Sweet tooth or not, there is no escaping cookies at the holidays! Snowballs, macaroons, chewy chocolate and gingerbread men. During the holidays, traditions are highlighted each year from cookies we baked and decorated as children to the expected flavors of the season; peppermint, chocolate and ginger. Mmmmmmm.
In Guatemala, a champurrada is the closest thing you will find to a cookie. They are sweet, and really crunchy. Found in bakeries across the country, champurradas are actually a flat sweet bread found among the regular daily bread offerings. Champurradas are what Americans would describe as crunchy cookies. Ideal for dunking in a cup of tea or coffee – champurradas are to Guatemalans what biscotti are to Italians.
Across Guatemala, recipes for champurradas vary – some have eggs, some don’t. Many champurradas have sesame seeds on top, but not all do. Typically, a champurrada is fairly large – about 4-5 inches across. We’ve adapted our recipe to be a smaller cookie, allowing us to justify popping 2-3 cookies in our mouths at a time. Some recipes call for using a tortilla press to shape the cookie while others direct you to roll and cut with a cookie cutter. Recipes also differ in the type of fat and the type of flour called for; coconut oil, butter, lard, pastry flour, whole wheat or all purpose. What they do all have in common is some type of corn flour and/or cornmeal. Corn is one of the staples of Guatemala cooking.
To get started, In a medium bowl, combine flour, corn masa flour, cornmeal, baking soda and salt. Cream together butter and sugars with a mixer. Add milk and mix. Add dry ingredients from medium bowl into the butter mixture and mix until thoroughly combined.
Roll dough out on floured surface. Cut into circles and transfer to ungreased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake at 375⁰F until lightly browned. Our small cookies took approximately 8 minutes.
Whether you add this to your holiday cookie repertoire now or pull out the recipe on a cold and dreary day in February, make sure you have a warm beverage for dunking!