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Nov 15, 2006 08:00 PM

Your favorite atole additions?

I recently made atole for a first time:

-heated up a cup and a half of milk
-added sugar, chocolate, and cinnamon to taste
-poured boiling liquid into a blender with 1/5th cup Maseca

It made an incredibly frothy, almost puddinglike hot chocolate. It was the perfect compromise between a drink and an actual dessert.

What are other people's ways of making atole at home, and what are popular add-ins besides chocolate?

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  1. Why... Kahlua of course! ;)

    Atole can be mixed with pretty much anything. I've seen just plaim cinnamon ones, strawberry ones, coconut ones...


    9 Replies
    1. re: Dommy

      ...also delicious & traditional (there are many other varities I cannot think of right now):

      Honey & Dried Pasilla Chile
      Vanilla Extract
      Agave Nectar
      Baked Plaintain
      Roasted Sweet Potato
      Orange Blossom and/or Leaves
      Strained & Sweetened Black Beans

      There are also some savory varieties...

      Blanco (plain... good with sweet desserts)
      Fresh Corn Kernels
      Veracruz Chileatole (Ancho Chile, Epazote, Corn Kernels)
      Fresh Mexican Oregano
      Pumpkin Seed
      Turkey Broth

      1. re: Eat_Nopal

        This is AN INCREDIBLE list --thank you Eat Nopal for many atole cooking projects in my future!

        DiningDiva also described an atole from Michoacan that utilizes a fennel or anise like herb.

        The sweetened black bean is something I can't wait to try as a tamal filling at my local tortilleria.

        Have you made any of these? Especially the savory?

        1. re: kare_raisu

          The atole that Dining Diva mentioned is *atole de grano*, which is more a thick soup than a beverage. It's made with corn kernels and fennel.

          My particular favorite atoles are zarzamora (blackberry) and guayaba (guava). Champurado (chocolate) is also wonderful. On Wednesday, a friend and I breakfasted in Pátzcuaro on incredible corundas con crema y salsa de chile perón and two different kinds of atole.

          Add to EN's list:

          tamarindo (tamarind fruit)
          canela (cinnamon)
          ciruela (plum)

          1. re: kare_raisu

            "Have you made any of these? Especially the savory?"

            As a kid, I used to "make" Atole from the packages. I have never even thought of making it recently up until this thread... I will have to try making some for the holidays.

          2. re: Eat_Nopal

            I'd be very interested in a recipe for the Honey and Dried Pasilla Chile Atole.

            1. re: Anonimo

              This link has the basic Atole receipe... to enhance for Pasilla....


              Roast the Pasilla (Chile Negro not Ancho... which is a common confusion in Michoacan)...

              Soften in Hot Water (Save some Pasilla ribbons for later


              Then puree with the Pasilla a little bit of milk, add it & the Pasilla ribbons to the Atole as it is cooking... modestly sweeten with refined sugar...

              Then drizzle in some good, flavorful mesquite honey on top of the Atole b& swirl but do not dilute.

              1. re: Eat_Nopal

                "Roast the Pasilla (Chile Negro not Ancho... which is a common confusion in Michoacan)..."
                True.When my wife went to the mercado in Pátzcuaro to but Chile Pasilla, she was told it was the same as Chile Ancho. Later, I went, and saw Chiles Pasillas, asked what they were called, and was told, "Chile Negro"
                Fair enough.

                (Aside: Eat_Nopal, you are very knowledgeable about the cuisine of México. Can you reveal who you are In Real Life? Does have private messaging? I haven't seen it yet.)

                1. re: Anonimo

                  I don't think there is a private messaging feature. About me... I was born in Mexico City & my family moved to ELA when I was 5. As a teenager I went back to Mexico living both in D.F. & a small town in the highlands of Jalisco (with countless short trips to Puebla, Mexico State, Oaxaca, Guerrero, Zacatecas, Aguascalientes, Guanajuato & others).

                  After graduating high school in the U.S; I went on a 3 month road trip down the Pacific coast... cut-over through Tehuantepec... spent a couple of days in Guatemala... came back up to the Yucatan & Gulf.... with a few forays into Central Mexico.

                  During my college years in the U.S. I did a stint with a high end tour agency specializing in D.F. & surrounding areas.... building custom tours for people with certain culinary, anthropological & cultural interests. On several occassions I was asked to personally deliver the tours.

                  I started preparing simple meals for myself when I was a kid with two working parents. I was blown away by Mexico's culinary offering & when I returned to the U.S. I was haunted by it & wanted to replicate it.

                  At the time... the U.S. had not gone through its recent culinary revolution... so not only was it impossible to find comparable Mexican food... but there wasn't yet & decent widespread offering of quality California, Thai, Japanese, Italian etc.,... so the ideas of bringing quality Mexican cuisine permeated my thoughts.

                  About 5 years ago, I became what I consider to be a serious cook.... I can cook complex dishes from scratch, typically without any recipe (except the first time I attempt a particular dish)... and so some day I hope to retire from my professional career & go into the Food / Cultural Promotion biz.

                  If I am ever comfortable enough... I'd like to go back & get a PhD in some kind of history or politcal science field. A couple potential thesis:

                  > Why the PRI was the correct solution to Mexico's political quagmire following the revolution.

                  > Cultural Analysis of Mexico's crucial role in Early Jazz development contrasted with the country's disdain for the music throughout the 20th century.

                  > 16th Century Mexican influences on Spanish, Italian & French cuisine with focus on cooking & horticultural tecniques.

