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Churros with Chocolate Sauce

These churros are extra special: crispy and sweet on the outside, custardy and soft on the inside, like a fried cream puff dusted in cinnamon sugar. Organic sugar is key for the coating -- it adds flavor and crunch.
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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 25 min (includes cooling time)
  • Active: 1 hr 15 min
  • Yield: about 26 churros
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Ingredients

Chocolate Sauce:

1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, preferably Ceylon

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped

Churros:

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, preferably Ceylon

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon organic raw cane sugar or granulated sugar

1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

1 cup milk

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup all-purpose flour

3 large eggs

Vegetable oil, for frying

Directions

Special equipment:
a pastry bag fitted with a large closed star tip; a deep-frying thermometer
  1. For the chocolate sauce: Scrape the vanilla seeds into a small saucepan; add the vanilla bean, cream, brown sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon and salt and cook over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved, no lumps of cocoa powder remain and the mixture is simmering, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat, discard the vanilla bean and add the chocolate, stirring to melt. Let sit until ready to serve (the sauce will thicken as it sits).
  2. For the churros: Whisk together the cinnamon and 1 cup of the organic sugar in a medium bowl; set aside.
  3. Scrape the vanilla seeds into a medium saucepan; add the vanilla bean, milk, butter, salt and remaining tablespoon organic sugar and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Remove and discard the vanilla bean, add the flour and use a wooden spoon to vigorously mix until the dough comes together, about 30 seconds. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer and let cool slightly, about 5 minutes.
  4. Fit the stand mixer with the paddle attachment and beat the mixture on medium-low speed. Add the eggs to the dough one at a time, making sure to incorporate each egg before adding the next. (The dough will look broken at first.) Continue to beat, scraping the bowl occasionally, until the dough is smooth, glossy and somewhat stretchy (pull off a small piece of dough and stretch it--it shouldn't break). Spoon the dough into a pastry bag fitted with a large closed star tip.
  5. Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Pour the oil into a large pot until it comes halfway up the sides. Fit the pot with a deep-frying thermometer and heat the oil over medium-high heat until the thermometer registers 350 degrees F. 
  6. Holding the pastry bag at an angle so the tip is a few inches above the surface of the oil, squeeze out the dough, moving the bag as you squeeze so the dough is piped in a 6-inch length into the oil (use a paring knife to cut off the dough at the tip to release it into the oil). Repeat the process to make 4 more churros. Fry the churros, turning once and adjusting the heat as needed to maintain the oil temperature, until deep golden brown on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to the lined baking sheet for a moment, then toss in the reserved cinnamon-sugar mixture. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  7. Serve the churros with the warm chocolate sauce.