Mini Churros with 3 Dippers: a Nod to Theme Parks in Honor of Jurassic Park 3D

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I feel similarly about 3D movies as I do about TLC shows about freak people. It used to be fun and exciting (Avatar! Primordial dwarves!), but now it’s all played out and the field is just too convoluted. Harold and Kumar 3D? Extreme couponers? No, thank you.

I mean, don’t get me wrong- I’ll play along, for the most part. I recently donned the 3D glasses for over two hours through Oz the Great and the Powerful with no real complaints (other than James Franco’s furrowed brow, “this is my serious role” face.) (Also, I wore my real glasses to the theater, so then I had to stretch the 3D glasses OVER my real glasses and I was looking through two sets of frames the whole time, like WTF?)

Okay, so I have some complaints. But the point is I did it, just as I will voluntarily watch a day-long marathon of Long Island Medium on a Sunday, because what choice do I have? This is the world we live in. We just have to accept it and move on because the alternative (a world without TLC freak shows) is too scary to grasp. And, every now and again, something will come along to remind you why you fell in love with the concept in the first place.

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This is what the Jurassic Park 3D re-release does. It reminds us that 3D can actually be cool. Like, remember that part where we have a bird’s eye shot of the velociraptor jumping through the ceiling to try and eat the little girl’s leg? That moment alone is worth the ticket price.

I should note that Jurassic Park is my second favorite movie of all time, so I may be a little biased. It is one of my first memorable cinematic experiences. Even the soundtrack makes my cry inexplicable tears of joy (damn you John Williams, you magnificent bastard.) If they had re-released in 2D and only at run down multiplexes attached to ghetto malls, I still would have gone and seen it. The 3D was just the icing on the cake. I could actually see Richard Attenborough’s dazzling British accent and feel the wind reacting to each thistle of his perfect, illustrious beard.

#celebritycrush

#celebritycrush

Above everything else, Jurassic Park 3D shows why this movie is so beloved and timeless. Sure, you have your dated technology references (“an interactive CD-ROM! Neat grandpa!”), but for a movie that was released twenty years ago it doesn’t feel old, and, more importantly, it doesn’t get old. I have seen it at least 100 times, and I still felt every bit of suspense in that theater (don’t turn the power on yet! Little Tim is still on the electric fence! ughhh you bitch). And the dinosaurs- the DINOSAURS! They were a marvel of CGI technology in their day, and they are still impressive, terrifying, and beautiful now. I mean, that first time they lay eyes on the brontosauruses (brontosauri?)- if you don’t feel during that, there is just no hope for your soul.

So whether you love the movie, don’t remember the movie, or have never seen the movie (notice I don’t say “hate the movie” because I don’t acknowledge that as a valid opinion), go rediscover it on the big screen. It does not disappoint. But now for our feature presentation…

THE FOOD:

In honor of the timeless story of a Dino Park gone awry, this latest recipe is a nod to something that is just as terrifying and amazing as the animatronic T-Rex himself: theme park food. Foods that, in a normal setting where you exhibited the slightest hint of self-awareness, would leave you melted into a puddle of disgust and shame. But this is not a normal setting. This is a place where human beings are reduced to mere transportation vessels for fanny packs, and people dressing up as furry animals is considered endearing instead of horrifying and humiliating. All bets are off here.

Surely you know the starting lineup: Foot-long corn dogs. Rubbery human head-sized turkey legs. Cotton candy. And everyone’s favorite, the funnel cake. Today I wanted to step outside the box, however, and pay tribute to an unsung hero of the amusement park world: the churro. You’ve seen them. Those sad, stale-looking fried cinnamon sticks that have been sitting under that heat lamp since the Clinton administration. You’ve seen them, and you’ve passed right by them, as any rational human would.

I am not a rational human. I love the crap out of churros. I will pass by that heat lamp, see the nasty old churros and think “I have to eat that.” And I will. And it will be stale. I don’t even care. You see, I love churros not for what they are, but for the promise of all that they could and should be. (Author’s note: this is a mildly acceptable type of love between person and food, and a completely unacceptable type of love between person and person.)

Let’s think about it though: an authentic churro is really just fried dough coated in cinnamon sugar. How could that be bad? Why can’t we as Americans get the churro right?

