There are plenty of things to love about baseball, obviously. There are the cliches -- the smell of the grass, the crack of the bat and so on -- that make you roll your eyes, but secretly transport you to a happy place. But there are also the sort of commonplace occurrences that evoke real physical sensations. The way your stomach drops slightly watching a 12-6 curveball break out of the zone and the full-body tension as a runner tries to escape a rundown.
These are all excellent reasons to enjoy watching baseball or attending a game, but I've thus far omitted the greatest joy of all: sitting down with a sticky, messy concoction from a ballpark concession stand in the warm glow of an early-summer evening.
It turns out you don't need baseball to experience the pleasure of a weird ballpark concession. Armed with a recipe and some simple tools, you can make your kitchen or living room the right-field bleachers.
Thanks to the D-backs for sharing the recipe -- which you can read at the bottom of the post -- I'm going to try to recreate the Chase Field Churro Dog from the comfort of my own home. If all goes as planned, this is what we'll end up with:
Very quickly, however, things did not go as planned. Such is life during a pandemic.
First came the procurement of a long john doughnut with chocolate glazing that would serve as our hot dog bun, as it were. I scoured the online menus of every local bakery and breakfast spot I could find to no avail. I decided to experiment. Most places had both croissants and chocolate-frosted eclairs, so I figured I'd try both and see which worked better. For the eclairs, I would slice them open, do some surgery to scoop out the filling then essentially have a long john with a bit less dough.
Unfortunately, when my delivery arrived, I was informed that the bakery had already sold out of eclairs, so I was left with just a croissant.
To support more local restaurants, I decided to order fresh churros rather than follow the recipe and use frozen ones. Once again, I hit a roadblock. My local taco place was closed and the joints slightly further away had either sold out or had already closed for the day.
So I waited two days to procure the churros from the taco place, and I went on our scheduled bi-weekly grocery trip to procure another croissant – this one smaller, but two days fresher – and a long, glazed braided doughnut.
Here's what we'll be working with:
First up is to slice our potential buns to make an opening for our churros. While one churro was enough for our short croissant, our longer rolls needed an extra half churro each to fill them out.
Now it's time to get to the good stuff. First, each dog is supposed to get three two-ounce scoops of ice cream. We're not going to be measuring with that kind of precision but simply use the scoop we've been given. Our small croissant dog only accommodated two scoops.
Next comes the whipped cream. The recipe calls for 8 oz., but we're just using our eyeballs.
Similarly with the caramel and chocolate, which are supposed to be a drizzle of 1 oz. each. We're living on the edge here, so we just drizzle an unweighted quantity of both on our dogs.
Despite throwing caution to the wind at every step, they still look pretty good, if I dare say so myself:
And now, for the moment that actually matters. How do they taste?
The answer is that they taste very good. I was concerned that the sweetness of literally every ingredient in this concession would just blend together into an overwhelming blast of sugar. Instead, it's more like a good ice cream sundae with a really nice mix of textures and experiences packed into each bite. You get the chewiness of the bun and the crunchiness of the churro in addition to the creaminess of the ice cream in a single bite.
For the most part, that was true in each of our attempts.
Overall, I'd say our dog with the glazed doughnut bun was the best of the three. This is comforting in the sense that it confirms that the people who designed this delicacy were onto something by picking a doughnut -- the croissants simply added a crunch that was redundant when paired with the churro, while the doughnut was chewier and, overall, a better tasting experience.
If you can't get your hands on a frosted long doughnut, that doesn't mean you can't have a good churro dog. My guess would be that basically any long doughnut will make for a good dog -- even if you have to get a round one and make a sort of churro burger with a hole in the middle. Short of that, a croissant is a lesser, but by no means bad, alternative.
The one downside is that all three of these were quite messy. The ice cream melts quickly and the sauces were both sticky. With the glazed doughnut, there was no escape from ending up with sticky fingers. There were even clumps of my beard stuck together from all the sugar. Yes, I'm going to need a wet wipe or a good hand washing, but to truly cleanse myself of this snack, I'm going to need a shower.
As with anything, moderation is key. One churro dog is a delightful treat -- surprisingly so to this fan of savory tastes. Two might be fine, if you're feeling ambitious. Three is very probably an invitation to future medical issues. I ate just short of three of these churro dogs (my wife had a bite of each, for science), and I feel slightly sick. I'm not sure my taste buds will ever fully recover from this onslaught of sweetness.
Recipe for the Chase Field Churro Dog, courtesy of the D-backs:
Servings: 4. Preparation time: 5 minutes.
• 4 each chocolate iced long john doughnuts. Substitute at home with your best local donut option (chocolate or vanilla option)
• 4 each 10-inch churros
• 4 oz. cinnamon sugar mixture -- mix 1 cup of granulated sugar with 1/2 oz. of cinnamon
• 12 each 2 oz scoops vanilla bean frozen yogurt or ice cream
• 8 oz. aerosol whipped cream
• 4 oz. chocolate sauce
• 4 oz. caramel sauce
- Slice each long john doughnut lengthwise. Don’t slice all the way through, leave approximately 1/4-1/3 inch in order to hinge the doughnut
- Heat frozen churro in the oven at 375 degrees for approximately 5 minutes or until heated all the way through and crisp
- Roll churros in cinnamon sugar immediately after removing from oven in order for cinnamon sugar to stick to the churro
- Place a cinnamon-sugar-coated churro in each doughnut
- Top each churro with 3 each 2-oz. scoops of vanilla bean frozen yogurt or ice cream
- Top each with 1-2 oz. of aerosol whipped cream
- Drizzle approximately 1 oz. of chocolate syrup on top of each churro dog
- Drizzle approximately 1 oz. of caramel sauce on top of each churro dog