These cold winter nights call for a nice hot mug of champurrado. Champurrado is a pre-Colombian drink made with fresh masa, water, piloncillo, and Mexican chocolate. It is especially good with perfectly tender tamales.
Champurrrado ingredients are quite simple but the combination is irresistible. Before the Spanish arrived in Mexico with their cows and their milk, champurrado was made with water.
It is said that the great Aztec emperor Moctezuma Xocoyotzin enjoyed this beverage which he drank in ceremonial vessels made of gold, sweetened with agave honey, and spiced with a bit of chile.
Fray Bernardino de Sahagún documented the consumption of atoll or atolli which was drunk by the indigenous warm or cold, for breakfast or sometimes as a meal in itself. It was also used for medicinal and ceremonial purposes.
Atole vs Champurrado
So what is the difference between atole and champurrado?? Atole is also a drink from pre-Columbian times that can be sweet or savory depending on the region in Mexico where you are. Traditionally, it is made by dissolving ground dried corn in milk or water and adding fruits or different flavorings to it. Champurrado is simply atole with chocolate added to it, in other words, chocolate atole.
How to Make Champurrado
Making champurrado is quite easy, the piloncillo and cinnamon are simmered in water until completely dissolved, then a Mexican chocolate tablet is added. Once the chocolate has melted into the piloncillo mixture the fresh masa is added. The masa thickens the chocolate creating a thick, sweet, and chocolatey drink. Then everything is frothed with a molinillo and served hot.
The Recipe: How to Make Champurrado
This authentic Mexican champurrado is made with water instead of milk, just like in pre-Columbian times.
- If you want to use milk I recommend you use almond-coconut milk.
- The recipe calls for fresh masa, but if you can’t find it you can use masa harina.
- I’ve used Ibarra chocolate, but you can use your favorite Mexican hot chocolate.
- 4 cups Water
- 1 Ceylon cinnamon stick
- 1/3 - 1/2 cup Chopped piloncillo (2-4 oz.)
- 1 Mexican Chocolate disk (I used Ibarra, chopped into 4 pieces)
- ½ cup Fresh masa for tortillas (nixtamal)
- Place 3 cups of water, chopped piloncillo, and cinnamon stick in a medium sauce pot and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 1 to 2 minutes or until the piloncillo has completely dissolved.
- Add the Mexican chocolate and continue to simmer and stir until chocolate has completely dissolved, about 3 minutes.
- In the meantime place the fresh masa in a large bowl and pour 1 cup of water over the masa. Use your hand to dissolve the masa into the water.
- Strain the masa liquid, and pour it into the simmering hot chocolate. Stir and froth with a molinillo or whisk.
- Simmer for 6 to 8 minutes or until the champurrado has thickened. Serve hot!!