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
- tsp ground cinnamon
- g flour
- g butter, room temperature
- zest of an orange, small - medium
- 1/4 tsp caster sugar
Later on, you'll need:
- a piping bag (with a mm star nozzle if you have one, but it's not essential)
- L of vegetable oil for deep frying the churros
- a temperature gauge (candy or meat thermometer) for the oil
- 1/2 cup sugar & tsp cinnamon, combined, for dusting the cooked churros
And while we're at it, the hot chocolate (serves up to , easily):
- g dark chocolate (I used Whittaker's 72% cocoa Dark Ghana)
- L milk
- 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 c/f. 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.