Traditional Latin American Christmas favorites vary from country to country. However, almost all Latin American countries have some sort of sweet, hot beverage and crispy, crunchy, sugary desserts perched on the stovetop ready to go during the month of December. Atole reigns throughout Mexico and Central American countries. Atole is a hot drink consisting of corn starch thickened milk, and sometimes other flavorings like vanilla, chocolate or fruit. It is a thick, luxurious beverage often times enjoyed for breakfast or with a late-night desert. My atol-atte adds a little spin to the traditional concoction. A dark chocolate and coffee atole. Why? Well, why not? When the nights are cold, some people want hot chocolate, some people want coffee, some people want atole. So why not put them all together.
Although I added measurements to the list of ingredients, the below is more a how-to rather than an actual recipe. Amounts should be adjusted based on preference. The quantities I chose seem to create a mug of atole that brings out the bitterness of the chocolate, with just a lingering coffee taste mellowed out by a little sweetness from the sugar.
Buñuelos seem to be the red-headed step-child of Latin-American desserts. They are often overlooked in favor of more popular desserts like flan or churros. Although there are many variations throughout Latin America, Buñuelos are normally made from a flour-based dough that is deep-fried to perfection then passed through a mixture of cinnamon and sugar and/or drizzled with honey or brown sugar syrup. Easy to make and have on hand to snack on during the holidays or give away as edible bundles of sugary heaven.
-2 teaspoons of ground coffee or instant espresso;
– ¼ of water;
-1 quart of milk;
-3 tablespoons of corn starch;
-8-10 tablespoons of dark cocoa powder;
– ¼ teaspoon of ground cinnamon;
-¼ cup of sugar;
WHAT YOU DO:
Brew strong coffee using the 2 teaspoons of coffee and ¼ of water. Set aside and let cool completely. Pour milk into a large saucepan and heat on medium-high, stirring from time to time until it begins to simmer. Stir in dark cocoa powder, sugar and cinnamon and completely whisk into milk. Dissolve corn starch in cooled coffee. Once milk mixture begins to boil whisk in corn starch and coffee mixture. Continue whisking until it begins to thicken and the atole becomes shiny. Bring heat down to low. Keep on low heat until ready to serve making sure to stir occasionally in order to keep a skin from forming on the top.
– 2 cups of flour tortilla mix (masa para tortillas de harina);
– 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon;
– ½ cup of sugar;
WHAT YOU DO:
Mix tortilla mix and warm water, according to package directions, until a dough is created. Dough is ready when it transforms from dry, crumbly bits to a smooth, slightly sticky ball. Form into 1-2oz. balls (golf-sized balls) and set aside for at least 30 minutes to let dough rest.
Once dough has rested. Lightly flour working surface, rolling pin and hands. Using the heel of your hand, flatten out dough balls to form a flat disc. Either continue using the heel of your hand, or use a rolling pin, to achieve about an 1/8 inch thin tortilla (just think about how thin tortillas normally are and you will be fine) rolled into a perfect circle (err-oblong, oval, hexagon, something that resembles a circular saw blade, etc.). In a non-stick or cast iron skillet, heat about two inches of oil on medium heat. While oil heats up, mix cinnamon and sugar in a plate. When oil begins to glisten gently slide tortilla into the oil. Let fry for 2-3 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Using tongs flip tortilla and fry for an additional 1-2 minutes or until it reaches crispy doneness.
Immediately remove tortilla from the oil and drop into the cinnamon and sugar mixture.
Coat both sides, lightly. A little sugar goes a long way. Continue with the remaining tortillas, adding more oil to the pan as needed and adjusting the temperature of the heat accordingly.