I know for many of us there are certain recipes we will only prepare during special times of the year. Whether it’s because it’s for a certain season or holiday, or simply because the thought of it seems a little overwhelming. Two of these recipes, for me, are churros and champurrado. Many times we use recipes that call for these huge amounts of ingredients, when we really just need a smaller batch. After a few mix-ups, I think I am happy with this much quicker version of champurrado and smaller batch of cinnamon churros. I enjoy preparing these for brunch or even for family movie night during these cooler months.
Yields up to 6 servings
For the Churros (about a dozen):
3/4 cup water
6 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 inch piece of cinnamon stick
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 full teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Oil for frying
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
A large piping bag and a large star tip for the bag (check your local craft or kitchen store for these larger star tips).
For a Quick Champurrado (in the Blender):
4 cups milk
2 cups water
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons of Mexican ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons masa harina
1 disc of Mexican chocolate (about 3 ounces)
1 star anise
Tip: If you can, try grinding your own Mexican cinnamon for this recipe. The flavors are amazing compared to store-bought!
1. For the Churros: In a saucepan, add the water, butter, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon stick. Heat to medium and cook for 3 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick. To the hot liquid, add the flour, cinnamon and baking powder all at once. Stir with wooden spoon until dough forms and cook for another 30 to 40 seconds to toast the flour slightly. Remove from heat and let cool for 10-12 minutes. By hand, or using a mixer, add in the eggs and vanilla until well incorporated. Add batter to piping bag fitted with a large star tip. Set aside.
2. In a 10-inch skillet, preheat 2 1/2 cups of vegetable or canola oil to 350ºF. It’s important to not go higher than 350 degrees, or your churros will not cook all the way through. When ready, twist the end of piping bag filled with batter to push batter down and out. Pipe a 5-inch section of batter carefully into the hot oil. Use a small knife to cut off the sections. Cook 4 to 5 churros at once. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, turning as needed. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels for a few seconds, then to a baking sheet that is reserved in a low temperature oven (200 degrees). Once churros are all cooked, mix the reserved sugar and cinnamon in a bowl, dredge churros through until evenly coated. Serve with champurrado, hot chocolate or some warm dulce de leche caramel. Yields 12 churros.
3. For the Champurrado: Add all of your ingredients to the blender, minus the chocolate and star anise. Place the chocolate disc on a plate and warm in the microwave, less than a minute, just to soften. Add chocolate to the blender. Blend on high until smooth. Transfer to a saucepan and heat to medium. Add the star anise and continue cooking for 20 to 25 minutes or until the champurrado becomes thick. Yields up to 6 servings.