Did you know that Churros y Chocolate was the name of my first Spanish textbook? Are you surprised I remembered that? Of course you’re not. The prospect of deep-fried dough dipped in chocolate was a surefire way to get me interested in a foreign tongue if there ever was one. Well done, textbook publishers. You know your audience.
Thinking that, as a parent all these years later, I knew my audience just as well, I decided to make churros and hot chocolate for the kids on their snow day last week. Just because I was pissed off that school got cancelled didn’t mean everyone else had to suffer. (Although, if I have to pay for another day of Preschool that gets snowed out, Mother Nature and I will come to blows. There are four days during the week with no Preschool. Why can’t it snow then?)
So, I proceeded to get the chocolate melting and the lard a-bubblin’. I wasn’t worried. I mean, what’s not to like? Fried dough. Chocolate. Well, the children didn’t offer up any specifics, but the Kindergartener took one bite of his churro, calmly returned it to the tangled mass of remaining churros, and silently withdrew back into his imaginary Pokemon world. The 3YO, in typical form, took his and smashed it on the floor in disgust. If you ever want to push my buttons, Internet, this is a good way to start. Disrespect something I just lovingly deep-fried for you and then walk away without a backwards glance. That right there is a recipe for rage. (Later on, when the neighbors came over, the 3YO ate about 20 churros once he saw his best friend/arch-nemesis eating some. Chalk one up for peer pressure.)
We adults enjoyed the remaining 150 churros with rich, steaming cups of Taza Chocolate with a hint of cinnamon. If you don’t know about this Somerville chocolate factory, you must educate yourself. Quick, before the winter is up. Start by converting their stone-ground disks of pure heaven into beverage form, and then you will understand why the Mayans built temples for chocolate. Or whatever it was they built temples for. Quiet, snowless days, perhaps?
This makes a giant plate full of them. Invite snowbound neighbors over to help you eat them all because they truly suck the next day.
10 Tbsp. butter
1 cup water
2/3 cup flour
3 eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
Grated rind of 1 orange
Lard (or oil) for frying
Confectioner’s sugar and cinnamon for dusting
Hot chocolate for dunking
Add butter and water to a medium saucepan, and heat until butter melts. Bring to a rolling boil. Meanwhile, sift the flour at least twice and, as soon as the water boils, add it to the pot. Remove pot from heat and beat until the mixture forms a ball and leaves the sides of the pan clean. Let it cool about 10 minutes before you add the eggs so they don’t scramble. Then add the eggs, yolk, and orange rind.
Heat the lard or oil in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan to a temperature between 350°-375°F (or until a cube of bread browns in 30 seconds). Adjust the flame as needed to keep the temperature more or less in that range. Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a medium or large star nozzle. Pipe strands of dough into the hot oil, pressing the tip against the side of the pan to pinch off the dough. Alternatively, if you can’t be bothered with a pastry bag, I don’t see why you couldn’t just spoon in the dough, beignet-style. Fry until golden brown on each side, flipping once. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
Mix together cinnamon and sugar, and sift gently over churros. Serve warm with hot chocolate, dunking liberally.
Source: Adapted from Bite-Sized Spain by Sharyn Conlan and Anne Crane