Churros con Chocolate
I was in Miami a few weeks ago when the temperature dipped to the high-60s.* Anywhere else this would have been a non-event in January, but for me it was a big deal. It had been unusually warm through the holidays so my family and I took no chances that this could be our last opportunity for midnight churros at Las Palmas – freshly fried and served with chocolate so thick that the spoon could stand on its own.
Now back in New York, home from home, and waiting out a blizzard, I decided to break out the churrera once again. Looking for a new variation, I decided to make the rum-spiked cover-worthy churros from pastry chef Joseluis Flores’ Dulce: Dessert in the Latin-American Tradition. The original recipe was accompanied by a chocolate sauce, so I made slight changes to make it just as rich but smooth and drinkable. To start, I replaced most (but not all) of the evaporated milk with whole. Instead of sweetened condensed milk, I added a small amount of piloncillo to balance out the bittersweet dark chocolate I had on hand. Hot chocolate blended with cornstarch cools off quickly, so I left that out as well.
The spices I didn’t touch – steeping the milks in allspice and cloves then adding a strong dose of vanilla. It was less fiery than the more usual cayenne pepper but warming and just as distinctive. Though I’ll always love the unchanging churros of almost chilly nights, it was great to try something new when I have the time, the spices, and the stacks of cookbooks waiting to be tried.
*Full disclosure, it was really only hovering between the high-60s and low-70s. So really just any excuse.
Churros con Chocolate/Sweet Fried Latin Doughnuts with Chocolate Sauce
Adapted from Dulce: Dessert in the Latin-American Tradition by Jose Luis Flores.
4 cups whole milk
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
20 whole allspice berries
4 whole cloves
2 tablespoons ground piloncillo, or to taste, depending on the chocolate
1 tablespoon vanilla extract or 1/2 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise*
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (about 71%), coarsely chopped.
For the churros:
1/3 cup butter
4 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup dark rum
4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
2 cups of sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 quarts canola oil for frying
*Whole cane sugar also known as panela and sold in Latin American markets.
Combine the milks and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat. Add the allspice, cloves, and extract and reduce heat to lowest setting. Continue to heat for about 20 minutes. Strain through a sieve into a clean saucepan. Discard the spices.
Bring the mixture back up to a simmer over medium heat. Add the chocolate and stir until completely melted, about 4-6 minutes. Remove from the heat while you are making the churros and reheat before serving.
To make the churros, bring 4 cups water, butter, salt and rum to a rolling boil. Stirring vigorously, gradually add the flour. Reduce the heat and continue to stir until the dough pulls away from the sides of the pan and forms a ball, about 1 minute. Let cool for 1 to 2 minutes before frying.*
Notes: The dough can be prepared in advance and stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Let the dough rest at room temperature for about 15 minutes before frying.
Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a large shallow bowl and set aside. Heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan to 360°F.
Spoon the dough into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip or plastic bag with the corner cut off to create a 1/2-inch opening. Squeeze three or four 4-inch strips of dough-snipping them to that length with kitchen shears-into the hot oil and fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. As they are finished, remove the churros with a slotted spoon and drain them well on paper towels. Repeat with remaining dough.
When the churros are cool enough to handle but still warm, roll them in the cinnamon-sugar mixture and set them on a platter. Serve with the hot chocolate.