Must Try in BA: Hot Chocolate with Churros

(Photo by bittermelon)

Nothing screams for warm sweet hot chocolate with crunchy comforting churros like a rainy Buenos Aires day in autumn. The pair is a classic for locals seeking refuge from humid cold streets and is a must try for sightseeing visitors. But what are churros? They are crunchy fried pastries covered in sugar, sometimes filled with dulce de leche, and occasionally coated in chocolate. Try them at any of the following places:

La Giralda is an understated cafe on Corrientes Avenue that specializes in chocolate with churros. It is the place to go for this local delicacy and their hot chocolate is one of the best in town, made with top quality Fenix chocolate. Av. Corrientes 1453.

Nearby to La Giralda is El Gato Negro, often overlooked but well worth knowing not only for its traditional chocolate and churros but also for its spices and coffee varieties. Av Corrientes 1669.

Another place to go for superb “chocolate espejo” (dark hot chocolate) and churros is Cafe de Los Angelitos. Plus, the traditional cafe, popular with tourists because of its tango shows and history, is beautiful and worth visiting. Av. Rivadavia 2100.

Cafe Tortoni is another classic city cafe that most travelers will end up in at one point or the other. Not only is the cafe gorgeous and historically relevant but also their churro-chocolate combination is one of the best in the city. Av. Mayo 825.

Finally, for those who want churros delivered, try El Topo. They only start making the churros once the order has been placed so they’re as fresh as they come. Plus, they make varieties filled with lemon custard and also salty versions!

Medialunas

(Photo by Real Distan)

Anyone who has spent at least a day in Buenos Aires has probably come across the medialuna, a pastry commonly known around the world as a croissant, with its own local flair of course. This starchy staple is as important for Porteños as bagels seem to be for New Yorkers, and are the pillar of many a café breakfast or afternoon snack.

There are two types of medialunas; de grasa (made from lard) are thinner and crunchier, and de manteca (made from butter) are fluffy and soft.  Bakeries also sell facturas, which are sisters to the medialunas and traditionally feature dulce de leche, confectioner´s cream and quince jam fillings.

While you’re in the city, stopping at one of the traditional city cafés is a must and a coffee with medialunas, mandatory.

Those back home who got hooked on their trip, can try the following recipe for Medialunas de Manteca:

Ingredients:

(makes 3 dozen)

4 ¾ cups of Pastry Flour

1 ¼ cups Milk

¼ cup  Sugar

2 TBSP Honey

1 ½ TBSP fresh yeast

1 Egg

A pinch of Salt

7 Oz. Butter

Instructions:

1- Place ¾ cup of  pastry flour on a counter or table you can knead comfortably on. Work in the butter until the flour is absorbed.

2- Mold the flour and butter mixture into a stick of butter, wrap it in a bag or cling-wrap and place it in the refrigerator.

3- Warm up the milk and  1 tsp. of sugar until it`s lukewarm and mix in the yeast.

4- Make a mound with the remaining flour on counter or tabletop you´re working on. Mark a hole in the center and in it place the salt, remaining sugar, egg and honey. Knead very well.

5- Add the milk and yeast mixture and continue kneading. The dough should be soft and sticky.

6- Knead and bang the dough on the counter until it is very smooth.

7- Place the dough in a bowl and cover it for approximately an hour (the dough should double). Keep in mind that yeast needs a relatively warm environment to rise so in winter make sure to have the heating in the kitchen on.

8- Once the dough has risen take out the butter/flour from the refrigerator and roll it out into a thin rectangle.

9- Roll out the dough until is thin and place the butter rectangle in the center,  on top of the dough rectangle.

10- Fold the rectangles until the dough covers the butter. Refrigerate for an hour. Fold again and refrigerate for another hour.

11- Roll out the dough until it is approximately a 0.5 inches thick. Cut into triangles and chill for 20 minutes.

12- Roll the triangles from the base to the tip. Place on buttered baking trays and allow to rise until they double their size.

13-  Whip an egg yolk with some milk and paint onto the medialunas.

14- Bake for approximately 15 minutes at 410 ° F.