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Champurrado is a chocolate-based atole, a warm and thick Mexican drink, prepared with either masa de maíz (lime-treated-corn dough), masa harina (a dried version of this dough), or corn flour (simply very finely ground dried corn, especially local varieties grown for atole); piloncillo; water or milk; and occasionally containing cinnamon, anise seed, or vanilla. Ground nuts, orange zest, and egg can also be employed to thicken and enrich the drink. Atole drinks are whipped up using a wooden whisk called a molinillo (or a blender). The whisk is rolled between the palms of the hands, then moved back and forth in the mixture until it is aerated and frothy.
Champurrado is traditionally served with churros in the morning as a simple breakfast or as a late afternoon snack. Champurrado is also very popular during Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead in Spanish) and at Las Posadas (the Christmas season), where it is served alongside tamales. An instant mix for champurrado is available in Mexican grocery stores. Champurrado may also be made with alcohol.
Chocolate is native to the Amazon and it was first cultivated by the Mayas and the Aztecs. The Mayans used the cocoa beans in various ceremonies such as marriage and trade. Chocolate beverages date back to 450 BC with the Aztecs. They drank chocolate with corn puree, or masa. These drinks were thought of as magical and upon drinking, would give the drinker power and strength. In the sixteenth century, Spain invaded the Americas numerous times and brought back many items to Spain, one of those items being chocolate. The chocolate was drunk pure and heated. This was a luxury and something only aristocrats could afford as only the very rich could afford prized cocoa beans. Over time, the drink was changed. Early Spanish colonists adapted a beverage created in ancient Aztec times composed of water and masa harina. They changed it by adding sugar, milk, and chocolate.
Since sugar came to the Americas sometime after chocolate did, chocolate was said to have an acquired taste as it comes off as bitter without added sweetener. The Spaniards created a drink consisting of chocolate, vanilla, and other spices which was served chilled. This drink cannot be compared to modern-day hot chocolate as it was very spicy and bitter, contrasting with the modern notion of very sweet, warm chocolate.
The invention of champurrado shows the adaptation of ancient practices to European colonizers. Upon the production of the drink, special tools like the molinillo were made to assist in the making of the drink. There are many versions of champurrado in different countries, such as the Philippines where champorado, or tsokolate, is a beloved Filipino breakfast drink. The Philippines received their cocoa from Mexico and made their own variation of the drink, adapted to their own resources, like sweet sticky rice.
Many Latin Americans, especially Mexicans, love to enjoy a nice cup of champurrado around the holidays when the weather tends to get colder around the time of year. According to most who drink champurrado, it is a delicious beverage and highly differs from hot chocolate according to its taste and texture. The taste of the beverage also differentiates based on how it was made.
Champurrado is a type of atole with its main characteristic consisting of chocolate. The difference from traditional hot chocolate and champurrado is the use of masa harina (corn flour). Atole is made by toasting masa on a griddle, then adding water that was boiled with cinnamon sticks. The resulting blends vary in texture, ranging from a porridge to a very thin, liquid consistency. In northern Mexico, a variation is also made using pinole (sweetened toasted corn meal). Although atole is one of the traditional drinks of the Mexican holiday Day of the Dead, it is very common during breakfast and dinner time at any time of year. It is usually sold as street food but can be found in various Latin restaurants. The inclusion of chocolate to the atole gives birth to champurrado.
There are many different types of recipes to make champurrado. Different states in Mexico for example, use spices to enhance its taste. When going for an authentic champurrado, Mexican chocolate such as the “Abuelita” brand is used, which is very popular in Mexico and could be easily found at local U.S Latino grocery stores. Cooking champurrado in a clay pot is also traditional and brings out the flavor even further.
Atole and the traditions behind it go back centuries to ancient Mexico. Five to six thousand years ago, archaeological studies in Mexico have shown that they were making atole the same way they are making it today. Atole is a drink made with masa, finely ground corn flour, and only when chocolate is added does it become champurrado.
“The word “Atole” is derived from Nahuatl, the still-living language of the Aztecs. Atole was popular long before the arrival and being defeated by Hernán Cortés in 1521. The Aztec culture have consumed this drink for centuries and that comes to no surprise as atole is one of the easiest ways to consume corn as it was first cultivated in the Americas.” 
The former to create this drink is a kitchen utensil handed down from prehistoric times – “a piece of porous volcanic rock on three legs titled to for a grinding surface. The grinding is done by passing back and forth over this surface with an oblong piece of the same material. Throughout history this process was never done my a man. Women kneeled down grinding the corn using the oblong tool and the weight of her body. Grinding the kernels is a slow and tiresome process but comes the masa needed to producing atole and champurrado.” 
