Spanish churros with Spanish hot chocolate

The history of Spanish churros are controversial, although this simple recipe dates back to 16th century.

It is told that the nomadic Spanish shepherds found them or some say Portugese explorers brought a very similar recipe of Churros from China to Spain so the Spanish explorers brought Churros to every port of the world. By this way, it became a local favourite and many countries still claim Churros as their own.

The custom of churros con chocolate began, after the Spanish explorers brought famous Aztec chocolate to their country.

In Spain especially in Andalusia, fresh churros are sold by street vendors, cafeterias or even fine restaurants that can be eaten any time of the day dipped with hot chocolate which is a favorite Churro accompaniment.

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup flour (sifted)
  • 2 T butter
  • 1/4 t. baking powder
  • olive oil for frying

Put the oil to a large heavy bottomed frying pan. Be sure that it has enough oil that they float freely while frying.

Pre heat the oil.

In a medium sauce pan pour 1 cup of water and butter. Bring to a boil.

Once it comes to a rolling boil, stir in the flour and baking powder. Be sure that the water is boiling for the dough to have crispy churros.

Quickly mix the dough with a spatula. You can also beat the mixture with an electric mixer to get a smooth and soft dough.

Place the dough in a pastry bag and pipe the dough directly to the frying oil.

Fry the churros until golden brown and then turn the other side to have a crispiness and a beautiful golden colour.

Remove from the heat and place on a paper towel to drain for few seconds.

for hot chocolate:

  • 100 gr Spanish chocolate (Valor at least 60% )
  • 1 cup of milk (use your hot chocolate cup as a measurement)

Melt the bittersweet chocolate with bain-marie method. If you don’t have a bain-marie chocolate machine simply put water in a thick bottom pan. Inside this pan, place another pan with the couverture chocolate. Chocolate needs to be melted at a very low temperature. When the chocolate melts, pour the milk and stir well. When it comes to a boiling point, share it to the cups.

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Crack cookies with walnut dipped in chocolate

  • 3/4 cup walnut
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cacao powder
  • 200 gr butter (room temperature)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1 t. vanilla powder

Chop nuts pressing gently.

In a large bowl combine flour, cacao powder, baking soda, vanilla powder, cinnamon powder and chopped walnuts.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and stir until creamy.

Add dried ingredients  including chopped walnuts with butter mixture and mix on low speed until just incorporated.

Roll dough into walnut shaped balls and flatten balls slightly with your thumb leaving an indentation in the center.

Place the cookies into the pachment paper lined baking sheet with sufficent space between them.

Refrigerate 30 minutes.

Bake at preheated 180° C for about 15 minutes.

Cool cookies completely before transferring to a plate.

for chocolate filling:

  • 100 gr bitter chocolate

Break chocolate and place into a bowl. With bain marie method, sit over a pan of simmering water and allow the chocolate to melt.

Spoon 1 or 2 teaspoons of this filling into the center of each cookie depending on the size of your indentations taking care not to overflow the thumbprint.

Let cool at room temperature for about 3 to 4 hours.

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Home made yogurt starter with three different methods

Yogurt is a fermented milk which has Turkish roots as it is understood from its Turkish name used almost all around the world. Yogurt in Turkish means to thicken or coagulate. The nomadic Turks not only had found this milk derived nutritient fermented food, but also they were the first to evaluate yogurt’s medicinal use for a variety of illness and symptoms such as diarrhea and to alleviate the discomfort of sunburned skin.

A homemade yogurt is a fermented food that delivers the beneficial probiotics we need for our health. It contains many of the same beneficial nutrients as milk, like calcium, phosphorus, potassium, riboflavin and vitamin A. Furthermore, in its traditional form, yogurt is a nutrient dense food that is rich in high-quality protein, beneficial probiotics for cancer-fighting.

Nowadays, one should be wise to look beyond the packaging to realize most commercialized yogurts that are sold in grocery stores which contain added sugars, artificial ingredients and fillers, but has a minimum amount of probiotics, sometimes even without probiotics.

Homemade yogurt with home made starter is an excellent way of getting probiotics into your system without the unnecessary chemicals and flavourings found in commercialized yogurts. All you need is preferably a high quality of milk or else a pastorized milk but not UHT milk as it never thickens. If the milk is thick in consistency (creamy), then the yogurt starter (curd) also sets with thick consistency.

I tried 3 different methods to get a home made starter and all of them was perfect! Method:

  • 1/2 cup of whole milk
  • 1 fresh lemon juice
  • Boil the milk until it simmers once. While letting cool for a while, pour it to a glass pot. When the milk is warm enough that you can put your little finger on the bottom of the pot , pour 1 lemon juice to thelukewarm milk.

    Cover the starter curd with a tap and then cover the pot with a towel tissue. Keep it in a warm place for 12 hours to set.

