Oh, how neglected I am. Apparently I was skipped over for the "5 things" meme, and I’m so so very sad. See this tiny tear and crack in my beating heart? Ok, not really. But had I been tagged I would have told you that I don’t really have a big sweet tooth like some others I know. I appreciate desserts and confections, but they are not my weakness. Grill it, slather it in sauce, salt it, deep fry it or top it with cheese and you’ll see my food version of kryptonite, but it sure ain’t sugar.
Of course, every now and again I’ll veer of my usual path and fixate my tastebuds on a lil something sweet. I remember my first taste of salted caramel a few years back and couldn’t get enough. Right now I seem to be riding a small dulce de leche wave, but having spent a few weeks in Argentina you cannot blame me. As I mentioned in previous posts, those wacky Argentines serve it with everything, and I had to beg and plead with them to not serve it to me as I just couldn’t take one more bite! (that’s the part where I say "wink wink" and down another spoonful while talking about how I don’t really like sweet stuff, har har har.)
Thanks to current TSA regulations involving travel I wasn’t able to stock up on jars of dulce de leche as I planned. There were triple checkpoints in the airports in South America that involved the inspection of every single piece of carry-on luggage of every passenger right before you boarded the plane, and as a result there went the suntan lotion, bottled water and a few small jars of dulce de leche. It’s not a big deal when you consider safety, but a word to every single North Americans who threw a fit about it while every other South Americans stood by patiently and gracefully: shut the hell up! MY GOD! Stop acting like an idiot! YES, they are checking bags again and YES you are 1st Class passenger who has to stand in the same line with me and YES you are dumb for flying halfway around the world only to get on a ship and cruise around for 10 days without getting off the boat and interacting with other dumb Americans and would you PLEASE quit bitching about it and making THIS American look bad because they world ALREADY hates us ENOUGH JESUS H. CHRIST PLEASE SHUT THE FRIGGIN HELL UP!!!!!!
Ok, where was I? Oops. I got a bit riled up. Sorry for the Jesus reference in that manner.
Oh yes, my precious dulce de leche. I promise there’s a recipe in here. I swear.
Luckily living in such a big sprawling melting pot like Los Angeles I’m able to find almost anything, so it only took a car trip to Tito’s Market in El Monte to find a pretty good selection of Argentine dulce de leche, alfajores, cheap bottles of Malbec from Mendoza and some tasty empanadas. Locovores will surely hate me when they discover that I drove 23 miles for a jar that traveled 5,000 miles so guess what? No dessert for you!
Once home, we sat around for a few minutes before trying to decide the best way to enjoy our imported sweet stuff. I was happy with just a spoon, but that’s not really civilized, is it? Like only he can, Adam consulted a few cookbooks and before long churros magically appeared. Churros are crunchy bits of heaven that originated in Spain but are popular in Mexico for dessert and usually served with hot chocolate for dipping. Now, who doesn’t like fried dough that is dusted with sugar and cinnamon? I sense an impending disaster at Chez Armendariz now that I really know how easy they are to make and I don’t have to drive to a flea market or Disneyland to get a fix. And they really are much better made fresh. And in this case, they are only made better by dipping into dulce de leche, which is really what making churros was all about. Boy I took FOREVER to get to that point, didn’t I?
I don’t get out much.
Adapted from "Mexican" by Jane Milton. I was surprised how thick the dough was for churros, and it might take a few tries to get a perfect-looking piece. But you get to eat the mistakes, and I promise they taste just as good.
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 egg yolks
oil for deep frying
powdered sugar & cinnamon for dusting
Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl and set aside. Bring the measured water to a boil in a saucepan, add the salt and brown sugar, stirring constantly, until both have dissolved. Remove from heat, add all the flour and baking powder and beat the mixture continuously until smooth.
Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, until the mixture is smooth and glossy. Set the batter aside to cool. You can use a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle to get the perfect churro shape, or you can use a churro maker. Who knew there such things? Facinating!
Pour oil into a deep-fryer or-suitable saucepan to a depth of about 2 inches. Heat to 375"F, or until a cube of dried bread, added to the oil, floats and turns golden after I minute.
Spoon the batter into a churros maker or a piping bag. Pipe five or six 4-inch lengths of the mixture into the hot oil, using a knife to slice off each length as it emerges from the nozzle.
Fry for 3-4 minutes or until they are golden brown. Drain the churros on paper towels while cooking successive batches, then arrange on a plate and dust with sugar and cinnamon. After that dip generously until all your dulce de leche has disappeared and your teeth hurt.