Cooking is an artistic process and recipes often evolve to reflect the cook’s tastes and preferences. I came up with this version of atole because I have a seemingly bottomless box of Argo cornstarch and use only a tablespoon or less at a time to thicken sauces. Some atole recipes use masa harina, fresh corn masa that is dried and made into powder, instead of corn starch. The thickness of atole is also a matter of preference. It is sometimes as thin as milk or nearly as thick as custard. Mexicans often enjoy atole as a celebratory beverage on winter holidays such as Dia de los Muertos in November.
This winter, try atole instead of traditional hot cocoa. It has a similar consistency, but the flavor is a nice change of pace. It is very rich and filling with a texture similar to homemade pudding that has not set. Preparation takes approximately 10 minutes from start to finish.
Easy Atole Recipe
Yield: 2 to 3 servings
2 cups milk
1 cup cold water
2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
11/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pour the milk into a medium saucepan and set aside.
Combine cornstarch and water. Stir until smooth.
Whisk this cornstarch mixture, sugar, and cinnamon into the pan of milk.
Stirring constantly, cook over medium heat until the mixture comes to a boil.
Reduce heat and allow the atole to simmer until it thickens a bit, about 3 minutes. Continue stirring to keep the atole smooth.
Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.
Transfer to mugs and serve warm. If desired, sprinkle with additional cinnamon.
Atole Recipe Tips
Stirring the cornstarch and water together helps keep this beverage smooth. Do not skip this step or the cornstarch will clump.
There is no need for a dollop of whipped cream. Whisking adds a frothy head to the atole.
For richer flavor, try using additional milk in place of the water. Watch the milk closely so it does not scorch or boil over.
Brown sugar helps create the signature flavor, but you can substitute an equal amount of white sugar.
Adjust the quantity of cinnamon and sugar to suit your preferences.
Add pureed fruit or flavored syrups to create more flavors.
This warm, frothy beverage makes a tasty breakfast or winter treat. Try serving it with cinnamon toast, donuts or churros for dipping.