So, what do Miamians, specifically Cubans and other Latin locals do when it's cold, other than panic and plug in their space heaters??? They have hot chocolate and churros! A divine combination! I know all of you know what hot chocolate is, but for those of you that do not know what a churro is, here's a little info on them from Wikipedia.
- A churro is a fried-dough pastry snack which originated in Spain, and is popular in Latin America, France, Portugal, the USA, and Spanish-speaking Caribbean islands. It gets it name from its shape, which resembles the horns of the Churro breed of sheep reared in the Spanish grasslands of Huarocho.
The churro is typically fried to a crunchy consistency. Its surface is ridged due to being piped from a churrera, a syringe with a star-shaped nozzle. Filled straight churros are found in Cuba, filled with guava. In Brazil, Chile, and Argentina you’ll find them filled with chocolate, vanilla cream, and dulce de leche.
Until recently, outside of Latin American street stands and eating establishments, churros could be difficult to find. They were only available at fairs, carnivals, theme parks, and sports stadiums. However, with the increased popularity of Latin American food, today there are a growing number of franchise restaurants that sell fresh churros, both traditional and filled.
With the cold day we were having yesterday and weather reports warning that we were going to have temperatures in the 30's, I stopped by the supermarket on the way home to get the ingredients I needed to make some hot chocolate. I got this recipe from http://canelaycomino.blogspot.com/ one of my many favorite cooking blogs! The recipe sounded wonderful, here it is with a few of my little changes. It's the beginning of the year and healthy eating, so I had to cut some calories, thus my little changes in italics, oh and I also halved the recipe because although it would be an incredible sugar rush, I don't think my husband and I could drink 6 cups of hot chocolate.
- Chocolate Caliente Tres Leches /3 Milk Peruvian Drinking Chocolate
2 cups of water
2 cinnamon sticks
100 grams of chocolate*, chopped
1/2 cup of cocoa powder
4 cups of milk (I used Fat Free)
1 3/4 cup of evaporated milk
1 cup of sweetened condensed milk (I used Fat Free)
1 tablespoon of cornstarch
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract (and a few pinches of nutmeg)
1 tablespoon of salted butter
1. Bring water and cinnamon sticks to a boil over a high flame. Boil for 15 minutes. remove the cinnamon sticks and add the 3 milks (fresh, evaporated, condensed). Stir to combine and allow to boil for 2 more minutes.
2. In a small bowl, combine chopped chocolate and cocoa powder. Remove one cup of milk mixture to the small bowl with the chocolates and stir to dissolve chocolate and cocoa powder. Return the chocolate mixture to the pot of milks. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes.
3. Dissolve the cornstarch in 1/4 cup of water (I did this in the same bowl I had made the chocolate mixture) and add to the milk mixture; stirring continuously. Add the vanilla extract and the butter. Stir and cook over low heat for 2 more minutes. Remove from the heat and serve hot. (Here in Peru, this is served with Panettone bread for Christmas and New Years)
Makes enough for 6 medium mugs. Recipe from Nuestros Grandes Chefs: Teresa Izquierdo.
* This is sold in bars for making hot chocolate. You may find the same thing in an ethnic food store or section of a store. If you cannot find the bar, choose a high quality chocolate.
The hot chocolate was absolutely FABULOUS! We didn't have churros to go along with it, but that didn't matter, the hot chocolate can hold it's own! If you have the time, forget instant hot chocolate and make this recipe, for you will be thanking your lucky stars you did!