July 4th

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Vanilla Bean Churros

Cinnamon, sugar, vanilla beans and fried sweet dough. What's not to like?? If you have never tried a churro, you are truly missing out! You could call them a kind of doughnut, however they are more like a French beignet made with a very lightly sweetened choux paste. Fried and tossed with cinnamon sugar they are then dipped or eaten with rich decadent chocolate sauce or a smooth and creamy dulce de leche sauce.

Vanilla Bean Churros

1 cup water
2 1/2 tablespoons white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds removed
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 quarts oil for frying
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Combine 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon in large bowl or baking dish.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the water, 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar, salt, vanilla bean seeds and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Stir in flour all at once until mixture forms a ball. The dough will be very stiff. Continue to stir until it is smooth and has no lumps. Allow to cool for just a few minutes. Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Place large star shaped pastry tip (I used a Wilton 1M) in a pastry bag. Place dough in bag and pipe long strips onto wax paper. You can make the traditional sticks, or any shape you like. Chill piped dough in fridge while the oil is heating. Heat oil for frying in deep-fryer or deep skillet to 375 degrees. Drop chilled churros carefully into hot oil. Fry until golden; drain on paper towels. Roll drained churros in cinnamon and sugar mixture.

Dark Chocolate Sauce
4oz dark chocolate, chopped (or use chips)
¼ cup heavy cream

Mix chocolate and cream in a bowl and microwave on 50% power until melted and smooth. Do not over heat! Burned chocolate is not tasty!!

Dulce de Leche Sauce
1 can sweetened condensed milk
Kosher salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place sweetened condensed milk in oven proof dish. Sprinkle a pinch of kosher salt on top. Wrap tightly in aluminum foil. Set the dish inside a larger pan, such as a roasting pan, and add hot water until it reaches halfway up the side of the dish. Bake in the preheated oven for 2 hours. Check the water level often, adding more hot water if needed. After the milk is nicely caramelized remove from the oven and whisk gently then allow to cool.

You can use the dulce de leche as is or add a little heavy cream and warm slightly for a thinner sauce.

Store any leftovers in the fridge.

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