The launch of Dunkin’ Donuts in Cape Town today has got me thinking about doughnuts…
It’s no secret to everyone who knows me: I like a good churro. No, not like. I love a good churro. I would walk a thousand miles for a good churro.
Let’s get this out of the way first: What is a churro? Quite simply, it’s a Spanish doughnut, dusted with cinnamon sugar and typically served with a little pot of melted chocolate (for dipping). If this is the first time you’re hearing about these little sweet snacks of delight, boy oh boy have you been missing out.
I have a rule: Any and every place I visit, if churros are on the menu, they will be mine. As you can imagine, this had led to my fair share of sampling. And I don’t want to say that I’m a churro snob, but I know what I like and what I don’t like.
What I like: Warm, crispy exterior that cracks under the weight of your teeth; chewy, dense interior; slightly more golden than your typical doughnut; equal parts cinnamon and sugar coated generously around every inch of the churro.
With all this in mind, I took my obsession one step further and made sure that I could whip up a batch whenever the craving called, midnight or 6 am, by perfecting my own recipe. I tried and tested a few and quickly learnt that the secret weapon to getting the right dough consistency (you want a thick, sticky dough that can hold its own shape), is melted butter. Yup, melted butter. Don’t ever make them without using melted butter.
So, without further ado, this is my fail-safe, midnight snacking, craving busting, churros recipe…
• 60g butter, melted
• 1 tsp vanilla essence
• 250g flour
• 1 tsp baking powder
• Pinch of salt
• Oil, for deep-frying
• Cinnamon-sugar mixture, for dusting, spread out on a plate
1. Pour 350 ml boiling water into a bowl. Add the melted butter and vanilla essence.
2. Sift the flour and baking powder into a big mixing bowl, and add a big pinch of salt.
3. Make a well in the centre, then pour in the butter-vanilla mixture. Vigorously beat with a wooden spoon until you have a smooth, lump-free dough. Let it rest for 10-15 minutes while you make a chocolate sauce.
4. Heat your oil in a deep pot. Spoon the dough into a piping bag fitted with a star-tip nozzle. Holding the piping bag above the oil, squeeze out batter, snipping off 10 cm lengths with kitchen scissors. Fry, flipping once, until deep golden brown all over. Fish them out with a slotted spoon and put them on some paper towel – but only briefly, as you want to move them over to a cinnamon-sugar bath while they are still warm.
5. Serve with your chocolate sauce and wait for the explosions of yum in your mouth.