Churros with Mexican Hot Chocolate

I’m still not sure where April went, but today marks the start of May, and I am all kinds of excited! The Stanley Cup playoffs started this week, which easily makes this my favorite time of year. I just love hockey, and though I’ll obviously be rooting for my Bruins, I’ll be watching every one of the games I can.

Also? We’re just a few days out from Cinco de Mayo, one of my favorite food-related holidays ever. To me, it’s the perfect excuse to eat Mexican food for the next week, no questions asked. From chips and salsa to taco, enchiladas and quesadillas, I just can’t get enough. Oh, and of course, dessert! Have you seen this fried ice cream my friend Michelle posted yesterday? I’m so intrigued!

Churros with Mexican Hot Chocolate

When I started thinking about recipes I wanted to share with you in advance of Cinco de Mayo this year, I kept coming back to churros. If you can believe it, I’ve never actually had one in my life! In fact, the only place I think I’ve ever seen them is the little food stand at BJ’s. Weird, right? As much as I love the soft pretzels from BJ’s, I didn’t want my first experience with churros to be from a cafe in a warehouse club :) So, I resolved to make my own!

I had no doubt we’d love these. I mean, what’s not to like about fried dough coated in cinnamon sugar and dipped in chocolate? It’s a no-brainer. They’re actually fairly simple to make too; the dough comes together using just a wooden spoon and a saucepan on your stovetop. To achieve the classic churro shape, you just pipe the dough into the oil with a star tip and then quickly fry to brown the churros and cook them through. The churros were so amazing warm – soft on the inside with that crispy cinnamon-sugar coating on the outside. I was in heaven – it’s one of those times I was very glad I’m completely over my fear of frying! The only downside? These churros really are best shortly after frying so don’t let them sit around too long before you dig in.

Churros with Mexican Hot Chocolate

I’m so glad to have crossed churros off my baking bucket list. I highly recommend trying them, but if you just can’t be convinced to fry, these churro cupcakes I made last year are a great alternative!

Churros with Mexican Hot Chocolate
barely adapted from Epicurious

{Note: if you can’t find Mexican chocolate, semisweet or bittersweet chocolate would work too.}

Cinnamon Sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Mexican Hot Chocolate
2 1/2 cups milk (low-fat is fine, I used 1%)
5 oz Mexican chocolate, coarsely chopped

Churros
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/4 cups water
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, sifted
2 large eggs
vegetable or canola oil, for frying

Whisk the sugar and cinnamon together in a wide, shallow bowl. Set aside.

To make the hot chocolate: Add the milk and chocolate to a medium saucepan. Set the pan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the milk is steaming and the chocolate is nearly melted, with just a few small bits remaining. Using an immersion blender (or if you don’t have one, transfer to a traditional blender), blend the mixture until it is foamy and emulsified. Set aside while you make the churros – you can place the pan back over low heat to warm the chocolate right before serving.

To make the churros: Combine the butter, sugar, salt, and water in a medium saucepan. Set the pan over medium heat and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently to melt the butter. When the mixture reaches a simmer, remove the pan from the heat and add the flour. Using a wooden spoon, vigorously stir until the flour is completely incorporated – the mixture will be quite thick. Place the pan back over the heat and cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly, until the dough is very smooth and sticky. Take the pan off the heat again and cover with a lid. Set aside for 15 minutes. Then, add the eggs, one at a time, using the wooden spoon to stir until fully incorporated before adding the next. Transfer the dough to a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip.

Add enough oil to a large Dutch oven to come to a depth of about 2 inches. Heat until the oil registers 375 F on a candy thermometer. When the oil is ready, hold the pastry bag just barely above the oil and pipe 4-inch ribbons of dough directly into the oil. Use scissors or a small paring knife to cut the batter. Don’t overcrowd the pan, add just a few at a time. Fry for about 2 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through – flip the churros a few times to brown them evenly on all sides. Remove with a spider strainer and transfer to a baking sheet lined with a few layers of paper towels to drain. Return the oil to 375 F before adding a new batch of churros to the pan. Toss the churros in the cinnamon-sugar mixture to coat and serve with the hot chocolate.