How to Make Champurrado

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Ingredients

  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 1/4 cup masa harina such as maseca
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup grated piloncillo
  • 1/2 disk Mexican chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon salt
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When the temperature drops, nothing beats a warm cup of champurrado. Who doesn't want to enjoy a chocolate breakfast!?

Champurrado is a traditional Mexican chocolate based atole that is comfort in a cup. Atoles such as champurrado are thickened with masa harina (corn flour) and flavored with spices, fruits or chocolate. Served for breakfast in the cold months, champurrado is thick, creamy, and rich, and coats the belly in pure comfort.

My abuelita made us champurrado on chilly mornings before we would head out for early Mass. I clearly remember sitting at her table grasping the warm cup, slowly sipping the chocolatey goodness. The champurrado would coat my belly in a blanket of warmth that would stay with me all morning.

Champurrado can be found in food stalls throughout the streets of Mexico in the early hours of the morning. The sweet beverage base is made from masa harina (corn flour), milk, spices such as cinnamon, vanilla, anise, nutmeg, and cloves, piloncillo (raw, unrefined sugar cane) and chocolate. The corn flour gives the drink a rich, thick consistency. It's often served alongside pan dulce or tamales. I personally prefer to sip mine with with a toasted bolillo, slathered in butter that I can dip into my champurrado.

Masa de harina es the very same corn flour used to make tortillas and tamales, and can be found in the Latin section of your grocery store or at your local Mercado.

Vianney Rodriguez

Directions

  1. In a large pot or dutch oven, bring water, cinnamon sticks and star anise to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to steep for 30 minutes.
  2. Remove cinnamon sticks and star anise and return pot to low heat. Slowly add masa, whisking to completely dissolve.
  3. Add milk, piloncillo, chocolate and salt. Continue to whisk until all is dissolved. Whisk vigorously or use a molino to froth before serving.
  4. Serve warm with additional grated chocolate.

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