In Madrid, there is one dessert place that is a must-visit destination. That is Chocolateria San Gines. This chocolate shop has one specialty and that is Churros con Chocolate. The chocolate is thick, rich and pudding-like, and the churros are light and crisp. The combination is pretty much the only thing on the menu and the waiters tend to assume that this is what you want when you walk in (a good thing when you don’t speak all that much Spanish). The shop is open almost 24 hours a day, serving up this specialty as a snack, as breakfast and as dessert.
On my recent trip to Spain, of course I made it a point to stop in and I wasn’t let down. But I also wanted to be able to recreate this delicious snack at home when I got back. Fortunately, it turns out that the recipe for their Churros con Chocolate is available on the Food Network website!
The churros are unusually light because they start out with a dough that is very similar to the choux pastry used for cream puffs. This makes them very crisp on the outside and very tender, as well as very slightly eggy, on the inside. Although they are deep fried and it does take the oil a while to heat up, the recipe is pretty easy to mix up and make, but expect to spend some time over the stove because the churros will have to be fried in batches.
The chocolate sauce is somewhere between hot chocolate and chocolate pudding, with a consistency that is just the right thickness to drip the churros into, but still liquidy enough that you can drink the leftovers when you’re done. The sauce can be mixed up while you’re frying churros and reheats well. I recommend pouring it into small mugs or other individual cups so everyone has their own dipping (and drinking) container to work with.
You’ll probably notice that my churros, unlike the churros that you find at the ball park, are not completely straight. This is because these churros start to curl slightly as soon as they hit the hot oil, largely because it is not a heavy batter. Don’t worry about this. Not every one I had in Spain was perfectly straight either and I promise that they’ll taste just as good whether they come out straight as an arrow or curvy as an “s” – especially if you make the chocolate sauce to go along with it.
Churros con Chocolate
from Chocolateria San Gines
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup all purpose flour
3 large eggs
vegetable oil, for frying
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 cups milk (any kind)
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate (chocolate chips)
1/4 cup sugar
In a medium saucepan, combine butter and water and bring to a boil. When mixture is boiling, add in flour all at once and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together. Continue to stir and cook the dough for about 1 minute. Transfer to a large mixing bowl or to the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Turn the mixer on medium-high. Beat in the eggs one at a time, waiting until each has been well incorporated before adding the next. Batter may look wet before it comes together, but keep mixing and a smooth dough will form.
Transfer dough to a pastry bag fitted with a medium or large star tip.
Pour about 2-inches of oil into a deep saucepan. Bring the oil to about 365F.
Meanwhile, prepare the chocolate sauce.
Whisk together the cornstarch and milk. Add mixture, along with chocolate and sugar, to a small saucepan. Bring just to boil, whisking occasionally, and cook until sauce has thickened. Remove from heat.
Pipe 5 to 6-inch pieces of churro dough into the hot oil and cook until golden brown, then flip and cook until golden on the second side (about 5-6 minutes total). Remove from oil and set on some paper towels to drain, then dust with confectioners’ sugar.
Serve churros with small cups of chocolate sauce.
Makes about 20 churros.