Chocolateria San Gines is hidden away on a very small street near the Opera metro stop in Madrid, Spain. It’s not easy to see from the main street, since the entrance is actually tucked around a corner, but fortunately there is a bright neon sign mounted on the wall so that passersby will know where they’re going, even if they can’t see the sign above the door. And I’d wager that most passersby do stop in. Chocolateria San Gines is famous for their churros con chocolate and they are hard to resist!
When we arrived – deciding to have dessert before dinner because the shop is conveniently open almost 24 hours a day – we waited in a very small line behind a couple of people and grabbed a table within 5 minutes. Our waiter didn’t need to ask us what we wanted and just brought over two mugs of chocolate and a big plate of churros. We sprinkled them with a bit of confectioners’ sugar from a communal shaker at a neighboring table. It was love at first bite.
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.