Two popular hot cocoa manufacturers that are commonly used to make champurrado is Nestle's Abuelita and Ibarra. Many Mexicans go to one of these two brands to make their traditional drink for the holidays. There are two YouTube videos that compare and contrast the two chocolate brands when used to make the chocolatey drink. One of the videos is a first-time recipe guide giving specific details on both drinks, while the other provides perspectives on both types of champurrado from Mexicans and people of other cultures. On the YouTube video called “Abuelita VS. Ibarra CHAMPURRADO TASTE TEST | Mexican Hot Chocolate Recipe” uploaded by emmymadeinjapan, Emmy, a Japanese woman, shows audiences how to make champurrado using two different types of hot cocoa manufactures Nestle's Abuelita and Ibarra. She gives a little background speaking on how the chocolate is different from traditional candy bars due to the fact that they contain granulated sugar and a bit of spice. She then proceeds with making both samples of champurrado. She mentions how this is her first time trying champurrado and the fact that she's also making the drinks on her own for the first time will probably very heavily contribute to how the drinks taste to her. One might consider how she might have a different opinion if the champurrado was made by a traditional Mexican or someone who has made the drink before. According to her, the Abuelita champurrado is sweeter and has more of a cinnamon taste than the Ibarra, while the Ibarra has more of a chocolatey taste. In the end, Emmy shares that she prefers the taste of the Ibarra champurrado.
On the YouTube video called “The Mexican Hot Chocolate Battle: Abuelita Vs. Ibarra” uploaded by BuzzFeedVideo, Mexicans, and people of other cultures taste test both Abuelita and Ibarra champurrado. The video starts off with a guy and a girl, both of Mexican descent, arguing over which cocoa is better to make champurrado. The guy is for Abuelita while the girl favors Ibarra. Both brands of champurrado are blindly taste tested among eight participants. Of the eight participants, the two arguing, in the beginning, are the only Mexicans and the others are of different cultures. Before the champurrado is tasted by the participants, most of them mention that they favor and are more familiar with the Abuelita cocoa brand over Ibarra. They also mention how Ibarra is made in Mexico while Abuelita is made in Glendale. In the first round, all participants blind taste Abuelita and the second round was of course Ibarra. All of the participants liked the champurrado during the first round and one of the non-Mexican participants mentions how she was “expecting something stronger.” During the second round, more than one participant mentioned how the drink “tasted more real.” At the end, when both taste tests were done, three were for Abuelita and five were for Ibarra. The participants of Mexican descent recognized which flavor they were familiar with and both stuck with their original choice. For those of non-Mexican descent, two preferred Abuelita and four preferred Ibarra.
Some of the common ingredients and tool used to make champurrado are listed below:
- Prepared masa (Maseca brand is commonly used for authenticity)
- Mexican chocolate (Abuelita or Ibarra are commonly used)
- Cone of Piloncillo
- Cinnamon sticks
- Granulated cane sugar (could also use sweetener to reduce sugar)
- Strainer or a thin cloth to strain the dissolved masa
- A molinillo or a wooden spoon
To get started you will be using 4 cups of water, 1 12 ounces can of evaporated milk you could also use whole milk or half and half, ⅓ cup of Maseca, 1 to 2 ounces of piloncillo or you could also use dark brown sugar, ¼ teaspoon of salt added to the Maseca, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 tablet or 3.1 ounces of Abuelita or Ibarra (Mexican chocolates) and cloves and whole allspice berries (Optional). Step 1 you will need to add a ⅓ cup of hot water to the Maseca and let it rest. Step 2 would be to combine the Maseca with the hot water. An early mix of these two helps prevent clumping during the simmering of the champurrado. Step 3 would be to add 4 cups of water into a pot. Step 4 would be adding the option spices and the cinnamon stick. Step 5 would be to wait until the water is up to a simmer, then cover with a lid set the heat to low for 10 to 15 minutes. After the 10 to 15 minutes, step 5 is to separate the spices and cinnamon from water and return water back into the pot. Step 6 is to start mixing in the rest of the ingredients, except the Maseca, into a medium to low heat pot. A low to medium heat will ensure that the Maseca will dissolve and incorporate better with the liquid. Stir for about 5 minutes and start adding in the Maseca. Wisk the Maseca consistently to prevent lumps. After 15 minutes of whisking, it should be ready to drink. Best served when hot. Changing the ratios of the ingredients will result in different results. More Maseca results in a thicker champurrado. Using water instead of evaporated milk will also make the champurrado much lighter and less thick.
According to nutritionix.com, the regular serving size of champurrado (1 cup/177g) contains approximately 163 calories and 57 calories from fat. Considering that the average calories a person to consume per day is approximately between 2000- 2500, 163 calories isn't bad at all. The calories from fat also aren’t bad considering that 400 to 700 calories can come from dietary fat based on an average 2000 calorie diet. A diet that involves 400 to 700 calories from dietary fat would average to about 44 to 78 grams of fat grams per day and champurrado only contains 6.3 of total fat grams. The drinks daily value does contribute mostly to its total fat which is 10% and 18% when it comes to saturated fat, so some might want to be cautious when on a stricter diet. The average milligrams of dietary cholesterol is 300 and this only contains 5. Sodium makes up 1% of its daily value and contains 26 mg while Potassium is 5% and is about 167 mg. People on stricter diets would also consider the sugar levels which contains about 16gs while it also contains 2.7gs of protein and 1.7gs of dietary fiber. Champurrado also contains 1% vitamin A, no vitamin C, 7% calcium and 11% iron. Calcium helps the body keep the bones healthy and enables good blood and muscle flow. Iron helps red blood cells carry oxygen throughout your body. Champurrado isn't bad when it comes to these components in its nutrition facts.
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