I mentioned in my Universal Studios Japan travel diary that I dragged my brothers and cousin around the them park as I shot some footage for my travel video. They were surprisingly very patient and would just stand by quietly every time I’d suddenly stop and got the shot that I wanted, which doesn’t always happen in an instant. So in exchange for their being awesome I treated them to some churros!
As if it weren’t enough that I’m dragging them all over the theme park, I even tell them to pose with their food hehe! I ended up taking one of my favourite photos from the trip. And those churros, long and sugary as they were, look pretty irresistible right?
When I saw this photo again as I was writing my travel diaries, I was reminded of the churros recipe I have been wanting to write about for a while but never quite found a good opportunity for. This is the perfect time methinks! It’s obviously nothing like the version from USJ. You can tell just from appearances. But I actually like this version for Cornmeal Churros with Chocolate Dip a lot better!
The process of making these is quite easy, and it’s similar to making choux pastry for cream puffs. You start by cooking your butter and flour together in a saucepan before adding some eggs to make some really nice and glossy batter. The batter is a little more runny than the usual churros batter (that I’ve made previously anyway) but that helps the churros stay soft and crisp even though it’s no longer warm or has been sitting at room temperature for a while.
As much as I love me some traditional chewy churros, the magic ingredient in these are cornmeal. It adds a nice grittiness, and a light sweetness too. In a way, I can describe these as a softer version of your typical chewy churros, but with some gritty bite, if that makes sense. Simply put, these are so good! Everyone in the house loved them to the last piece.
These churros will taste great without a dip, but between classic and filled churros, I always prefer plain churros with a dip if I had to choose. I paired this with a normal chocolate dip spiked with a bit of Grand Marnier, but something more flavourful like salted caramel sauce would be nice as well.
There’s just something about classic churros con tsokolate that feels so nostalgic though. It’s actually one of my goals in life to be able to eat my heart out in a Spanish churreria. Someday soon, I hope!
Cornmeal Churros with Chocolate Dip
For the churros
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
- 3 eggs
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream or half cream
- oil for frying
- cinnamon and sugar, for coating if desired
For the Quick Chocolate Sauce
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 to 2 tablespoons liqueur of choice, optional
Make the churros batter
- 1. In a small pot, combine the butter, water, and brown sugar. Melt over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
- 2. Just before the mixture begins to boil, turn the heat down to low and add in vanilla extract, salt, flour, and cornmeal. Stir until a thick paste begins to form and the mixture starts pulling away from the sides (and even bottom) of the saucepan as you stir. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
While batter is cooling, make the chocolate sauce
- 3. Place chocolate and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
- 4. In a small saucepan, heat the cream just until it starts to boil. Immediately pour over the chocolate in the bowl and let sit about a minute. Whisk until chocolate is melted and smooth, then whisk in the liqueur, if using. Transfer to a serving bowl.
Fry the churros
- 5. Once the batter is cool, add the eggs, one at a time, mixing each egg into the batter before adding the next one.
- 6. Stir in the cream. If your mixture feels too thick to pipe out of a bag, add another tablespoon of cream. (One was enough for me.) Transfer the dough into a piping bag fitted with a star tip, such as the Wilton 1M tip.
- 7. Heat 2 to 3 inches of oil in a large pot until it reaches 350°F (180°C) in a thermometer. Prepare a plate lined with paper towels and place close to where the frying will be done.
- 8. Once ready to cook, pipe the batter into the hot oil, using kitchen shears to cut off once the desired length has been piped out. Don’t overcrowd the pot.
- 9. Cook churros on each side for 30 to 45 seconds until golden. Scoop out using a slotting spoon and place on the paper-lined towel to allow excess oil to drip off. Repeat process until all the dough has been fried. Serve warm with chocolate dipping sauce.
I’m not quite a fan of plain cinnamon dusted churros unless a chocolate dip is involved, but once I figure out how to make Boston or Bavarian filled churros that are as long and big and fat as the ones from USJ… Uh-oh. If you’ve never tried churros filled with pastry cream, let me tell you, they’re the bomb! As much as I try to stay away from fried foods, I can never seem to resist a good churro.