Waking up with a cold nose makes me wish I had planned ahead in one of several ways. I could have closed the windows the night before. I could have made soup; there are few things better than soup for breakfast. I could have placed a glass of scotch on my bedside table for a quick warming drink first thing. I don’t think that far ahead.

Fortunately an atole is quick to make and quick to warm up cold noses. This very old Mexican beverage is thickened with corn masa, or more conveniently instant corn masa flour. The drink isn’t exclusively corn, however, with wheat, rice and mesquite flour varieties also consumed.

Use chocolate in tablet form for this recipe, as it is rich enough to balance out the strong corn flavor. While the old favorite Abuelita and Ibarra tablet chocolate are perfectly satisfying, they are far sweeter than the product used to be before becoming popular in the American market. Try instead Rancho Gordo’s Stoneground Chocolate tablets. Barely sweetened and spiced, their flavor is pure chocolate, subtle hints of smoke and berries included.

Atole de Moka. Mocha corn drink.
Atole de Moka. Mocha corn drink.

Atole de Moka

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp instant corn masa flour (maseca)
  • 1/4 cup coarsely ground coffee
  • 1/2 Mexican chocolate tablet
  • 2 tbsp packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract.

In a small pot, whisk corn flour into two cups cold water. Add remaining ingredients except for vanilla extract. Bring to a simmer, and cook while stirring until the tablet has dissolved completely and the atole de moka has thickened. The liquid should have a dark sheen to it and just coat the back of a spoon.

Add vanilla extract. Pass through a fine mesh strainer. Any leftover atole can be gently reheated in a microwave or on the stovetop.

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