A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from January 26, 2008

Champurrado is a thick, hot Mexican drink, usually consisting of masa harina (hominy flour), piloncillo (or brown sugar or molasses), milk, and Mexican chocolate. Champurrado is a bit stronger and thicker than Mexican hot chocolate and is an acquired taste.
Buñuelos often are served with a cup of champurrado. “Champurrado” is cited in English in the 1800s, but the drink (perhaps with another name) is believed to date hundreds of years earlier.
Wikipedia: Champurrado
Champurrado is a chocolate-based atole, a warm and thick Mexican drink, based on masa harina (hominy flour), piloncillo, water or milk and occasionally containing anise seed and or vanilla bean (tasting somewhat like a thick chai tea). Early in the morning in certain parts of the city, people crowd around street-corner tamale carts as non-alcoholic champurrado is served in styrofoam cups or in plastic bags with straws as part of an on-the-go breakfast. An instant mix for champurrado is available in Mexican grocery stores. Champurrado may be made with alcohol to form an intoxicating beverage.
Gourmet Sleuth
Mexican Champurrado
A special hot chocolate thickened with masa and flavored with piloncillo and aniseeds.
Serves: 4 - 5
1/2 cup fresh masa (corn dough) or 1/2 cup masa flour (masa harina) mixed with a 1/4 cup hot water to blend
2 1/4 cups milk
1 1/2 cups water
1 disk Mexican chocolate
3 tablespoons piloncillo, chopped or 1/3 cup brown sugar plus 2 teaspoons molasses
1/4 teaspoon crushed aniseeds (optional)
Place the water and the masa into the jar of a blender and blend until smooth. Transfer to a medium sized saucepan. 
Add the milk, chocolate, piloncillo (or sugar, molasses combination) and the aniseeds if you wish to use them.  Bring the mixture to a simmer, whisking with a molinillo or whisk until the chocolate and sugar is melted and well-blended.  Strain the mixture through a medium sieve (optional) and serve hot, in mugs.
Mexican Hot Chocolate Champurrado
Courtesy of Nestle Recipe Collection
Recipe Ingredients:
12 cups Water, divided
3 Cinnamon sticks
1 1/2 cups Masa harina flour (mexican corn flour)
1 1/2 cups Packed brown sugar or
2 large Piloncillo chunks (mexican brown sugar)
1 oz. (half of 2-oz.bar) Nestle unsweetened chocolate baking bar
2 tsp. Vanilla extract  
Recipe Instructions:
Combine 8 cups water and cinnamon in large saucepan bring to a boil. Place remaining water and flour in blender container cover. Blend until smooth. Pour mixture through fine mesh sieve into cinnamon water mixture. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cook, stirring constantly with wire whisk, for 6 to 7 minutes or until mixture is thickened. Stir in sugar, chocolate and vanilla extract. Cook, stirring frequently, for 4 to 5 minutes or until chocolate is melted and flavors are blended very well. (You can use milk instead of water if you want)
Serve your Mexican Champurrado with churros!
World On A Plate
January 17, 2007 in Mexico
Champurrado. Cham-purrrrr-ado. It’s sounds so fiesty. At it’s most loose it is a hot chocolate and spice drink that is thickened with corn meal. As a member of a group of Mexican corn-based drinks called atoles it is a most often compared to the Eastern-based milk tea, chai.
In it’s simplest form it is milk and piloncillo, a type of brown sugar, is brought to a boiling point while the masa harina is browned in a skillet. So simple but such a complex earthy taste. Due to it’s somewhat filling nature it can be served as a late afternoon merienda (snack) or as a simple breakfast with churros. However it is during Christmas time posadas where it is served alongside tamales that you’ll find huge pots and big crowds.
Not to wander too much here but…in 16th century Mexico, Aztecs celebrated the arrival of Huitzilopochtli, the war god, from Dec. 7 to 24. During the time of the Spanish missionaries this celebration was replaced with the European Christmas traditions to replace the pagan images with those of Mary and Joseph. Posada, a Christmas festival which plays out the search of Joseph and Mary seeking lodging, are celebrated in churches and missions with dramatic representations of the Nativity scene.
It’s probably one of the first fusion foods with the Spaniards milk and sugar marrying with the native corn of Mexico. The secret to making this comforting traditional beverage is to continually stir. The consistency should be thicker than that of hot chocolate.
Google Books
Mexico: Landscapes and Popular Sketches
by Charles Sartorius
London: Trubner & Co.
Pg. 144:
“Look, there’s your champurrado* in the porringer; sit down and drink, and then let us hear the news.”
* Champurrado is a mess of pounded maize and chocolate, which is drunk in the morning instead of coffee.
Google Books
The Philippine Islands, Moluccas, Siam, Cambodia, Japan, and China, at the Close of the Sixteenth Century
by Antonia de Morga
London: Hakluyt Society
Pg. 287:
Of other words which have passed into vernacular Spanish from the East Indian Archipelago, I have at present only found champurrar, to mix liquors, fro mthe Malay tchampur of the same meaning; this has passed into Algerine French as champoraux (from champurrado), meaning hot coffee and spirits in about equal quantities.
Google Books
Face to Face with the Mexicans
by Fanny Chambers Gooch Iglehart
New York, NY: Fords, Howard, & Hulbert
Pg. 74:
Atole de leche (milk), by adding chocolate takes the name of champurrado; if the bark of the cacao is added, it becomes atole de cascara; if red chili,—chili atole. If, instead of any of these agua miel, sweet water of the maguey, is added, it is called atole de agua miel; if piloncillo, the native brown sugar, again the name is modified to atole de pinole.
Google Books
June 1896, The Land of Sunshine (Los Angeles, CA), “More Mexican Recipe” by Linda Bell Colson, pg. 28:
CHAMPURRADO.—Champurrado is roughly translated as chocolate gruel, but it is much more delicious than gruel with us is apt to be. The Mexicans of course prepare the corn in it as they do for tortillas or tamales, but it is very good made as follows: Into five pints of fast boiling water sprinkle a heaping tablespoonful of Indian meal and one teaspoonful of salt. Stir well and boil for an hour. Put grated chocolate, according to taste, sugar, some cloves and cinnamon into one pint of boiling water. Stir well and strain into the boiling meal. Stir the mixture for a minute or two, then pour into a pitcher and serve.
Google Books
The Food and Drink of Mexico
by George C. Booth
Los Angeles, CA: Ward Ritchie Press
Pg. 138:
Atole is made by mixing masa into milk, straining then boiling for half an hour and adding sugar and a pinch of cinnamon. If a square of bitter chocolate is mixed with atole, it becomes champurrado. A woman who owned a restaurant in Cuernavaca showed me how to made champurrado in a manner practical for any gringo. For each cup of milk, mix in a teaspoon of chopped bitter chocolate, one and a half teaspoons of corn starch, sugar and cinnamon to taste. Cook the champurrado in a double boiler for half an hour.
25 December 1975, Dallas (TX) Morning News, section A, pg. 12:
In a Dutch oven, mix 1 cup of Masa Harina with one-half gallon of water; add sugar to sweeten, and 4 chocolate bars. Cook slowly, until thick; then add milk to suit one’s own tastes. Serve with cookies.
Google Books
Eats: A Folk History of Texas Foods
by Ernestine Sewell Linck and Joyce Gibson Roach
Fort Worth, TX: TCU Press
Pg. 77:
I did grow up with champurrado. it’s delicious.
What you do is take cornmeal and brown it in a skillet. On the side you have milk and brown sugar brought to the boiling point with some cinnamon in it, always the cinnamon. Then you stir the browned meal into the milk mixture. You can drink it.
Google Books
Christmas in Texas
by Elizabeth Silverthorne
College Station, TX: Texas A&M University
Pg. 29:
it is generally agreed that buñuelos taste best when accompanied by Mexican hot chocolate. Many large supermarkets carry Mexican chocolate, which comes in squares or rounds already sweetened and flavored with cinnamon. It can also be purchased in Mexican specialty stores. A square of round of chocolate is dissolved in a cup of hot milk for each serving. After the chocolate has melted, the mixture is poured into a pitcher and beaten vigorously with a molinillo (a wooden beater that is twirled between the hands) until the chocolate is frothy. The hot chocolate drink is sometimes thickened with corn meal to make a drink called champurrado.
Google Books
The Border Cookbook:
Authentic Home Cooking of the American Southwest and Northern Mexico
by Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison
Boston, MA: Harvard Commons Press
Pg. 464:
Another old Mexican drink, champurrado combines sweetened chocolate and ground corn, blended with steaming water or milk. It has many fans along the border, but you want to acquire the taste from an early age.
Google Books
A Cook’s Tour of Mexico:
Authentic Recipes from the Country’s Best Open-Air Markets, City Fondas, and Home Kitchens
by Nancy Zaslavsky
New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press
Pg. 127:
Champurrado (Chocolate with Masa Drink)
6 ounced fresh extra finely ground “masa,” or “masa harina”
1 quart water
2 cups milk
8 ounces “panela” (broken up) or dark brown sugar
1 two-inch “canela” stick, or 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 ounces Mexican chocolate tablet, broken up
4 aniseed, crushed (optional)
1. Dissolve the fresh masa in 1 quart water, then strain the water into a saucepan (throw away the masa). Boil until it is thick, stirring with a wooden spoon, about 15 minutes. Add the milk, panela, canela, chocolate and optional anissed.
2. Bring the liquid back to a simmer, then stir often with a wooden spoon to thicken. This step takes 45 to 60 minutes—keep the heat at its lowest so the milk doesn’t curdle.
3. Strain. Right before serving, using a molinillo or a hand mixer, whip the champurrado until a foam covers the top.

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • Saturday, January 26, 2008 • Permalink

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