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May 14, 2011 10:43 AM

And I Thought They Were Just Galletas

I’ve been living in Guatemala for just over six weeks now. I don’t much care for many of the breads here (mostly soft, white stuff without much crust) and the dulces (homemade candies) are way too dulce for my taste. But I was craving a cookie and happened to be near one of the branches of a very popular bakery (Panaderia de San Francisco), so I stopped in to see what they might have. I asked for “galletas” and was handed a bag of perhaps 8 very large cookies. I loved them. They were like giant not-too-sweet sugar cookies, rather crisp with a texture akin to cookies made with ground nuts.

I still had a few cookies left on my kitchen counter when Guatemalan friends came to visit. “Ah! I see you’ve discovered champurradas!” Champurradas? Turns out that what I thought was something you’d have as an afternoon snack is something specifically made to be dunked in your morning coffee. I was hooked. I started buying champurradas all over town and looking for online recipes to find out how they were made.

Some recipes have eggs, some don’t; many recipes call for sprinkling the cookie with sesame seeds, but I prefer the ones without; some recipes call for the use of a tortilla press, some are shaped by hand, and some call for rolling out the dough and cutting out rounds with a large cookie cutter (I’ve never seen a cookie cutter that large; I’d probably have to use a small bowl with a thin edge); many recipes call for scoring the cookie with a knife or fork tines, but I’ve only seen one commercial champurrada with those markings and I can’t see that it adds anything; some are so thin they would shatter like fine crystal if you dropped them, others are thicker, sturdier, and considerably less brittle in texture. All are made with a lot of fat (not surprising since champurradas are in the generic category of “pan de manteca tostada”), although seemingly not butter; most of the online recipes I found specify lard, margarine, or coconut oil. And the kind of flour used seems to be all over the map: corn, pastry, all-purpose, whole wheat, and combinations thereof.

Below are photos of three champurradas from three different bakeries, although none of these are the shatteringly thin ones.

Although I’m sure many sugar cookie recipes could be easily adapted, I wonder if anyone has a traditional family recipe for champurradas they’re especially fond of and would be willing to share?

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  1. These look lovely, JoanN! Just the thing for morning coffee. I hope someone is able to supply a recipe!

    1. I googled "champurradas", and came up with this recipe:
      They look similar to the photo you posted.

      1 Reply
      1. re: critter101

        Yes, that was one of the first ones I found--and one of the least interesting. And hers was the only suggestion I saw for eating them topped with beans. I beg your pardon? I don't think so!

      2. Those look tasty! Do they have a caramelized flavor due to the browning at the edges? There's a panaderia owned by Guatemalans here in KC, so will have to make a visit, thanks!

        1 Reply
        1. re: amyzan

          Some have more of a caramel flavor than others. The one I don't have a shot of, the shatteringly thin one, has the most. And of course, that would make sense since the baking time would be proportionally longer.

          If you get to the KC panaderia, I'd love to hear what the owners have to say, if, that is, they'll divulge any secrets. And, naturally, what you think of the champurradas.

        2. Interesting! Champurradas might be good dipped in champurrado, the thick Mexican hot chocolate that's thickened with masa harina, just for fun...

          1. Here is a recipe from my Guatemalan Mother in-law


            4 ounces margarine or butter
            4 ounces vegetable shortening
            3 cups wheat flour
            1 cup corn flour
            1 tablespoon baking powder
            1/8 teaspoon salt
            3 eggs
            6 ounces of sugar


            Soften fats and add sugar, beating a bit.
            Sift dry ingredients and add to fat alternating with eggs.
            Roll the dough out a floured board and cut the champurradas out. Top with sesame seeds (optional).
            Placed on ungreased pans (you can use wax or parchment paper) and bake at 350 degrees for 25 min.

            1 Reply
            1. re: helucas

              Thank you so much for posting this, helucas. (And for even finding this thread in the first place!) Would wheat flour be regular all purpose flour do you think? I ask, because I have had champurradas that taste as though they are made with at least some whole wheat flour.

              Great timing, too. Guatemalan friends will be visiting in a couple of weeks so l have the perfect excuse to try these soon.