CHURROS AND SPANISH HOT CHOCOLATE
(This recipe is part of “A Tapas Experience.”)
My Love for churros and Spanish hot chocolate
My love for Churros and Spanish Hot Chocolate materialized during my stay in the city of Madrid, Spain, back in the fall of 2015. I had no idea what awaited my tastebuds as I sat down early one morning at the Chocolateria San Ginés. This iconic establishment had been serving these chocolatey delights since their humble beginnings in 1894. I will circle back around to Churros and Chocolate, but first, let me highlight my time in Madrid.
Love of Travel
After six weeks away from my husband during which a friend and I roamed the Northern countryside of Spain, he and I met up in Madrid for a long-awaited reunion. He was ready to experience Spain, and I should have been ready to go home, back to the States. Not so fast though.There is this little (maybe big) issue with me. I LOVE to travel. If it wasn’t for my family and dogs, I could easily be gone 365 days out of the year. Well, I would need a million bucks as well, but that is another story.
Madrid – A City That Rarely Sleeps
Madrid is a lively city that pops with spontaneous entertainment. I had booked an Airbnb apartment for us right in the middle of the city. We checked out what would be our new home for the next five days. A foreshadowing of what we could expect became quite apparent when we found two pairs of earplugs on our bed, next to our recently fluffed pillows.
Spaniards Love to Party
Let me fill you in on a little “known” secret. The Spaniards are devoted to partying – and partying they do around the clock. At two o’clock am we awoke to loud drums and boisterous singing right below our third-story window. We threw open the wooden shutters to see what all the raucous was about. It looked like a parade coming down the street. We laid back down thinking that surely it would stop soon. Three o’clock, four o’clock, and still there was a continual stream of celebration bursting through this city artery. Would you believe this nightly gaiety continued the entire time of our stay? We kept thinking over and over, “When do these people sleep?” I guess THAT, my friend, is the beauty of the Spanish siestas.
Fried, Doughy Pastries Plunged into Chocolate Pudding-like Sauce
On one of those sleepy Madrid mornings, we awoke with a desperate need for a little bit of sweet ambrosia. The city was already alive with the bustle of Spaniards and tourist alike looking to gratify their morning hunger pangs. We made our way to the world renown Chocolateria San Ginés a couple of streets over from our apartment. It seemed as though the same temptation seduced everyone in the city. This little gem was buzzing with people from all over the world who chose to indulge their morning cravings with fried, doughy pastries plunged into a chocolate pudding-like sauce. What a beautiful way to awaken the senses and begin a day.
Churros and Spanish Hot Chocolate – A Beginner Cook Can Easily Make Them
Because of my new-found love affair with Churros and Spanish Hot Chocolate, I knew, then and there, I would have to learn how to make them at home. Although I’m not sure they will ever be as scrumptious as those we had in Spain, believe it or not, the ones I have made since then have been pretty dang good. The dough itself is quite simple as its only ingredients are flour, water, salt and a little bit of olive oil.
Churro Maker or Pastry Bag
Forming the churros is a little more difficult. You will need either a churrera (churro maker) or a pastry bag fitted with a large open-star tip. If you use the pastry bag, you will need a lot of physical strength behind the squeezing as the dough is quite firm and stiff. The oil you use to fry them should be hot, but not smoking when you pipe the dough into it. Whether you like dough coiled into a circular pattern or long, fluted strips, either preference will conclude in a crispy, golden doughnut-like nosh if cooked right. Do a trial churro first to see if the dough is cooked all the way through. If the oil is too hot, they will be golden and crisp on the outside but doughy on the inside. If that is the case, turn down the heat and try another one until you get it right.
A Perfect Blend of Sweet and Salty
The brilliance of this dish is the combination of both the saltiness of the churros and the semi-sweet chocolate sauce. It is the perfect blend for your taste buds. Therefore whatever you do, do not neglect this dark-brown molten goodness made for dipping. The Spanish name for it is chocolate caliente Español.
Smooth Creaminess of Spanish Hot Chocolate
When we think of hot chocolate here in the States, we consider sipping a cup where little marshmallows float atop a steamy, milk-chocolatey drink. Not even close! The rich darkness, the gooey thickness and the smooth creaminess of this rich Spanish hot chocolate do not compare to the drink we enjoy here. It is in a category all its own. It is like silk on your tongue and has the consistency of pudding. You could eat it with a spoon if you wanted to. Oh, and I have!
Take Time to Relax
Whether you are sitting at Chocolateria San Ginés in Madrid enjoying authentic Churros and Spanish Hot Chocolate or serving them at your next Tapas Party, they will surely not disappoint. In either setting, take the time to relax, engage in meaningful conversation, let the taste of chocolate linger on your taste buds and be fully in the moment as you remember what life is truly all about.