                  1. re: Eat_Nopal

                    Thanks for the personal profile, Eat_Nopal. Maybe the Chowhound administration ought to provide a space or a category for those who want to have a personal profile displayed.

        2. I'm sorry I'm late to this thread. I've had a craving for atole for awhile now and have been looking for a basic recipe. My Grandmother use to make it for us and now I wished I'd watched her make it.

          Now for the question; Can it be made with canned milk and water? I don't know why but I thought that she made it with canned milk and water.

          1. You most certainly can use canned milk & water... if you use non fat evaporated milk + water you can achieve a rich tasting atole that is virtually fat free & nutrtionally denser (greater protein, calcium etc.,) than using single strenght milk.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Eat_Nopal

              Thanks Eat_Nopal. Talked to dad too and he said abuelita did use canned milk so will try the fat free version and see if I can even come close to hers.

            2. Pecans - my mom makes my favorite atole with pecans. She also uses frozen strawberries in her strawberry version. Those are the only 2 flavors I grew up with. Also, she doesn't use Maseca or any corn based flour that I'm aware of, or at least I don't taste that distinctive flavor in her atole.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Mari

                Mexican supermarkets carry strawberry and chocolate flavored Maizena (and I vaguely recall having seen nut as well) to make atole without using masa. Maizena is pure cornstarch (it's also sold without flavorings, for general thickening) and makes an atole that IMHO has a disagreeably slick mouthfeel and very little flavor.

                My neighbor taught me to make atole using milk, whatever flavor I wanted, and a small ball of masa as thickener.

                Heat one liter of milk and a piece of cinnamon stick almost to boiling.

                Blend and strain the fruit or other flavoring you're using and add it to the milk.
                Put a cup of hot milk and a small ball of masa (1.5cm [1"] diameter) in the blender and blend until smooth, straining out any tiny bits of masa that remain.

                Add the masa/milk mixture to the milk/fruit mixture and heat until thickened, stirring constantly.

              2. Another thread on popping Amaranth, got me to researching it... learning more about how it fit within the Mesoamerican nutritional scheme... and then it hit me.

                Could pre-hispanic Atole have been made from Amaranth instead of Masa (which would make the most sense within the Mesoamerican nutritional & culinary scheme)? Sha-bing!

                The towns & remote areas in Mexico that were able to best resist Christianization & Colonialization to this day have Amaranth Atole traditions.

                (As a refresher Amaranth was a highly revered grain by the Aztecs & other tribes, it had the same place as Corn but was highly associated with human sacrifice & used alot more in offerings to deities like Huitziloptl <God of Warriors>... so the Spaniards did their best to eradicate it. Amaranth was so important that its elimation from the native diet resulted in malnourishment among the native population for generations until they adopted a good replacement... most likely dairy products.)

                Here is a contemporary recipe from Tlaxcala:


                5 Replies
                1. re: Eat_Nopal

                  Interesting. When I've come across amaranth I haven't known what to make with it, this recipe looks good.
                  Amaranth is high in protein (15-18%), fibre (3 times that of wheat), etc. I found this:
                  which also has a couple of recipes using amaranth.

                  1. re: Eat_Nopal

                    Alright... I bougth some of Bill's Red Mill whole ground Amaranth flour over the weekend, and I made Atole!

                    4 Cups of 1% Milk
                    1/4 Cup of Amaranth Flour
                    1/2 of a Piloncillo Cone (Maybe 2 or 3 tbsp of dark, raw sugar?)
                    1 Cinammon stick broken in halves

                    Mixed all throughly and started on a low flame for about 20 minutes... but I wasn't really stirring it so I got clumps. No problem I just let the mixture cool & passed it through the blender.

                    Tasted it... not bad. But I felt like something more assertive, so I added 1/2 tsp of Ground Cinnamon and another 1/2 tsp of Ground Ancho Chile... now we are talking! Nuked it in mug for 1 minute.

                    It was delicious with a side of nuked Spinach Pakoras and Cranberry-Ginger Chutney :)

                    For the next experiment... I want to get more authentic so I will replace the cow's milk with corn "milk", use a vanilla bean instead of cinnamon, and mesquite honey instead of piloncillo. Maybe I will also add an herb... hoja santa or fennel perhaps.

                    Question for Anonimo or Cristina.... does the Atole de Grano really have fennel in it, or is it Hoja Santa or some other similar herb? I don't know the history of fennel, but it seems more of a Southern French ingredient.

                    1. re: Eat_Nopal

                      "Question for Anonimo or Cristina.... does the Atole de Grano really have fennel in it, or is it Hoja Santa or some other similar herb? I don't know the history of fennel, but it seems more of a Southern French ingredient."

                      Eat_Nopal, the herb or greens used in atole de grano is known here as "anicillo". It looks kind of fern-like. I have a photo somewhere..

                      1. re: Anonimo

                        Thank you very much, you lead me to the answer. Looks like a native plant similar, but not related to anise. There are so many native herbs used in Mexican cuisine it is very, very hard to keep track of all of them.

                        Doing some research on tiny Tlaxcala revealed about 200 species endemic to Tlaxcala... of which 20 some had some culinary or medicinal purpose...and of course the naming conventions in Spanish are almost non-existent.

                        1. re: Anonimo

                          Another question... do you know what other uses they have for anicillo? It seems like it would be perfect in a Pescado Blanco Tamale.

                          (BTW, the one time I visited the region and went to the monarch sanctuary, I remember eating Pescado Blanco at a small village b&b.... where it was wrapped in green corn husks & stuffed with spicy vegetables & steamed.... have you come across anything like that in Patzcuaro?)