A romantic idea: Churros con Chocolate

It’s the ultimate recipe for romance: churros – a sweet, donut-like pastry that is fried until golden brown and crispy – served with thick, sexy chocolate.

Although the churro’s origins aren’t exactly clear, the treat is a traditional Spanish offering that is found its way to Mexico, South America and the Caribbean with the conquistadores’ arrival. As for chocolate, its history begins with the indigenous Indians of Mexico, who mixed fermented and roasted cacao beans as a sacred offering to their gods all before the Spanish learned about the treasured beans which they used to make their signature hot chocolate.

There really is nothing better than perfectly sweet churros and luscious chocolate and whether you make them for your love as a snack or dessert, churros con chocolate are the perfect indulgence for Valentine’s Day. For advice on making the perfect churros, we went straight to Aran Goyoaga, a fantastic blogger and cookbook author (her newest book comes out later this year!) whose pregnancy cravings for something sweet lead her to perfect her churros con chocolate recipe over at Cannelle et Vanille. It turns out that the perfect churro is just within reach with just a few simple tips: use a high heat cooking oil like canola or peanut oil, keep the heat at 350F throughout the cooking process and don’t over crowd the pan with churros. Serve the churros alongside Aran’s spiced chocolate bisque for dipping, a fun modern take on the traditional chocolate which your Valentine’s sweetie sure to love.

Churros

125 ml water
125ml whole milk
110 grams butter
pinch salt
large pinch sugar
150 grams flour
3 eggs

Canola oil for frying

Cinnamon sugar for coating

Place the water, milk, butter, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring this to a boil. Add the flour all at once and stir with a wooden spoon until it comes together into a smooth ball.

Transfer this mass to the bowl of an electric mixer (or can do it by hand) and start mixing with a paddle attachment. When most of the steam has evaporated, add the eggs one at a time. Mix until it comes together to a smooth thick mass.

Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a star tip (#5).

In a wide pan that has tall sides, pour about 3” deep of canola oil. Heat it to 350F. When it reaches the temperature, pipe the batter into the oil and cut with scissors. Fry them until golden brown. Remove the churros from the oil and roll them in cinnamon sugar. Serve immediately.

Spiced Chocolate Bisque

500 ml heavy cream
200 ml whole milk
100 grams sugar
1 vanilla bean, split
1 star anise
1 stick of cinnamon
Zest of 1 orange
3 slices of fresh ginger
5 grams cocoa powder
3 grams instant coffee powder
6 egg yolks
135 grams dark chocolate, chopped

In a medium saucepan, heat the cream, milk, sugar, vanilla bean, star anise, cinnamon, orange zest and fresh ginger. Bring it to a boil. Turn the heat off and let it steep for about 10 minutes. Return the mixture to a boil and add the cocoa powder and instant coffee powder. Whisk well.

Place the egg yolks in a large bowl and temper the milk mixture into them while whisking. Return this mixture to the sauce pan and cook for a couple of minutes while constantly stirring until lightly thickens.

Place the finely chopped chocolate in a large bowl. Place a fine sieve over the bowl and pour the custard over the chocolate. Mix until all the chocolate is melted and you have a smooth cream.

Can be served warm, room temperature or cold. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. It will thicken when it cools.

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