I well remember my first taste of churros. Cafe Hernandez in Potts Point. Circa 1985. Open around the clock. A late night and early morning haunt. Famous for hot chocolate and churros. A Sydney institution that has withstood the test of time. One bite and I was hooked. Spanish style doughnuts. A real treat. Crisp, crunchy and sugary on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside. Dipped in a steaming mug of hot chocolate. Incredibly delicious and moreish.
For years I thought churros exotic. Definitely not something I would attempt at home. A guilty pleasure. Not widely available. A few years ago the secret was out. They are quite simple and quick to make. From basic pantry ingredients. Eggs. Water. Butter. Flour. Nothing more complicated than choux pastry. Spooned into a piping bag with a star tip. Fried in oil. Rolled in cinnamon sugar.
The perfect offering for a weekend brunch. Particularly so when the weather is wet and miserable and all I want to do is stay cosy and warm indoors. Churros and hot chocolate. A marriage made in heaven.
Churros With Hot Chocolate
100 g butter, chopped
1 cup (250 ml) water
1 cup plain flour, sifted
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1/2 cup (90g) sugar, for sprinkling
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, for sprinkling
sunflower oil, for frying
COMBINE butter and water in saucepan, bring to the boil. When butter has melted and water boiling rapidly, add sifted flour and salt all at once.
STIR vigorously until the mixture is glossy and pulls away from the side of the saucepan to form a smooth ball.
TRANSFER to a bowl. Cool slightly and beat in eggs a little at a time. The pastry dough should be smooth and stretchy and fall easily off a wooden spoon.
SPOON the dough into a piping bag with a star-shaped nozzle. Set aside until ready to fry.
COMBINE caster sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl. Set aside for sprinkling on the hot churros.
FILL a large, heavy bottomed saucepan with sunflower oil, about one-third full.
HEAT the oil to 170C or until a small piece of bread browns in less than 30 seconds.
PIPE churros directly into the hot oil, cutting them with a pair of scissors into the length you want. Be careful not to cook any more than four lengths at any one time, to prevent them from sticking to one another.
FRY for about 3 to 4 minutes until crispy and golden. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.
SPRINKLE with the cinnamon sugar and serve immediately with your favourite hot chocolate.
A Thick Hot Chocolate Recipe
200g good-quality dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
250ml (1 cup) milk
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon sugar
1 teaspoon brown sugar
COMBINE all ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth.