The Yucatan… a land of sun, Mayan ruins, and a cuisine influenced both by Caribbean and European cultures. This beautiful locale is also a wonderful destination when planning a family-friendly culinary vacation getaway. Plus, Mexico makes a great escape during the cold-weather months with its tropical climate. (The temperatures reach at least 80 degrees Fahrenheit nearly all year round!)
With its hot weather climate, the region also has some wonderful ways to cool off, and that’s not just referring to dipping your toes in the crystal clear waters. Ice creams are another delectable way to savor the flavors of the region, and one such recipe — fun to make with your kids — is the Mexican version of an ice cream float. Down in the Yucatan it goes by the name champola.
Originally made in the Caribbean, this dessert was more like a smoothie, made as it was with gaunábana (a tropical fruit), milk, and sugar. When it came to the Yucatan about six decades ago, the recipe was modified and further simplified as a glass of milk with a scoop of ice cream or sorbet, although it was still often made with gaunábana.
Today though don’t be surprised for the champola to be made with horchata, an almond milk, and as our partners in the Yucatan encourage: have fun with the flavors and mix up the kind the ice creams you mix with the horchata!
Mexican Ice Cream Float
Prep time: 10 minutes (plus steeping time)
Cook time: 0 minutes
Cook method: Blend, Assemble
- 1/2 cup long grain uncooked white rice
- 1/4 cup blanched, peeled almonds
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/4 cup sugar, or to taste
- 3 cups cold water (or 2 cups water, 1 cup whole milk)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups ice cream of choice
1. First make the horchata. Blend the uncooked rice, almonds, and cinnamon stick in a blender or food processor until very fine. Add the sugar and 2 cups of the water, then blend or pulse again. Add the rest of the ingredients. (If you’d like a traditional Mexican horchata, use only water. But if you prefer the slightly creamier version you find in the U.S., feel free to use 1 cup whole milk.)
2. Chill for 8-10 hours. Strain through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth and store in the refrigerator.
3. To make one float, pour eight ounces of horchata into a glass. Then add the ice cream right on top of the milk, and enjoy with a spoon and straw – it’s just that easy!
By Peg Kern
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