Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Churros & Hot Chocolate

It's cold and miserable outside, and you're tucked up in front of the fire reading a juicy bodice-ripper/watching Jersey Shore. Suddenly, you get the urge...

Feeling better after peeing, you decide that what you want right now is a hot drink. But not just any old hot drink. And a snack would be good, too. A thick, Spanish-style hot chocolate and some piping hot cinnamon sugar-coated churros would be just about perfect, you think to yourself. Keen? Then read on...

Let's make the churros dough first. This can be made well in advance, and the longer it's left, the more the flavours will develop. You'll need:
  • 1/3 cup of water
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 150g flour
  • 30g butter, room temperature
  • zest of an orange, small - medium
  • 1/4 tsp caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
Later on, you'll need:
  • a piping bag (with a 5mm star nozzle if you have one, but it's not essential)
  • 1L of vegetable oil for deep frying the churros 
  • a temperature gauge (candy or meat thermometer) for the oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar & 2 tsp cinnamon, combined, for dusting the cooked churros
And while we're at it, the hot chocolate (serves up to 6, easily):
  • 250g dark chocolate (I used Whittaker's 72% cocoa Dark Ghana)
  • 1L milk
  • 2 tbspns cornflour (cornstarch)
  • sugar, to taste

Place all of your churros ingredients (except the eggs) into a pot and stir over a low heat until the butter melts and a rough dough forms. Continue cooking out for another 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly, until the dough forms a ball around your wooden spoon.

Place the warm dough into your food processor, and while the motor is running, add the eggs. Stop as soon as they appear to be fully incorporated into the dough mix. Pull it out and check the consistency: it should be firm but pliable. There should be sufficient body for it to be able to be cut with scissors.

Time to fill the piping bag. Insert your nozzle into the bag before filling with the dough. To make filling easier, grab a jug and insert the bag inside, folding the topmost part of the bag over the top and sides of the jug (check the photo if that makes more sense). This leaves your hands free to scrape every drop of dough from out of the bowl.

You'll want to eat your churros while they're hot, so cook them at the last minute, say, as soon as you finish making the hot chocolate (that's coming up soon). Heat your oil in a pot, and using your thermometer, you'll want the temperature to reach 180c/350f. Don't have a thermometer? Drop in a cube of white bread & it should brown in about 12-15 seconds. If you're really lucky, you'll have a deep fryer like I do, one of several treasures found over the years at the dump shop (actually called The Second Treasure Shop, the Southern Landfill Recycling Centre's store in Happy Valley, Wellington). Cheers, dump shop! Cheers, Rob! W00t!

Pipe in finger-length sections of dough and snip off with a pair of scissors. They'll take two to three minutes to cook - turn them over halfway during cooking.

Once puffed and brown, remove from the oil, and drain on paper towels. Toss them in the cinnamon sugar mix while hot and eat straight away.

To make the hot chocolate, make a slurry with the cornflour using a little of the milk - put aside. Place the broken up chocolate into a pot with the rest of the milk, and place over a low heat, stirring all the while until the two are combined - it smells amazing, and the odour will fill the whole house (if it's little, like mine). Pour a little of the slurry into the milk mix, whisking like the devil. Add a little more, whisking again, and then add the remainder. Technically, you should add hot to cold when tempering, but this is far from being hot, and it's always turned out fine on the occasions I've made this. Increase your heat by a smidgeon, and whisk constantly until it's on the cusp of boiling. It should look quite frothy and feel surprisingly thick. Take off the heat and whisk in sugar to taste. 

Serve with your churros, put your feet up and worry about the pile of dishes you've made later - there are ripped bodices to be read about, and Jersey Shore's not going to watch itself, you know.


Joe @ Eden Kitchen said...

Yum! I haven't had any decent churros since I was at Tokyo disneyland (of all places). Tried the new ones from hell pizza and I must say very disappointing but not overly surprising. Now I can try making them myself. Thanks!

Unknown said...

I loooove real hot chocolate - you can never go back to the powdered stuff after you've made it from scratch!

I noticed when I was last back in Melbourne, churro stands have popped up all over, just like the pretzel and roast chestnut stands that used to be everywhere. It's probably because they're delicious :-)

Alessandra said...

Delicious! I love thick hot chocolate but I noticed that many Kiwis find it too... strong? Intense? Much?

What do you think?

Johanna said...

I had churros at a fair a few months ago, and loved them - now I'm inspired to try and make them myself - thanks!!! (Also love the sound of that hot chocolate - never seen a recipe like that!)

heartbreak pie said...

OH. MY. GOD. this is incredible. i'm in heaven just reading this! If only I had a deep fryer. My secret shame hasn't been jersey shore - it's been Felicity reruns on Vibe. So good!

Nigel Olsen said...

HP - It is incredible! & you don't need a deep fryer. But you will need a whole king size bar of dark chocolate for the drink! Get some friends around this weekend & give it a go. Love your blog, too, by the way - I miss living in a city...

Johanna! It's very rich & filling, and while the original recipe I adapted it from says 'serves 4', it will easily provide for 6. I've seen people curl up & take a nap after drinking this ;)

Alessandra - You're absolutely right! I've had people say that it's too rich, or too strong, & haven't been able to finish it.

Kat - Yep, Milo & bournvita seem insipid now - I've totally spoilt myself.

Joe - Yeah, I've seen the ads around town advertising their churros, & was really curious to see what they were like. Now, not so much. Cheers!

Lou said...

y-um. I am going to make this for sure. I used to love the "cioccolato caldo" when I lived in Italy - not too intense for me! I could drink it every day. Then again I am a bit of a hedonist. I can't remember when I first ate churros, but recently I had some at Osteria Del Toro in Wellington. They were good, but maybe not as good as your version! I'll give you my verdict as soon as I have bought a meat thermometre - I might even borrow Mums deep fryer for this!

Nigel Olsen said...

You won't regret it, our Lou. Hope Lido's all better now, too :)

Anonymous said...

I just love churros!
Sorry I missed you on Friday, we had a great dinner at Provodore but it would have been cool to meet the face behind the Blog! We did have your key lime tart and the plumb & chocolate cake and the ginger and pear and loved all of them! The pork with spaetlze for main course was amazing too, so moist and tender, I was so excited to see the spaetzle!!

Nigel Olsen said...

I'm glad you guys enjoyed yourselves! I wasn't rostered on & it was quiet, so it was just head chef & sous chef. The spaetlze is delicious! It's quite rich, but oh so tender, quite popular too. I'm glad you got to try it, because the menu's about to change for spring.

pierre said...

today is beautiful ehre in Paris and i would not mind ot have churros at all !!
cheers de France Pierre