That’s why I set out to make my own. The cool part of this blog is that it is pushing me both creatively and out of my comfort zone culinarily. Desserts are totally not in my comfort zone, but I imagined what I wanted this recipe to look and taste like and spent a good part of the weekend nailing down one that I was truly happy with.

Many of the recipes I found online were too dense and doughy for my taste, so I tweaked them. I added a touch of baking powder to make them a bit lighter and fluffier, some almond extract for added flavor, and cut down their size- I feel these smaller, skinnier churros are far easier and more practical to eat and create the perfect consistency of a crunchy exterior, and a soft, light interior. And, in this case, the “3D” stands for 3 dipping sauces. You can make all of them, one of them, none of them, it won’t hurt my feelings one way or another. I definitely recommend you at least make the chocolate sauce, however. It is a classic combination with churros and is SUPER easy. In fact, this whole dish is super easy. Here’s how you do it…

First, make the dough by dissolving sugar in butter, milk, and water, and adding flour to it. (There are other ingredients in here but you can read the full recipe for the deets.)

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Now transfer it into a piping bag fitted with a star tip…

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And squeeze it out directly into oil heated to 375 degrees. Use a paring knife or kitchen scissors to cut the dough. (Note: make sure the tip of the dough is touching the oil before you cut it, otherwise it could splash back and burn you.)

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Fry them until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes.

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Then roll them in cinnamon sugar…

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And you’re done! See? Easy. And so delicious. If you think you don’t like churros, try these guys out and reevaluate all of your opinions and beliefs about life. Serve with dipping sauces, if desired.

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Mini Churros with Three Dipping Sauces

Makes: 30-35 churros

Ingredients:

For Churros

½ cup water

½ cup whole milk

2 tbsp butter

1 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar

1 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ tsp almond extract (optional)

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 tbsp ground cinnamon

3 quarts vegetable oil, for frying

For Chipotle Chocolate Sauce

½ (11.5 oz.) bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

¼ cup heavy cream

¼ tsp chipotle powder

For Bourbon Caramel Vanilla Sauce

(adapted from Martha Stewart’s recipe)

1 cup sugar

¼ cup water

1 cup heavy cream

2 tbsp butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

¼ tsp salt

1 tbsp bourbon

For Raspberry Sauce

1 (6 oz.) package raspberries

¼ cup water

¼ cup sugar

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp flour

1/8 tsp salt

Directions:

For Churros

Begin by heating the oil in a large dutch oven or saucepan. You want the temperature of the oil to be around 375 degrees, so use a candy thermometer for the best results.

While the oil is heating, make the dough. In a separate saucepan over medium heat, add butter, water, milk, 2 tablespoons of sugar, baking powder, salt, vanilla and almond extract. Stir until butter melts and sugar dissolves, then add flour. Stir until it pulls together into a dough. (Note: if it looks too loose, add a little more flour. It should be a rather firm dough.)

Once dough has come together, transfer it to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip. (You can also use a Ziploc bag with the corner cut off, but you will not get the ridges if you do this.)

Squeeze the dough directly from the pastry bag into the frying oil, using a knife to cut the dough into two inch pieces. Work in batches of 6 to 8 at a time so as not to crowd the pan.

Once they are golden brown (about 3 to 4 minutes), pull them out of the oil and put them directly into a mixture of the remaining 1 cup of sugar and 2 tbsp cinnamon. Serve immediately.

For Chipotle Chocolate Sauce

Microwave the chocolate in a bowl for 30 seconds and stir until it has all melted. Add heavy cream and chipotle powder, stir to combine.

For Bourbon Caramel Vanilla Sauce

Heat sugar and water over medium-low heat in a saucepan, stirring frequently until it turns light amber in color, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and add cream and butter (it will bubble up intensely). Add salt, vanilla, and bourbon; stir to combine.

For Raspberry Sauce

Heat raspberries, water, salt and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat until raspberries have broken down completely, about 7 minutes. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer to get rid of the seeds.

Rinse out the saucepan and return it to the stove. Add butter and flour and stir constantly for one minute to make a roux. Add the strained raspberry sauce and stir until thickened.

2 Comments

  1. I love Jurassic park, and agree if you dont love it then there is no hope for you soul. Even though I’m a ginger and technically am told I have no soul, your insight would say I do since I love Jurassic Park, so yay me! Anyways these mini churros look kick ass and are calling my name, cant wait to try them out. Happy to have found your blog.

  2. Mini Churros with a Trio of Dipping Sauces

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