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What is Champurrado?

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Warm up with a cup of champurrado.

Q. I was at Erick’s Tacos recently and had a hot drink called champurrado. I know it had chocolate in it, but what else was in it?

— Judy

A. Judy, champurrado is a type of Mexican hot chocolate drink called an atole. It’s made with masa harina and cinnamon-flavored Mexican chocolate.

The version at Erick’s Tacos, 12715 Nacogdoches Road, is very good, but if you want to make your own at home, here is Rick Bayless’ recipe, which appeared in his “Mexico One Plate at a Time” cookbook:

Champurrado

1 cup (8 ounces) fresh smooth-ground corn masa for tortillas or 2/3 cup powdered masa harina mixed with 1/2 cup warm water
1 1/4 cup (about 6 ounces) chopped Mexican chocolate
3 1/2 cups milk
2/3 cup sugar

In a blender, combine the fresh or reconstituted masa with the chocolate and 3 cups water. Blend until smooth. Strain into a medium (4-quart) saucepan, add the milk and sugar, and set over medium heat. Stir (or whisk) constantly as the mixture thickens and comes to a simmer, about 10 minutes. This beverage should be served about the consistency of heavy cream — no thicker. If yours is thicker, whisk in a little milk or water. Ladle or pour into cups or mugs.

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Variation: Cinnamon Atole: Omit the chocolate and, along with the milk, add a 3-inch cinnamon stick (Mexican canela is definitive here). Simmer slowly for 20 minutes to bring the best out of the cinnamon.

Makes 10-12 servings.

From “Mexico One Plate at a Time” by Rick Bayless

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