Long known in Spain and Portugal - some sources say they, in fact, are an adapted version of a Chinese savoury fritter - and adopted as an all time favourite in Mexico and Latin America, churros are a great example of a dish discovered and loved in childhood that gets stored as part of our edible memories becoming the comfort food you rejoice in as an adult.
It also happens to be the best accompaniment for hot chocolate. Crispy and sweet on the outside with a soft and tender centre, made straight in front of your eyes, and served piping hot, they are the go to nibble on chilly mornings, afternoons at the park or a late night snack.
They are made of a simple dough that once cooked transforms and delights with i'ts different textures; being fried and then doused in sugar or stuffed with jam or dulce de leche makes them a treat more than an everyday kinda thing but making them at home means you know exactly what's going in them and that you're using the best ingredients you can afford.
As I mentioned before they are delicious by themselves just dusted in sugar (and powdered cinnamon if you wish), but they are even better eaten along a cup of hot chocolate or stuffed with chocolate ganache, dulce de leche or your favourite jam.
Lastly, If you're planning to do a trip to Mexico City let me tell you that this place is the Mecca for churros y chocolate. A must visit, where you can see the whole process and enjoy their various versions of hot chocolate.
This recipe comes via Janet from Jauja Cocina Mexicana, a youtube channel with authentic Mexican recipes, beautifully and simply explained to help you achieve the best tasting Mex food at home. Check it out!
You'll need a piping bag fitted with a big star shaped tip and a deep frying pan.
Serves 6-8 for a snack
2 cups all purpose flour
3 cups water
1 cinnamon stick, about 5 cm long
2 tbsp demerara sugar
1 tsp fine salt
1 tsp vanilla essence
Oil to fry
Extra sugar and cinnamon powder to dust over
In a medium pot bring water and cinnamon stick to a boil, let it boil for 5 minutes and infuse for another 5 to get all the flavour out of the spice. Take the stick out and measure 2 cups of cinnamon water. Put it back in the pot, add sugar, salt and vanilla and bring to the boil again till the butter melts completely. Add vanilla essence, take off the heat and add the flour all at once, mixing vigorously with a wooden spoon until the dough doesn't stick to the pan and comes together.
Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment and mix at slow speed to cool down just enough so the eggs don't cook as you pour them in.
Incorporate eggs one by one and mix until the dough is shiny and smooth. You can do this by hand as well using the same wooden spoon, making sure to cool the dough slightly and to mix vigorously after adding each egg. Spoon the dough into a piping bag fitted with a star shaped tip; I use Wilton #2D tip .
In a medium size pan pour oil to come halfway up the sides and heat up to aprox 180C (use a thermometer or simply add a bit of dough to the oil, it should start bubbling straight away).
Pipe churros straight in the oil starting on one side of the pan carefully squeezing the bag as you move it across to make 15 cm sticks (if you're not comfortable doing this over hot oil you can pipe the churros in a lined tray first and then add them carefully to the pan). Fry until they turn golden on all sides, flipping if necessary. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to absorb excess oil and toss in sugar (or sugar-cinnamon) mix while still hot. Serve warm with hot cocoa, chocolate ganache or fill with the aid of a piping bag fitted with a small tip, with the filling of your choice.