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A taste reminding me of holidays

My holiday in Peru was hardly a gastronomic experience – the most positive adjective I could use to describe most of the food is “interesting”. But I did particularly enjoy one dessert – churros with chocolate. They were deep-fried sugared sticks of dough, like long thin doughnuts, and were the highlight of one otherwise unmemorable lunch. But there’s no way I’d make them at home – I don’t really approve on health grounds, and always resisted Christopher’s sporadic attempts to buy a deep-fat fryer.

In today’s Independent on Sunday I found a recipe by Bill Grainger for cinnamon breadsticks, which he described as a cross between churros and pain au chocolat. So, since I happened to have all the ingredients in the larder, I thought I’d give it a go this afternoon. I’ve replicated his recipe below, but halved all the ingredients. The original served 4-6 people which is way too much for me. Even the half quantities below will keep me in breadsticks and chocolate sauce for most of the week!

150g strong white bread flour, plus extra for kneading
1/2 tsp instant yeast
1/2 tsp caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp light-flavoured oil, plus extra for greasing (I used very light olive oil)
1 1/2 tbsp demerara sugar (I think I used muscovado sugar instead. It didn’t look as dark as demerara)
1 tsp ground cinnamon

For the chocolate sauce

75g plain chocolate, broken into small pieces (I used dark chocolate buttons which I happened to have in)
2 tbsp double cream
1/2 tbsp golden syrup

Put the flour, yeast, sugar and salt into a bowl, stir to combine. Make a well in the centre then pour in 100ml of tepid water and stir to form a soft dough. Tip out on to a lightly floured work surface and knead for 10 minutes. Place in an oiled bowl, cover with a cloth and set aside for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas6 and lightly grease an oven tray. Combine the demerara sugar and cinnamon. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and stretch it out to about 20cm x 10cm. Brush it with oil then scatter with half the sugar-and-cinnamon mix, pushing the mixture down lightly, then place the dough sugared-side down on the prepared oven tray. Brush with oil and top with the remaining sugar-and-cinnamon mix and cut into 12 lengths. Separate the sticks slightly and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until cooked through and crisp. Transfer to a wire rack.

For the chocolate sauce, put all the ingredients in a small pan over a very low heat. Stir occasionally, until the chocolate has melted. Stir in a pinch of salt. Serve the warm bread sticks with the chocolate sauce on the side.

They’re not as completely decadent as the Peruvian churros. But they were rather delicious! And I found that the chocolate sauce remelts quite satisfactorily with a quick blast in the microwave.