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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Champurrado {Atole de Chocolate}

Mi esposo?  He's a fabulous storyteller.  He can mimic voices and movements and the slightest intonations that others may not pick up on.  Expertly, I might add.  I love it when he talks about the food and cooking going on in his abuelita's kitchen.  Homemade tortillas and beverages hot from the stove inevitably conjure up visions of the tales he's woven for us.  

For example, I know that his abuelito had a mouth of steel!  He built his wife a huge L-shaped "cooking corner" of sorts...ith a hole cut out where the two sides meet for lowering earthen cooking vessels, large and small.  Wood can be tucked in on the sides and pushed deeper inside to stoke up the fire.  On one side, she had a huge metate on which she would grind the masa early in the morning for making things like tortillas and atole.  As she worked her way around that "L", she'd ladle steaming atole into a waiting jarro and pass it over to her husband.  Then she'd toss the first tortilla into his calloused hands.  He'd quickly roll it up and scoop a big helping of salsa into his mouth.  And then...then he would grab that still-steaming mug of atole and slurp it into his mouth.  As if to wash down hot with hot.  I imagine his mouth and throat must have been calloused, as well.  When hubby tells the story, he makes the noise that his abuelo would make when he took a drink.  Imagine sucking air in at the same time as you're drawing in a big gulp of steaming liquid.  And that's how it was.  Every morning for many, many years.

To this day, every time I hand him a mug of steaming coffee, tea, hot chocolate, or atole...we both grin as he makes "the noise" and takes a sip.  Emulating the grandfather he loves so deeply.  This Champurrado is just the thing for warming you up on a cold morning or after a romp in the snow.  The masa thickens it and assures you with every sip that it is sticking to your ribs like an internal blanket.  I love the flavor that anise seeds lend.  If you don't like them, feel free to leave them out and add a stick of canela instead.  This is comfort in a cup.
Champurrado (Atole de Chocolate)
Masa-Thickened Hot Chocolate
adapted from: Authentic Mexican
yield: 4-6 servings (~1 quart)

½ c. masa harina
2 c. warm water
2 c. milk
4 oz. Mexican chocolate, chopped
2 ½ oz. Piloncillo, chopped
½ tsp. anise seeds, crushed
pinch of sea salt

Combine masa harina and water in the jar of a blender.  Blend until smooth and pour into a medium pot.  

Pour milk into blender and shake it around to get all of the masa that has been left behind.  Pour this into the pot, as well.

Add chopped chocolate, piloncillo, crushed anise seeds, and sea salt.  

Bring to  a simmer, whisking almost constantly.  Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to simmer and whisk for ~5 minutes, or until sugar and chocolate are dissolved and the liquid has thickened.

Pour into mugs or glasses and serve immediately.  You can strain this if you like, but I love the rustic charm of the bits of anise seed, masa, and Mexican chocolate.

Would you like to comment?

  1. Oh interesting info. Men are so funny. They like building stuff for women, but then raking in the cash :O) THat's what happened to ebay creator too.
    The chocolate Looks good too.

  2. josé manuel martín fernándezDecember 17, 2011 at 5:53 PM

    Una receta muy diferente para mí.


  3. Velva-Tomatoes on the VineDecember 17, 2011 at 5:56 PM

    It's just those kind of fond memories that provoke the most intense food memories. We can hope that our children have such memories of our kitchen.


  4. this looks fabulous Heather lovely combination

  5. Oh man, now I have to have some atole!! I'm running to the kitchen to make us some for tonight. That's a great recipe, I don't think the anise seeds would agree with hubby so I'll leave them out. Thanks. Happy Holidays to you.

  6. How wonderful it would be to sit down to some great stories with this hot chocolate - this is the real stuff!

  7. Don't you just love those stories??  I could listen to Hubby's stories for hours.  Especially if I had a mug of Champurrado.  It's my favorite!  And it's the one thing I craved my entire pregnancy with my eldest. :)  

  8. would love this right now Merry Christmas

  9. Love these atole look amazaing and delicious:))

  10. This is really stick to your soul kind of stuff.  Especially with a good dose of story-telling.

  11. christinefreshlocalandbestDecember 17, 2011 at 11:10 PM

    What a sweet story. I am quite curious about this thick warm beverage. It sounds so rich and comforting. 

  12. I love everything about this post, the photos, the story, and the thick chocolate.  I'm on a continuous quest for the perfect thick hot chocolate, and so i will make this for sure.  I can just imagine the flavor that the masa and the anise must give to it.  I'm not familiar with piloncillo, I'm looking it up now ;)

  13. I love the storyline in this post -- and of course, wish I could face-plant into that bowl of chocolaty deliciousness :D

  14. HA!  Coffee was dangerously close to coming out my nose when I read that ;)

  15. Sue...if you are unable to find any piloncillo, you could use an unrefined Indian sugar which is close called jaggery.  Or (easier still) substitute about 1/3 cup of packed dark brown sugar + 1/2 Tbs. molasses!

  16. I love these type of recipes that stir up good food memories!

  17. What a gorgeous post - loved the story and the mug of that chocolate is just dreamy. Wish I could get my hands on this stuff to make some!

  18. Such a sweet post ;-)) I would love a cup of hot chocolate  now.

  19. I've been trying to figure out how to use the two piloncillo that Alexis picked up a while back.

  20. I adore Mexican hot chocolate! I even got my Mom hooked on it. We'll have to try adding anise seeds and the masa - never saw that before in hot chocolate. Your husband sounds like a gem.

  21. I love his stories. My dad tells the greatest stories about his family, can't get enough of them.  This is one of my fav seasonal drinks that and ponche.  Last week I  finally found the small piloncillos in your picture. Here they sell the HUGE ones.  

  22. Great post and I love the photos. This looks so warm and comforting--perfect for this time of year. ;-)