Both of these recipes, Churros and Spanish Hot Chocolate, were taken from a cookbook I ordered after I returned home from Spain. The title is The Cuisines of Spain, by Teresa Barrenechea. You will find many other Spanish cooking ideas from this book, and it would be a great addition to your cookbook stash.
View the full “Tapas Experience” here.
Ten Interesting Facts about Chocolate
1. 100 pounds of chocolate are collectively eaten by Americans every second.
2. It takes approximately 400 cacao beans to make one pound of chocolate.
3. M&M’s were created in 1941 as a means for soldiers to enjoy chocolate without it melting.
4. Milton Hershey, the chocolate tycoon, canceled his reservation on the Titanic due to last minute business matters.
5. Eating dark chocolate every day reduces the risk for heart disease by one-third.
6. Scientists found that hot chocolate in orange colored cups tastes better hot chocolate in other color cups. Therefore how you serve food and drink matters in the perception of taste.
7. Chocolate is the only edible substance to melt around 93 degrees F, just below human body temperature. That’s why chocolate melts in your mouth.
8. The average chocolate bar contains eight insect parts.
9. The lethal dose of chocolate for a human is 22 pounds or 40 Hershey chocolate bars.
10. Chocolate has an anti-bacterial effect on the mouth and protects against tooth decay.
You can find more interesting facts about chocolate at www.factslides.com/s-Chocolate.
According to www.196flavors.com:
1. The origin of churros is very controversial. Some sources say that it is the Portuguese explorers who returned from Asia who shared the techniques of these donuts with their Spanish neighbors. The Spanish gave them the now famous shape.
2. According to others, churros would indeed be a Spanish invention, attributed to shepherds who didn’t have pastries when they were traveling with their herds. They, therefore, developed this recipe with basic ingredients: water, flour, salt, and sugar, which could be prepared without an oven as the dough just needed to be deep fried in hot oil on simple stoves.
3. The element that is supporting this version is the Spanish sheep breed called Navajo churro with curved and grooved horns like churros. The name of these treats may come from this variety of sheep.
A Tapas Experience
Churros and Spanish Hot Chocolate
Churros and Spanish Hot Chocolate – light and crispy golden fried dough dipped in a creamy, thick, dark-chocolate sauce. A perfect blend of salty and sweet.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 1-2 min per batch
- Total Time: -25410631.55 minute
- Yield: 30 Churros
- Category: Spanish Tapas
- 4 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 pound semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3 cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for deep-frying
- 2 cups flour
- Sugar for sprinkling
- Whole whipped cream, optional
Spanish Hot Chocolate
1. In a large saucepan, bring 4 cups of the milk to boil over high heat. As soon as it boils, remove the pan from the heat. Add the chocolate to the milk and let it melt, stirring it several times during the process.
2. While the chocolate is melting, combine the remaining 1/2 cup milk and the cornstarch in a small bowl and stir until the cornstarch dissolves.
3. Return the saucepan to medium heat, bring the chocolate milk just shy of a boil, and cook while constantly whisking about 30 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened and reduced slightly. Add the cornstarch mixture and sugar, decrease the heat to low and cook, constantly whisking, for 10 minutes longer, or until the chocolate has thickened to the right consistency. To test the chocolate, dip a spoon into it and then lift it out; the chocolate should thickly coat the spoon.
4. Remove from the heat and immediately divide evenly among 4 cups. Top each cup with a spoonful of whipped cream, if desired, and serve right away. Once the chocolate cools, it becomes too thick to serve. If this happens, add a little milk and reheat over low heat while stirring constantly.
1. In a saucepan, bring the water to a boil over high heat. Add the salt and the 2 tablespoons olive oil and mix well. Add the flour all at once and immediately remove the pan from the heat. Using a wooden spoon, promptly and vigorously mix the flour with the water until the dough is firm and free of all air bubbles. This will take about 5 minutes. Pack a churrera or a pastry bag with some of the dough.
2. Pour olive oil to a depth of 2 to 3 inches into a deep, heavy, wide pot and place over high heat. When the oil is just before smoking, begin to release the dough into the oil, moving in a circular motion to form it into a coil. Stop releasing the dough when you have completed several spirals. Do not fill the surface of the oil, or the temperature will drop, and the dough will absorb the oil. Watch the dough carefully; it will turn golden in just 1 minute. Using a wide skimmer or slotted spatula, transfer the coil to paper towels to drain. Proceed with the rest of the dough, in the same manner, repacking the churrera as needed.
3. Using kitchen scissors, cut the coils into 6-inch long segments. Sprinkle with the sugar and serve immediately.
- Serving Size: 3 Churros
- Calories: 154
- Sugar: 5 g
- Sodium: 228 g
- Fat: 6 g
- Saturated Fat: 1 g
- Unsaturated Fat: 5 g
- Trans Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 22 g
- Fiber: 1 g
- Protein: 2 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg