So here it is—Valentine's day, V-day, Red/Pink everything day, Hallmark day or whatever nomenclature you prefer to roll with, this one day has spellbound the hearts of millions into beating faster, softer and racier for a brief moment in time. I remember my high school days when the pressure was ON to hand out Valentines, and I did, and needless to say not every arrow hit the bulls eye, but my fight was real.
Looking back, it all feels silly and childish, but what else were we ?! Curious little nutjobs trying to sneak out of school and go to the movies with a special someone and buy them popcorn and ice cream floats.
I don't usually partake in the holiday/event but this year I just had to share out my favorite dessert of all time, in the hopes of keeping the Valentine's day fire on. The Mexican Churro with Cinnamon Cardamom Sugar and Dark Chocolate dip sauce, with a fragrant spin with Cardamom and Star Anise in the mix— familiar with a heady hint of exotic! I also used cake flour instead of regular flour, and I believe that adds an extra layer of crunch/soft to the Churro.
Churros are SO EASY to make guys! If you're a gent/dude/guy looking to strike with the ace of hearts today, this recipe is for you! Ladies will be blown away with the gooey deliciousness, and the nuanced textures and tastes, all of which is bound to translate into some serious brownie points for you. Take my word for it but before that, let me demonstrate.
The Churro is basically a stick-shaped doughnut, for which the dough is simple. Water, flour sugar, oil, with a pinch of salt.
When you have the dough you pipe it out and fry it up.
Caution: Churro dough is quite 'firm' and it doesn't run or anything, so for that reason either invest in a permanent/professional piping bag or a Churro Press. Trust me you guys, I went to hell and back just to make these Churros! 2 trips to the stores and lots of trial and error with the right bag (including DIY home made reinforced plastic bag. Yeah!) I hope you can learn from my tryst with piping bag destiny.
A quick 2 minute or so fry session and you have Churros.
Make some Cinnamon Cardamom Sugar with the addition of Star Anise
I also used Indian Cinnamon sticks as it seems to have a more floral note than American cinnamon. Regardless of what Cinnamon you use, you'll miss out on some key flavors if you're not grinding fresh Cinnamon powder.
Then you roll it all in
And let that crunchy golden-brown crisp stuff which is really soft on the inside, roll around in its very own sugar bed. Now you can really smell all those aromas of the spices playing around in your kitchen. Perfect time to take it to the next level with a sinfully dark chocolate sauce
It doesn't really get better than this! The moment I tried these, it instantly brought back a huge childlike grin to my face, much like the ones that I sported back in high school, especially when I hit bulls eye.
Just dunk and enjoy!
Churros with Cinnamon Cardamom Sugar and Dark Chocolate Dip
1/2 cup unbleached Cake flour (or all purpose flower)
1/2 cup water
2 1/2 tbsp oil + 1 1/2 – 2 cups for frying
1/2 cup sugar + 1 tbsp extra
1/2 tbsp salt
1 tbsp fresh-ground Cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp fresh-ground Cardamom powder (optional)
1/2 tsp fresh-ground Star Anise powder (optional)
Dark Chocolate Sauce
• 2 oz. Dark Chocolate (70%)
• 1 tbsp unsalted butter
• 2 tbsp Nutella
• 4 tbsp heavy cream
• 1 tbsp sugar
• 1/2 tsp ground coffee (optional)
1. In a medium-sized pot, boil the water. When water boils, add the salt, 1 tbsp sugar and oil. Stir well to combine.
2. Add the flour, turn off heat. Stir continuously and vigorously with a wooden spoon or any firm utensil, till the dough balls up and follows your spoon around in the pan (1 to 2 minutes). Set dough aside to cool. Dough should feel as firm (or even a tiny bit softer) as play dough.
3. In another small to medium-sized pot, heat up 1 1/2 to 2 cups high-heat oil (Canola, peanut etc. I used Grapeseed due to its neutral flavor). The oil should run at least 3/4 to 1 inch deep in the pan.
4. While the oil heats up. In another pan, transfer all chocolate sauce ingredients and set the pan to as low as your stove can go. Stir often to ensure even melting.
5. Grease the insides of the piping bag with some oil (with a star tip attachment) with your hand to make traveling of the dough a bit easier. Insert the dough and squeeze it all the way to the bottom.
6. When ready, start squeezing the dough out of the bag and cut off at 6 inch length, straight out of the piping bag, dropping it very carefully into the hot oil. Alternatively you could lay out the strands on parchment and transfer them into the oil. Do not overcrowd pan.
7. Fry for 2 to 3 minutes turning them every minute. If it takes longer than 2 to 3 minutes your oil isn't hot enough. (You can also check by inserting the back end of a wooden spoon into the oil, if it bubbles steadily, oil is ready.)
8. Transfer Churros to a dish lined with paper towel.
9. In a spice mixer, add Cinnamon bark, 8 Cardamom pods (seeded) and 1 Star Anise and blend to fine powder. Transfer to a wide dish and add 1/2 cup sugar. Coming well and mix.
10. Toss the Churros into the sugar cinnamon mix while warm.
11. Stir chocolate sauce well and transfer into dipping cup. Serve, dunk and enjoy!