Hot Churros for Old-Fashioned Snow Days

By Sharon Kebschull Barrett

As a child, I found snow days magical. A North Carolina dusting meant everyone stayed home, with my mother mixing up treats in the kitchen and my father guiding us on death-defying sled rides.

A good bit of that magic hit the snow with a plop 10 years ago, when my son was 6 months old. Blasted with a true blizzard, he and I were stuck indoors for a week. Unlike my sweet memories of my father and mother being home with us, I had a husband who was, indeed, home — and on the phone the whole time. Telecommuting kills snow days.

Unfortunately, the snow hit right as my son’s brain made a leap away from infant toys. A week inside with the same toys, over and over, each one holding his interest for about a minute, meant that at 3 p.m. I’d look at my watch and start the countdown to the end of my husband’s workday. At 3:15, I’d look again … and 3:20, and 3:25 …

As soon as that snow melted, I hit the toy stores like a mother gone mad.

This year’s snow, though, came Friday night, and at the end of my vicious virus. For the first time in years, my husband had sole snow duty. No standing in the snow watching my kids sled for the 100th time; I snuggled on the window seat instead to admire them.

I can’t sit still for long, though, so I started making preparations for the icy kids who would soon be thrashing their way out of snowsuits. Hot chocolate, of course. But after so long away from the kitchen, my fingers were itching to cook something special — so long as it was quick, as I still couldn’t breathe well enough to stay standing for long stretches. In such situations, don’t you, too, think of deep-frying?

Probably not … but what a shame. Quick, easy, inexpensive, and not messy if you do it right, frying flatters your diners. To them, it’s slightly exotic and  definitely a treat, a sure way to show your love.

Doughnuts often come to mind when I want something special, but they’re best when the dough is done ahead and chilled. I went with a thoroughly simple churros recipe, heated my oil in a cast-iron pot to 350 degrees (you can use any deep pot, and you rarely need as much oil as a recipe says — about 1 to 2 inches deep is plenty), piped in the batter, and fried the sticks for about 2 minutes. Rolled in cinnamon-sugar and dipped in hot chocolate, they were the perfect welcome for chilled children and a blessedly homebound husband.

Recipe: Churros

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