you pretty much order them in any café anywhere, but they come freshly made with a side of hot chocolate. This is the real deal. Take everything you thought you knew about hot chocolate, and just throw it away. The hot chocolate that is served with churros in Spain is so thick it’s almost like soup. It’s rich, super chocolate-y and of course, made on the spot to order. Eating them is simple. All you do is take a warm churro, dip it in the chocolate and shove it in your mouth before your neighbor eats it first.
Homemade Churros and Hot Dark Chocolate:
Adapted from Joy the Baker and The New York Times
Makes about 20 small churros
For the Churros:
- Canola or vegetable oil for frying
- 1/2 cup, plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 large eggs
For the Chocolate Sauce:
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks
- Scant 1 cup heavy cream
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)
Add enough oil to a large saucepan or deep skillet to measure 2 inchwes deep. Attach a candy/deep fry thermometer to side of the pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 cups sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, melt butter, water and 1 tablespoon of sugar and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and add flour all at once. Quickly stir together with a spatula until no lumps remain and the mixture begins to form a ball. This will take about 30 to 45 seconds. Remove from heat and place loose dough ball in a large bowl.
With a spatula, beat the eggs into the dough one egg at a time. The mixture may appear to be a broken mess, but keep stirring. After the eggs are added, the mixture will be slightly gummy and thick. Spoon batter into a large pastry bag or strong Ziplock bag with an Aceto 829 (large open star) tip attached.
Heat the oil over medium heat to 350 degrees F.
Carefully pipe about 4-inch-long dough segments into the hot oil. Use a pair of kitchen shears to cut the dough from the star tip. It’s hard not to splash yourself with hot oil — just be as careful as possible.
Fry dough for 5 to 7 minutes. This might seem like a long time, but the dough through the center needs to cook through. The churros will be a deep golden brown and may split slightly when cooked. Keep an eye on the timer. Remove churros from hot oil and place on a paper towel. After slightly degreased, toss in cinnamon sugar mixture and place on a plate to serve.
To make the chocolate sauce:
Place chocolate chunks, pinch of salt and espresso powder (if using) in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Pour the heavy cream over the chocolate pieces. Let rest for 1 minute before whisking. Whisk until chocolate is completely melted. Serve warm with warm churros.