Despaa, our favorite spot for a caf bonbon (a thick, caramel-like coffee made with condensed milk) and an extravagant sandwich, has been missing one thing until recently churros, the Spanish doughnuts that Madrileos eat at the bar while playing One-Armed Bandits. Maybe in response to our threats to picket the place unless they added churros to the takeout menu, they're now serving four of them swaddled in paper for $5, or two of them with chocolate a la taza (a small cup of thick hot chocolate) for $3.50. The pre-fried, frozen Casimiro churros are also available by the box ($15) should you want to bake them at home.
If you're ambitious enough to whip them up from scratch (churrophiles, look how we take care of you), follow these instructions from 1080 Recipes, the first-ever English translation of Spain's most popular cookbook, available here in November with added recipes from Alexandra Raij of Ta Pol and Andy Nusser of Casa Mono.
175 g / 6 oz plain flour
sunflower oil, for deep frying
icing sugar, for dredging
(Makes about 25)
Pour 350 ml / 12 fl oz water into a saucepan, add a pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Tip in the flour all at once and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes away from the sides of the pan. Remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool. Heat the oil in a deep-fryer or saucepan to 180190C/350375F or until a cube of day-old bread browns in 30 seconds. Put the cooled mixture into a churrera and make the churros, cutting them to the required length with a sharp knife as the dough is pushed out, and adding them immediately to the hot oil. Alternatively, spoon the cooled mixture into a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle and pipe directly into the hot oil, cutting the churros to the required length with a sharp knife and working in batches if necessary. When the strips of fried dough are golden brown all over, remove with a slotted spoon, drain well, dredge with icing sugar and serve immediately. Note: Some people prefer to use a mixture of water and milk (more than half water, less than half milk), which makes lighter churros.