Like a less wholesome version of Sesame Street, this post is brought to you by the colour brown. Why brown? Because brown is the hue of tastiness. See also: gravy, Jack Daniels, crispy chicken skin, 10 year Scotch and the thin bits on croissants. I seem to have mash liquor on that list twice; oh well, nevermind. I made a whole slew of delicious things with the intention of photographing and writing about them, and belatedly realised they all happened to be a very similar shade of brown and thus were going to be bloody hard to make look desirable and visually appealing. Rather than attempting to solve this [admittedly not huge] problem, I’m just going to roll with it.
Churros are Spanish doughnuts which are made long and thin, and are classically served with dulce de leche or dipped in thickened hot chocolate. At breakfast time. There’s nothing objectionable about any of those concepts, but caramelised white chocolate ganache is definitely worth a try. It is especially worthwhile if, like me, you are one of the generation of New Zealanders who lived in the halcyon days of Cadbury Caramilk bars, and were then dealt the crushing blow of having them suddenly and cruelly taken away from us. Oh, what is life? This event clearly had an untoward effect on me, but it turns out that the mysterious and lovely Caramilk bar is just white chocolate that’s been in the oven, and you can do it with minimal effort at home. I also made a little dukkah-esque mixture of sweet toasted nuts with cinnamon, vanilla and fancy shredded coconut, because I thought it would be tasty. And it WAS.
Caramelised White Chocolate Ganache
- 150g white chocolate (go for the highest % of cocoa butter you can find)
- 75ml Cream
- Preheat your oven to 120°C.
- Chop up the white chocolate into small pieces and spread it onto an oven dish with sides. I used my Pyrex pie dish.
- Cook the white chocolate in the oven, taking it out to give it a stir every 10 minutes or so. It will start to look weird, like it has gone grainy and kind of ‘ruined’ looking. Just ignore this.
- When the chocolate has a gone a nice brown colour, take it out of the oven and stir it rapidly with a spatula. I transferred it to a large bowl to do this. It will stop looking grainy and ruined and go smooth again, like regualr melted chocolate, except now it’s caramelised!
- Spread the chocolate out on a tray or dish lined with baking paper to go hard again.
- Weigh out a portion of the chocolate to make into ganache. This recipe calls for a 2:1 ratio of chocolate grams to cream millilitres, to make it extra thick. I made 150g of chocolate worth of ganache, so I used 75ml of cream.
- Chop the chocolate and put it into a bowl.
- Heat the cream in a saucepan until it has just come to the boil, then pour it steadily over the chopped chocolate.
- Stir the cream and chocolate mixture until it becomes smooth and velvety.
- Leave the ganache to cool and thicken a little, then you can use it as a dipping sauce.
Toasted Nut Dukkah
- 10g Sliced almonds
- 10g Hazelnuts
- 10g Macadamia nuts Use all raw, unsalted nuts
- 10g Pistachio nuts
- 10g Pecan nuts
- 10g Shred coconut
- 1 tsp Cinnamon, ground
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- 25g /1/4 C Brown sugar
- Pinch salt (to taste)
- Toast the nuts, but not the shred coconut, on a tray in the oven at 190- 200°C. Keep a close eye on them. I keep the hazelnuts off to one side so I can brush the husks off them once they’re done.
- Once the nuts are toasted, let them cool slightly then pour the vanilla over them and stir it through. The residual heat will evaporate most of the liquid off, leaving the flavour behind.
- Put the nuts into a food processor and pulse until they are chunkily chopped.
- Mix the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt into the nuts. Be careful with the salt; just add a little at a time until you think it tastes salty enough. You might not even want salt in it.
- Put the shredded coconut in the oven to toast; it won’t take long which along with not wanting to process it, is why you should do it separately.
- Mix the toasted shredded coconut through the nuts.
- 250ml / 1 C Water
- 30ml / 2 Tbsp Oil OR 30g Butter
- 30g / 2 Tbsp Sugar
- 1/8 tsp Salt
- 150g / 1 C Plain flour, sifted
- Cinnamon sugar for rolling
- Heat up your deep fryer to 190°C.
- Put the water, sugar, oil or butter, and salt into a saucepan and bring to the boil.
- Once the water is boiling, add the flour and stir quickly with a wooden spoon until you get a thick, smooth paste.
- Let the paste cool a little to the touch, then transfer it to a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle. You don’t have to use a star nozzle, but it makes the churros get yummy, crisp ridges down them.
- Get the piping bag in one hand, and a knife or pair of scissors in the other, and pipe out lengths of paste into the deep fryer, cutting them off when they are the right length.
- Once the churros are golden brown, fish them out onto a paper towel to blot away the excess oil.
- Roll the cooked churros in cinnamon sugar.