I've spoken a little about my Mexican heritage when I introduced the Mexi “Cauli” Rice recipe. In addition to rice, tortillas dripping in butter and tamales, I remember my grandmother's hot chocolate. Mexican hot chocolate is nothing like American hot chocolate, at least my grandmother's wasn't. In addition to being spiced up with chili powder, cinnamon and cloves, the consistency is thick, almost pudding-like. I recall my grandmother referring to it as “atole”, which is a hot drink, thickened with masa harina or corn flour. Technically, “champurrado” is atole with chocolate but we always just called it “atole”.
The two ingredients I vaguely remember my grandmother using when making atole was milk and Abuelita brand chocolate. I don't have her recipe as she didn't follow one, but what I remember very clearly was how it tasted! It was heavenly. I spent some time in the kitchen this morning, playing with spices and chocolate to come up with a healthy version of Mexican Hot Chocolate. It took a few different tries, but the final version was Mexican Hot Chocolate success!
I did a little sleuthing around the internet researching different varieties of Mexican Hot Chocolate. It appears, traditionally the three main ingredients are water or milk or both, chocolate and masa harina. The corn flour is mainly for thickening, although it would impart a little taste, the amount used in the various recipes is minimal. The Abuelita brand of Mexican chocolate is sweetened with sugar and flavored with cinnamon. I replaced this by using 90% dark chocolate, cocoa powder, stevia and cinnamon. I used a combo of water and heavy cream (or coconut milk) and spiced it up with chili powder and cloves.
Mexican Hot Chocolate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
1. Bring water and cloves to a boil in small saucepan.
2. Turn heat to low and with spoon, scoop out cloves.
3. Add all ingredients and whisk together until chocolate squares are melted.
4. Pour into two mugs.
5. Garnish with a sprinkle of chili powder and cinnamon.
Champurrado is traditionally served around the Christmas holiday, alongside tamales. It is also served during the Mexican holiday, Day of the Dead or Día de los Muertos. This celebration takes place on November 1st and 2nd. It is a celebration of the lives of those loved ones who are deceased.
I enjoyed this treat alongside some leftover lettuce wrapped Carnitas and recalled the memories I have of my grandmother.
While you are sampling this little taste of Mexico, I've linked a few articles about the benefits of dark chocolate as well as what to look for when buying chocolate. Enjoy!