The last few weeks have been a bit of a struggle on the inspiration front. No matter how many recipes I looked at or cookbooks I flicked through, there was nothing that sent me running to the kitchen. Add in a few days of the flu and I was in no shape to bake. But I feel the need to say “Hi, I’m baaa-aack” and what better to get me back into the groove than deep-fried sweet dough.
Oh yes, the doughnut-making urge is still as strong as ever. Churros are a kind of Spanish doughnut, usually eaten for breakfast, dunked in hot chocolate. But I think they’re delicious at any time of day. The dough is sort of similar in technique to a choux pastry (except this recipe contains no eggs) and comes together quickly in a stand mixer.
Piping the churros does require a little bit of elbow grease, and it’s important to keep a close eye on the oil temperature. I used a smaller pipping nozzle than the recipe suggested because I found the larger ones were not cooking all the way through before they browned. Covered in cinnamon sugar, eaten hot, they were absolutely delicious.
My Nanna gave us a bag full of oranges from her garden and I wanted to use them in this recipe. The chocolate was thick and rich, delicately flavoured with cinnamon, vanilla and orange peel, and an extra hit of Cointreau, but Pedro Ximénez, sherry or brandy would also be lovely too. For me, it really hit the spot, and was the perfect thing to help kick start my baking inspiration once again.
So tell me, readers, what is your favourite kind of doughnut?
Churros with Orange Spiked Hot Chocolate
Adapted from Gourmet Traveller
• 325g plain flour
• 30g caster sugar
• 60ml olive oil
• Vegetable oil, for deep frying
• Cinnamon sugar, for dusting
Orange Spiked Hot Chocolate
• 400ml pouring cream
• ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 150g dark chocolate
• 60ml Cointreau
• Rind of one orange, removed with a vegetable peeler
Combine flour, sugar and ½ teaspoon fine salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine olive oil and 450ml water in a saucepan and bring to the boil over medium-high heat. With mixer on low-medium speed, carefully add flour to mixture and mix to combine. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until very smooth (2-3 minutes).
Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a 2cm star nozzle, squeeze bag to expel any air bubbles and rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat vegetable oil in a deep-fryer or deep-sided saucepan to 180°C (350°F). Carefully pipe 15-20cm swirls into oil and cook, turning occasionally, until golden and cooked through. Drain with a slotted spoon and toss in cinnamon sugar.
Meanwhile, to make the hot chocolate, combine cream, vanilla and cinnamon just to the boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add chocolate, Cointreau and orange rind and stir over low heat until smooth (2-4 minutes). Serve warm with chocolate.