Churros are proof, if you ever needed it, that Pretzels are best served hot!
Most of us have done this: you spot Mr Pretzel man with his red uniform 50 yards away, standing like an awkwardly enticing Butler (because Butler’s aren’t generally enticing), holding a silver platter filled with freshly baked warm Pretzels tossed in cinnamon sugar and roughly chopped into pieces. And like a Magpie, you swoop in to take the biggest piece of bread you can find, scooping up as much sugary dust as you can. I love their warm fluffy texture and the gritty sweet feel of the sugar and cinnamon against my teeth. But at £4 a piece, I knew I had to find a cheaper snack which gave me the same satisfaction.
So in walks Ms Churros – a Spanish ‘pretzel stick’ if you will, which is popular on the streets of Latin America, France and Portugal, and has finally made its way across the English Channel to the cobbled streets of London. Unlike Pretzels, which tend to be a lot bigger and denser, Churros are a lot crisper and lighter. They are also noticeably spirally twisted in shape, kind of like the horn of a unicorn, making it all the more easier to dip into the dark bitter chocolate sauce it is traditionally served with.
Churros are fried at a very high temperature until golden and crisp on the outside. The surface of a churro is ridged due to having been piped from a churrera, a syringe with a star-shaped nozzle. The curly umbrella hook shape of the Churro is a result of the free-style way in which the dough hits the hot oil when frying so now the pressure is off to create the perfect Churro stick!
The silky, fudge like chocolate sauce I made works perfectly with this snack: Green and Blacks has a wide selection dark chocolate flavours which is what I used for this simple sauce. You will have perfect bitter-sweet dipping fudge chocolate in seconds!
Churros with Chocolate Ginger Sauce
For the Churros
1 cup water
1 tbsp Bob Red Mill’s Masa Harina (Corn Flour not starch) – optional
1 cup of Plain Flour
1/2 cup unsalted butter (soft)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp Vanilla Essence
1/2 tsp almond essence
1 tbsp Light Brown Sugar
Canola Oil (fry)
For the Coating
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon powder
For the Chocolate Ginger Sauce
100g Dark Chocolate
1-2 cubes of crystalized ginger
1 cup Double Cream
For the Churro
1. In a deep pot combine water, butter until completely melted over a medium to low heat
2. Add the flour and corn flour stirring continuously. Keep stirring over the heat until the mixture thickens and clumps together into a smooth ‘ball’ .
3. Remove from the heat and briskly stir in the eggs one at a time.
4.Add the vanilla, almond and sugar and mix well
5. Transfer mix to a piping bag with a star shaped nozzle or the ‘churrera’ mentioned above on the smallest nozzle.
5. Heat the oil to 182°C (359.6 degrees Fahrenheit). Pipe churros batter straight into the hot oil. Use your fingers or a knife to break off the batter to the desired length. Once the churros are browned lift out and put onto a plate covered with some paper towel to drain.
6. Roll the churros through the cinnamon sugar in a separate tray.
The Chocolate Ginger Sauce
1. Break the chocolate into small cubes and place in a glass jug or bowl with the cubes of ginger.
2. In a saucepan, warm the cream (not to boiling point), then pour half of the cream into the glass bowl with the chocolate and stir. Then slowly add the remaining cream into the bowl and stir well.
3. Remove the ginger cubes when you have the desired intensity of the ginger in the sauce before serving.