Chocolate con churros – hot chocolate with churros – is a Spanish breakfast treat. Churros are a doughnut-type pastry, deep fried and eaten dipped into thick chocolate. It was Hernán Cortés, the conqueror of Mexico who sent the first shipment of cocoa to Spain in 1524, and Spanish monks adapted the Mexican drink replacing the spices with honey, sugar and milk; the recipe was guarded by the crown as a state secret for over a century.
The most famous chocolatería in Madrid is called San Ginés and is more than a hundred years old. It’s near the Puerta del Sol and the Plaza Mayor. It’s open 24 hours a day, every day of the year – and it’s almost impossible to get in at breakfast time. The first time we went there was late at night after we returned from a day trip to Segovia. Our very tired and very grumpy five-year old was soon in chocolate heaven… Since then our oldest learned to make churros from a Spanish recipe we found on the internet, although we never found an authentic San Ginés recipe.
The recipe we use underwent some changes over the years and is more elaborate than what Madrileños swear to – who insist that you need nothing more than water, flour and olive oil – but it works.
To make the dough:
1 cup water
4 oz margarine
1/4 teasp. salt
5 oz plain flour
sunflower oil for frying
- Combine the butter and the water in a saucepan and bring to boil. Add the flour and stir vigorously until the dough comes together.
- Transfer to a mixing bowl. Beat in the eggs one by one, making sure it’s well worked together to make a smooth dough. (It’s worth using an electric mixer if you have one.)
- Transfer the dough into a piping bag fixed with a star tip.
- Heat the oil (it should be at least 2 inches deep) very hot but don’t allow it to burn.
- Pipe the dough into the oil – we usually snip it into 5-6 inches long pieces – and cook until golden brown on both sides, about 5-6 minutes.
- Drain on some paper towels.
To make the hot chocolate:
4 oz dark chocolate
2 cups of whole milk
1 tablesp. cornflour
sugar to taste
- Heat the chocolate and half the milk in a saucepan over very low heat until the chocolate has melted.
- Mix the cornflour with the other half of the milk and add to the chocolate. Stir in the sugar.
- Continue to cook on very low heat until the chocolate has thickened (about 5 minutes).
When serving, you might want to sprinkle the churros with icing sugar or cinnamon. Enjoy!