"I just had to share my favorite dessert of all time, in the hopes of keeping the Valentine's Day fire on: the Mexican churro with cinnamon-cardamom sugar and dark chocolate dip. Plus a fragrant spin with cardamom and star anise in the mix--familiar with a heady hint of exotic! Crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, all smothered with a sinfully dark chocolate sauce."
Bring water to a boil in a medium-sized pot. Add vegetable oil, sugar, and salt. Stir to combine. Add flour and turn off heat. Stir continuously and vigorously with a wooden spoon until dough balls up and follows your spoon around the pan, 1 to 2 minutes. Set aside to cool when dough feels firm and supple.
Heat 3/4- to 1 inch of grapeseed oil in a medium-sized pot over medium heat.
While oil heats, combine heavy cream, dark chocolate, chocolate-hazelnut spread, butter, sugar, and ground coffee in a pan set over lowest heat. Stir often to ensure even melting, 3 to 5 minutes.
Grease the inside of a piping bag fitted with a star tip. Insert dough and squeeze it all the way to the bottom of the bag.
Insert the handle of a wooden spoon into the oil heating in the pot; if it bubbles steadily, the oil is ready. Carefully squeeze dough out of the bag directly into the hot oil, cutting it off at 6-inch lengths. You can also pipe lengths of dough onto parchment paper and transfer them to the oil by hand. Do not crowd the pot.
Fry churros, turning every minute, for 2 to 3 minutes total. Transfer fried churros to a dish lined with paper towels.
Place cardamom seeds, cinnamon stick, and star anise in a spice grinder and blend to a fine powder. Transfer to a wide dish and add sugar. Mix well to combine.
Toss warm churros into the cinnamon-cardamom sugar. Serve alongside a dipping cup of the chocolate sauce.