Holiday Tradition: Atole/Champurrado recipe

Although winter has yet to officially begun, the cold weather season has already started (well sometimes). Thus bring in the warm drinks. A couple of year ago, my adventurous attitude persuaded me to try something new. I decided to attempt making Atole/Champurrado.
Atole is a drink that is made with masa (lime-treated corn flour)–yea, my first thought was “eww.” But listen up before you turn away without trying it first. This drink goes way back to the time of the Aztecs and Mayans. It’s pre-Hispanic, man. Which means this drink has to be something, right?
*Both Atole and Champurrado recipes are from Naturally Healthy Mexican Cooking  cookbook.
Here’s the recipe for the Atole:

Healthy Atole

  • 1/2 cup masa
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 salt
  • 5 cups milk or water
  • 4 Tbs Agave nectar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Put corn flour in large pot with cinnamon and salt.

Slowly stir in milk and water until corn flour has completely dissolved.

Add agave nectar and vanilla, bring to boil, and cook at a light simmer for 5 minutes, stirring constantly to keep from clumping and sticking to bottom.

Since my main goal was to make the Champurrado, I used water instead of milk. Atole is typically made with piloncillo (unrefined whole sugar cane), but agave is a healthier alternative. I drunk the Atole and I loved it. So to make Champurrado I only needed to add chocolate and let it cook for about 5 minutes or until the chocolate is melted. I thought Champurrado would be Ama-zing because I love the Atole. Now this is Atole with chocolate! And chocolate makes things taste better…BUT, I couldn’t get past the porridge texture to enjoy the flavor. The recipe for Champurrado:

Champurrado

  • Atole (see recipe above)
  • 2 ounces of 70% cacao chocolate

Add chocolate to the atole after it has simmered for 4 minutes.

Cook for 1 minute, stirring until chocolate has melted.

And that’s it. I used Abuelita because it’s my favorite hot chocolate. I almost want to attempt this again and change it up, but I can’t get used to that texture. Atole is canvas to which a chef can dream. I found out that if you add salsa and corn to it, it makes Chileatole. Ah! You can make the Atole of your wildest dreams!

What would you add to your Atole?

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