    During winter it takes a little bit more time to set.

    II.nd Method:

  • 1/2 cup of whole milk
  • 2 fresh red chilies
  • Simmer the milk with the same way and when milk turns warm, transfer it to a glass pot.

    Drop the red chilies in lukewarm milk. Be sure that the stalk of the chilies are submerged in the milk. The enzymes of the red chili stalk helps the milk to convert it to yogurt.

    Close the tap and cover with towel tissue and set aside in a warm place for at least 12 hours. After set remove the red chilies from the glass pot.

    III.rd Method:

  • 1/2 cup of whole milk
  • 8 raw chickpeas
  • Simmer the milk with the same way and when milk turns warm, transfer it to a glass pot.

    Drop 8 raw chickpeas in lukewarm milk.

    Close the tap of the glass pot and cover it with a towel tissue. Put it in a warm place like oven -but unheated- for at least 12 hours to set. After set remove the chickpeas.

    After having your starter, keep it in the refrigerator as it gets thicker in the fridge. Also if you find water on top of the pot, it won’t condense but it densifies more inside the refrigerator.

    After the starters thickens, take a wooden spoon and check if they are set nicely.

    Use 2 tablespoons of home made yogurt starter for making home made yogurt. For re-culturing, use the yogurt starter within 7 days to make a new batch.

    You can find home made yogurt recipe from here.

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    Spicy cheese dip ~ Tirokafteri (τυροκαφτερή)

    Tirokafteri (τυροκαφτερη) or htipiti (χτυπητη) is a cheese spread that is commonly eaten as a meze platter or a party snack.

    A very rustic, extra simple and great for every occasion!

  • 100 gr white cheese
  • 60 gr mizitra cheese
  • 150 gr strained yogurt
  • 2 T. cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 T. wine vinegar
  • 1 fresh red hot chili pepper (seeded and finely chopped)
  • red hot pepper flakes
  • Remove the stem and seeds of red chili pepper, and chop it finely.

    Mash the white cheese. Add mitzitra and strained yogurt and mix them until the dip is smooth. It will be a bit grainy.

    Combine finely chopped hot chili pepper and red hot pepper flakes. A pinch of pepper adds a nice reddish colour to the dip. It is all in spice!

    The feta and mitzitra cheese require a lot of chillies to turn spicy as the strained yogurt neutralises the spiciness, so don’t be afraid to add more hot chili peppers if you want to.

    Make a creamy dip by adding olive oil and vinegar. Garnish with black olive.

    Serve as meze with toasted bread, toasted pita or toasted flatbread.

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    An Autumn classic ~ Mustopita ~ Μουστόπιτα

    Autumn means the smell of grape must, mustopita, which is an annual ritual dessert for our family!

    (I revamped this recipe, that was originally posted on 14/10/2011.)

    Grape is native to the Aegean region and its juice sometimes called as nectar of the gods.

    The traditional mustopita (μουστόπιτα) or mustoalevria (μυστοαλευριά) recipe has wood ash in it. When I first heard that wood ash is used while making grape paste, I was astonished. But very interestingly, wood ash set offs the taste, makes the pudding more sweet, gives a distinctive flavour. Also wood ash neutralizes the grape must’s acidity.

    This made me search the contents of a wood ash. I found out that soda and cream of tartar have a similar effect (but never the same delectable taste of a wood ash).

    It is known from the ancient times that, wood ash is rich in potassium and it is an antibacterial.

    • 1 lt freshly blended grape juice
    • 2 T fireplace wood ash (clean and pure wood ash – no paper or other materials/additions)
    • cheesecloth
    • 4 T flour
    • walnut (cut in big pieces)
    • cinnamon

    Prepare the grapes (2 kg) by removing the stems. Wash and drain. Put them in a juicer or a blender and juice the fruit. 2 kg of grapes, approximately make 1 lt of grape juice.

    Pour the grape juice in a pot.

    Place the ash in a cheesecloth. Make the cheesecloth triple folded and bring the four corners together to make a knot.

    Tie up the ash packed cheesecloth to a wooden spoon. Swing the wooden spoon into the grape juice pot and bring to boil.

    When it comes to a full boil, remove the cheesecloth and set aside. Allow to rest overnight or at least 6 hours, to cool slowly.

    Cover the sieve with a clean cheescloth and filter (strain) the grape juice.

    Cook the filtered juice by stirring constantly over low heat until it boils.

    At the same time, take 4-5 T. of grape juice in a separate bowl. Add 4 T. flour in it and beat until the flour dissolves to make a paste.

    Then combine the paste to the simmering grape juice and stir well all together occasionally.

    After about half an hour, the mixture begins to thicken. Skim off excess foam.

    Add coarsely chopped walnuts. Rinse serving cups with cold water and pour the thick mustopita into them. It will thicken more as it cools.

    Decorate with extra walnut on top. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

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