Saturday night we tried out a new Mexican restaurant, Gran Electrica, in Dumbo. Well, new to us. The restaurant opened in March. I’m happy to report the food was excellent (we seem to be on a successful Mexican food roll lately). Our favorite parts of the meal were the suadero and pescado estilo enselada tacos and the tamal. But the real highlight came at the end, when they brought out churros con chocolate – beautiful, lightly fried sticks of dough covered in cinnamon and sugar, dipped in the richest chocolate you’ve ever tasted. The chocolate is just thick enough that it covers every ridge of the churro, but thin enough to drink once you run out of churros to dunk. They were total bliss. After finishing them, the words of my doctor began ringing in my head, “The baby can come at any time now,” and I immediately began to panic. I didn’t feel panic for the obvious reason, like the painful labor I’m about to experience, or the fact that we’re about to be responsible for another living being for the next 18 years. No, no, those are rational fears and I am anything but rational these days. My panic came from the realization that my guilt-free gorging on rich dessert days are extremely limited and I need more churros con chocolate! I quickly decided I would spend Sunday making them myself because I obviously need to share them with you and would be guaranteed one more churro feeding before I have this baby and can no longer blame him for my waistline.
I was a little intimidated at the thought of making my own churros, but after doing some recipe research I realized there’s actually not much to it. The dough is a simple pate a choux. Don’t worry if you’ve never made a pate a choux before. I hadn’t either. If you’re capable of stirring vigorously, you’ve got it in the bag. The chocolate sauce is pretty straight forward. Know that it should be incredibly rich and only the slightest bit sweet – remember, you will dip something covered in sugar in it. My only real trepidation came from the frying part of the recipe. I’ve had frying failures in the past having to do with some tragic hushpuppies that came out greasy, burnt on the outside, and raw on the inside, which was probably for the best as I don’t need frying things to be a major skill of mine. For the churros, you put the dough in a pastry bag fitted with a large star attachment and squeeze them into the oil using scissors (or a knife, although I found scissors easier) to cut off the end. Surprisingly, it was pretty easy and they came out perfectly fried, not greasy in the least. I did notice that they were a bit thinner on one side when I had reached for scissors and let up on my pressure, so I enlisted Jolian to do the cutting. If you don’t have a helper, don’t worry, they taste just as good even when they are not perfectly uniform. They were light and airy and so delicious. My only issue was that the recipe made way too many churros for 2 people to eat. I suggest inviting friends over or making them for a party. Otherwise you will stuff yourself sick, unable to let any of them go to waste, and spend the rest of the afternoon on the couch. I’m not really complaining though, I will miss that feeling soon enough…
Churros con Chocolate
Adapted from Chocolateria San Gines
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 eggs, beaten
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Chocolate for dunking:
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 cups milk
- 4 ounces unsweetened dark chocolate, chopped
- 1/4 cup sugar
To make the churro dough: Combine 1 cup of water with the butter and the salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Using a wooden spoon, stir in flour. Reduce the heat to low and stir vigorously until the mixture forms a ball, about 1 minute. Transfer the dough to the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, turn the mixer on low and allow some of the steam to escape the dough. After a minute or two, raise the speed to medium-high and add in eggs one at a time, allowing each to become fully incorporated before adding the next. Keep mixing until a smooth dough forms.
To make the chocolate for dunking: In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in 1 cup of milk and reserve. Combine the chocolate with the remaining cup of milk in a saucepan. Stirring constantly, melt the chocolate over medium-low heat. Whisk the sugar and the dissolved cornstarch into the melted chocolate mixture. Reduce the heat to low and cook, whisking constantly, until the chocolate is thickened, about 5 minutes. (Add extra cornstarch if it doesn’t start to thicken after 5 minutes.) Remove the pan from the heat and whisk until smooth then reserve in a warm place.
Heat about 2 inches of oil in a heavy, high-sided pot over medium-high heat until the oil reaches 360 degrees F. Mix the sugar with the cinnamon on a plate and reserve.
Meanwhile, spoon the churro dough into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. Squeeze a 7-inch strip of dough into the hot oil, using scissors to cut off the end. Repeat, frying 2 or 3 strips at a time. Fry the churros, turning them once, until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the cooked churros to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.
When the churros are just cool enough to handle, roll them in the cinnamon-sugar.
Pour the chocolate into individual bowls or cups. Serve the warm churros with the chocolate dip.