Sunday, November 24, 2013

My Cooking Attempts: Champurrado, According to David

I love champurrado! What is champurrado you ask? Champurrado is a warm, thick Mexican drink, prepared with masa (corn flour), chocolate, and cinnamon. Champurrado is traditionally served in the morning for breakfast or as a late afternoon snack. However, I am an equal opportunity champurrado consumer; anytime is a good time for champurrado!
Now I must be honest, this is not my recipe. It never even occurred to me that I could or should make champurrado. That all changed when I got married. See in my husband's world homemade champurrado is a normal winter staple, his mom would make it all the time. When we got married he saw no reason to stop the family tradition. Now when I crave champurrado I bat my eyes and beg my husband to make me some. It always works!
This recipe is based off the recipe my mother-in-law verbally gave my husband. It's one of those recipes that comes with a loose list of ingredients and absolutely no measurements. It's taken a couple of tries but we finally discovered the perfect proportion of ingredients to make a delicious cup of champurrado! 

Here is my husband's recipe for champurrado:
3 bars of Mexican Chocolate (I recommend Abuelita)
2 1/2 cups of masa harina (corn flour)
11 1/2 cups whole milk
2 cups water
6 cinnamon sticks
1 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp instant coffee granules
1 tbsp cocoa powder

First things first, gather your first set of ingredients:

Place your cinnamon sticks in a pot, add 2 cups of water, and bring to a boil. Once it's boiling, turn off the heat and allow to steep for about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Add your milk to a large pot. Heat on low.

Meanwhile, you will need to toast your masa. It helps bring out the flavors and adds depth to the champurrado. Add 1 cup of masa into a pan on medium heat. Toast. You will see the color turn to a more golden hue. As you can see below:

When the color turns golden, remove and place in a second bowl. Toast another cup of masa. Again, once it's toasted remove and place in a bowl. Finish toasting the last 1/2 cup of masa.

Next we want to blend the masa into our liquids until it completely dissolves.
Add 2 cups of warm milk + about 1/3 cup of the cinnamon liquid to your blender. Turn blender on and SLOWLY add 1/2 cup of masa.

Blend until the masa has been fully incorporated into the milk. Strain your milk/masa mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a second pot. We want to prevent any lumps of masa in the champurrado. Continue blending and straining until you have fully mixed the milk and the masa. A little milk and cinnamon liquid may remain, just add directly to the blended mixture.

Now it's time to flavor the masa with all the delicious flavors of Mexico!
Since Mexican chocolate comes in discs I like to add half a disc at a time. We want to avoid having the chocolate float to the bottom of the pot and burn. So I add half a disc of chocolate at a time and mix until it completely dissolves. Continue until all the chocolate has been added and dissolved.

Note: Mexican chocolate is chocolate with sugar and other flavorings. It's OMG delicious! If you cannot find  it in your local supermarket it can be substituted with one ounce of semisweet chocolate, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1 drop almond extract per 1 ounce Mexican chocolate. This recipe uses 9-10 ounces in this recipe.

Next we add the brown sugar and vanilla. Mix well.

Then comes David's little twist to the recipe. Coffee and cocoa powder. Add one at a time, fully incorporating one before moving on to the next. Allow the flavors to meld together, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes.

Guess what? You have now made champurrado! Now serve yourself a cup, curl up on the couch, and relax. At least that's what I do while enjoying a warm cup of champurrado.

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