Thursday, January 14, 2010

churros and hot chocolate

To escape the tedium of wading through crime scene-like photographs in Craigslist, we took ourselves off skiing yesterday for the first time this season. It was one of those perfect Christmas card days when everything's covered in a quilt of snow and white-embroidered trees dazzle under skies the colour of melted cornflowers, when the beauty of nature overwhelms and crushes your heart. There is no place I would rather be than on the ski slopes on such days.

After a few runs we stopped for hot chocolate. What could be more redolent of snowy mountain climes than hot chocolate moustaches? Unfortunately, what you get in mountain restaurants is an insipid watery brew made with cocoa powder, disguised with swags of canned whipped cream. So when we got home - tired and cold but euphoric - I set about making the real deal, with melted chocolate, and Spanish-style doughnuts for dipping.

This recipe comes from the February 2009 issue of Homes and Gardens and uses virgin olive oil for frying, but I found sunflower oil worked much better and I only used 2 or 3 cm in a frying pan. When the churros start to brown too quickly, turn the heat off and let the oil cool down a little so that the churros turn a lovely golden colour. I also added more chocolate to the hot chocolate to make it wickedly thick.


Serves 6-8
125 g salted butter in cubes
150 g plain white flour, sifted
15 g caster sugar or vanilla sugar
6 medium eggs, beaten
Virgin olive oil, for frying
Sieved icing sugar and a little cinnamon (optional) to decorate

Heat 250 ml boiling water with the butter in a deep, heavy-based saucepan for 2 minutes, uncovered, until the mixture boils, then tip in the sifted flour and sugar and beat hard over the heat for 30 seconds until it clumps together. Remove and cool for 2 minutes in a sink of cold water. Remove. With an electric, hand-held whisk, whisk in the eggs one at a time; the mixture thins, then gets thick again. Once all 6 eggs are added, spoon the mix into a piping bag with a rosette nozzle and chill for 30 minutes.

Heat 10cm oil in a medium heavy-based pan until a cube of stale bread browns in 20 seconds. Pipe straight or curly shapes of paste into the oil with one hand and chop off the paste using scissors with the other. Cook for 1 minute, then turn with tongs, cook for 1 minute more and drain. Serve, dusted with icing sugar and cinnamon if liked, with hot chocolate.

Hot chocolate

Serves 6-8
250 g dark chocolate, chopped (ideally 70 per cent cocoa solids or higher)
300 ml milk
1 tsp ground cinnamon, optional

Combine the chopped chocolate, milk and cinnamon, if liked, in a large heavy-based saucepan and stir over moderate heat until the chocolate has melted. Whisk the mixture till frothy and keep hot chocolate on a low heat or set over boiling water before serving.


Karen (Canadian Soldier's Wife) said...

oh, wow....

photogliz said...

this looks delicious! thanks for following my blog :) i can't wait to see what comes next on yours.

arcadia said...

oh dear, those look fantastic! been tempted to make them for a while, this must be another sign ;-)

Denise | Chez Danisse said...

What an incredible looking combination.

Anonymous said...

Having spent the day hanging around stations waiting for delayed trains on a cold snowy day in Scotland. I comforted myself with a WHOLE bar of Cadbury's Caramel. Then swore that the diet would start tomorrow. Then I come home to this blog! The Churros beckon!

Kaycie said...

Thanks for bringing your blog to my attention! I am now following you as well.


Kals said...

Love the photos!! Great post.

De jó főzni! said...

Hello Sarah!

Thank you for visiting my blog and contacting me :) . By the way, I am from Hungary, 29 yrs old and married - but no mill unfortunately :). Will write you an e-mail soon, my address:

Have a nice day!

PS: You have a lovely blog!

Nicola said...

Great Blog.

Kathie said...

I'm glad you indicated that 1" oil would be sufficient, rather than the wasteful 4" called for in the original recipe (guess they don't realize that some of us live on a budget!).

No blog, just two websites:


(Re the English translation of Terceiran Álamo Oliveira's novel "Já não gosto de chocolates" -- the chocolates are a metaphor for a middle-aged man's inability to adapt well to immigrant life in California.)
You'll probably most enjoy the "Cultural Tourism - Photos" page, featuring some of my favorite vacation pictures of the Azores (including Flores):

And the page with my favorite dark and white chocolate truffle recipes in both English and Portuguese (because, unlike his novel's main character, author Álamo Oliveira actually DOES like chocolates!):


(Re the bilingual edition of native Angrense Vasco Pereira da Costa's poetry about, yes, his Azorean-American friends. Website is still only partially completed, alas, because it's so hard to find good help -- LOL!)

Agatha said...

Hi Sara,
Thanks for the comment you left on my blog. I'm flattered you found it and like it. Of course feel free to link to it. Very exciting about le cordon bleu! Happy cooking (those churros look amazing) and I look forward to reading your blog!

happygoluckychinesekitty said...

Hi Sara,

This looks amazing :) I can't wait to try it out!

Mary Jo from TrustYourStyle said...

This looks unbelievable! Just wanted to let you know that I added you to my links page and plan to visit the Haiti link right now. Thanks!

xo Mary Jo

Dena said...

These look delicious. I hope you had a wonderful time skiing! I've always wanted to learn, perhaps one day I will.

creampuff said...

Sarah, you have such a lovely blog! And these churros are making my mouth water!!!

Katie @ Cozydelicious said...

Amazing photos. I just want to reach out and grab the hot chocolate! My very favorite tapas spot serves churros and hot chocolate and it is so addictive. It's probably for the best that I have never thought to make it myself... until now. Dangerous!

Jacqueline said...

It's nearly midnight and I can't stop thinking about how delicious these guys would be as a midnight snack...