Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Easy Atole (Mexican Hot Drink)

During Christmastime, Mexican families everywhere enjoy homemade atole, a cornstarch-based Mexican hot chocolate drink, also known as champurrado. One of my tias still likes to make her atole from scratch but I learned from my grandmother that one can make super easy atole (AH-toh-lay) from a package: Maizena.

You can find Maizena in most grocery stores now. Maizena is a brand of Mexican cornstarch. You want to buy the flavored cornstarch which comes in 1.59 oz packages. They have all kinds of flavors from vanilla to strawberry, chocolate to cinnamon. For this recipe, though, you will need the chocolate flavored maizena. You will also need cold water, whole or 2% milk, sugar and cinnamon sticks, and follow the directions on the package.

First, mix the package contents with cold water. DO NOT mix it with hot water. This mixture is called a slurry.

Cornstarch + Cold Water = Slurry

In a large sauce pot, slowly bring milk to a boil. Stir frequently so that you do not burn the milk. Once the milk is hot enough pour the slurry (the maizena and cold water) mixture and stir with a wire whisk.

Add sugar to taste and keep stirring with the wire whisk until it gets to a slightly thick consistency and a glossy finish. Serve immediately with a few cinnamon sticks for decoration.

We like to drink our atole super hot and with a side of sweet tamales. YUMMY!

Pictures courtesy of cookingmadesimple.net

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