The drink of the day tomorrow, this Thursday, January 6th, will be champurrado, the Mexican corn masa beverage flavored with chocolate. It's what traditionally goes with the rosca de reyes, a ring-shaped sweet bread baked for El Día de los Tres Reyes (Three Kings Day), which is the Latino 12th night celebration.
But watch how you say champurrado. Slur the final o, and you might wind up with a cookie instead of a mug of the hot, thick, sweet drink. Yes, there is a champurrada. It's a plain sugar cookie designed to be dunked in champurrado.
La Morenita Bakery in Cypress Park bakes its vanilla-scented champurradas in two shapes. One is round, the other is elongated, just right for dipping into tall, narrow mugs.
Talk about one-stop shopping. You can get all your essentials for a three kings party at La Morenita. That includes champurrado, champurradas and a rosca. This year's breads are elaborately decorated with quince, guava and green apple pastes and preserved figs from Oaxaca, also cherries, snowy mounds of sugar and bands of sweet, egg-enriched flour paste.
The downside is, if you get the tiny figure of the baby Jesus baked into the bread, you're obligated to throw a party February 2nd, which is El Día de la Candelaria or Candlemas Day.
The real downside is, if you wait until Thursday to pick up a rosca, you may miss out. Last minute shoppers compete to snatch them as they emerge from the oven. The demand is so great that La Morenita expects to have sold at least 1,000 by closing time, which is 9 p.m.
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La Morenita Bakery: 1157-1159 Cypress Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 222-7953.