I haven’t met a person who doesn’t like churros, have you? Churros are probably the simplest but the most delicious dessert, and what I like best about them that you can have them for breakfast with hot chocolate, have them for dessert, and for dinner. You can buy them with street vendors, at the organic markets and some supermarkets, and you can order them at the restaurant. They are widely popular, and I’m not surprised why.
History is divided on how exactly churros came to exist, writes Tracy López on the Huffington Post and continues: “Some say they were the invention of nomadic Spanish shepherds. Living high in the mountains with no access to bakeries, the Spanish shepherds supposedly created churros, which were easy for them to cook in frying pans over fire. Lending credibility to this version of history is the fact that there exists a breed of sheep called the “Navajo-Churro”, which are descended from the “Churra” sheep of the Iberian Peninsula; the horns of these sheep look similar to the fried pastry.
Another story says that Portuguese sailors discovered a similar food in Northern China called “You Tiao” and they brought it back with them. The Spanish learned of the new culinary treat from their neighbors, and put their own spin on it by passing the dough through a star-shaped tip which gives the churro its signature ridges.
Whether Spanish shepherds, Portuguese sailors or the Chinese get the credit for inventing the churro, it was the conquistadors who introduced them to Latin America. Since then, the modern day churro has undergone various reincarnations including guava-filled churros in Cuba, dulce de leche-filled churros in Mexico and a cheese-filled version in Uruguay.”
Straight or spiral-shaped, with or without a dusting of cinnamon and sugar, dipped in chocolate or straight out of a greasy paper bag on the street, churros, in all their creative variations, will continue to be my favorite dessert.
A Finger-Licking Churros Recipe:
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 eggs, beaten
Vegetable oil, for frying
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, optional
Chocolate for dunking:
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 cups milk
4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup sugar
Directions to make the churro dough: Combine 1 cup of water with the butter or margarine 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. Remove the dough from the heat and, while stirring constantly, gradually beat the eggs into the dough.
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 tip. Squeeze a 4- inch strip of dough into the hot oil. Repeat, frying 3 or 4 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 (in Spain churros are simply rolled in sugar.) Pour the chocolate into individual bowls or cups. Serve the warm churros with the chocolate dip.