Welcome to Madrid – if you are arriving early morning when your hotel room isn’t yet ready, just head out on to the street – follow your nose to the smell of rich chocolate in any direction for the National Breakfast of Spain. Churros Con Chocolate!
Churros are sweet, slim deep-fried dough treats sugared sometimes with cinnamon, but then wickly dunked into thick hot chocolate. The star shaped ridges are smart as it traps even more of the sweet sugar and chocolate. Churros are sold by street vendors, who may fry them fresh at his street stand and sell them hot or at a local café. You will know the right spot, when you see a waiting line.
History is divided on how exactly churros came to exist. Some say they were the invention of nomadic Spanish shepherds hundreds of years ago. Living high in the mountains, the shepherds supposedly created churros, which were easy for them to cook in frying pans over fire. Lending credibility to this version of history is the fact that there exists a breed of sheep called the “Navajo-Churro”, which are descended from the “Churra” sheep of the Iberian Peninsula; the ridged horns of these sheep look similar to the fried pastry.
It was Spanish the conquistadors who introduced churros to the Americas in the 1500’s. But wisely, they brought back cacao and the Aztec drink which then created a marriage made in heaven.
Since then, the modern day churro has undergone various reincarnations including guava-filled churros in Cuba, Dulce de leche-filled churros in Brazil and Mexico and a cheese-filled version in Uruguay.
Straight or spiral-shaped, with or without a dusting of cinnamon and sugar, dipped in chocolate or straight out of a greasy paper bag on the street, churros, in all their creative variations they are the all-time Spanish favorite.
I love watching the golden donut spirals bubbling in oil and hand cut ready to serve. We have come a long way as I just found a recipe for churros done in an air fryer…..similar to a basic choux paste.
¼ cup butter
½ cup milk
pinch of salt
½ cup flour
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Pour in milk and add salt. Lower heat to medium and bring to a boil, continuously stirring with a wooden spoon. Quickly add flour all at once. Keep stirring until the dough comes together.
Remove from heat and let cool for 5 to 7 minutes. Mix in eggs with the wooden spoon until pastry comes together. Spoon dough into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe dough into strips straight into the air fryer basket. Air fry churros at 340 degrees F for 8 minutes.
Meanwhile combine ¼ cup sugar & ½ teaspoon cinnamon
in a small bowl and pour onto a shallow plate. Remove fried churros from air fryer and roll in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. EAT.