When it’s really cold and ugly outside my family knows they’ll be coming home to a warm drink and fresh muffins.
I started this tradition when my boys were small. It was a rainy day here in California and my sister in law was teaching me how to make a delicious drink she called Atole (ah-toe-lay) using cornstarch, piloncillo, a cinnamon stick and milk. At this time I was somewhat new and unfamiliar to the Mexican culture, so I stood next to her watching her every move. She was an amazing cook and knew how to make great food out of little ingredients. I give her a ton of credit for teaching me how to cook, her along with her tias(aunts.)
I was young and new to the world of cooking without instructions. It was amazing to me that these women were able to make a whole meal without using instructions from a box, nor measuring spoons and cups. I wanted to do this, I wanted to cook just like them. For the next few years I did a lot of watching, a lot of trying, a lot of failing, A LOT of question asking, until I had finally figured it out.
Once I mastered the Atole, I found that muffins made a perfect pair and I’ve been making the two together ever since.
I love days like these. It’s cold outside, dark and rainy. I’m still in my pajamas, so are the girls. My bed isn’t made, sink is full of dishes and the laundry is piled up. BUT my house smells like warm Atole and freshly baked Muffins. I have no desire to leave the house today.
Atole de Vainilla
**Traditionally you would make the Atole with piloncillo and a cinnamon stick, as mentioned above. I had run out and really did not want to go to the market. I was able to substitute using ground cinnamon and brown sugar. Still turned out super yummy! OH, and we will be using my “secret weapon.”**
Gather 1/2 Gallon Milk, Ground Cinnamon, brown sugar and cornstarch. If you have Mexican Vanilla, grab that too! If you have regular vanilla that will do.
In a separate bowl whisk one cup of milk, 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon and 1/2 cup of corn starch until lumps are gone and it resembles liquid. Set aside.
Add the rest of the milk to a large pot. Begin to heat at medium-low heat. It is important to stir often so the milk does not stick to the bottom and burn. Add 1/2 cup loose brown sugar and 1 tbsp of the Mexican Vanilla. Heat for 5 minutes or so.
Slowly stir in the Milk and Cornstarch mixture. Stir slowly and frequently for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to Low and continue stirring slowly and frequently for the next few minutes until it has reached the consistency you prefer. I normally am stirring for 20 mins or more. *For a thicker Atole repeat step 1 less milk and more cornstarch.
Ladle into your favorite mug and enjoy!
Pumpkin Spice Muffins
Since it’s the Holidays and we’re not quite out of November yet I thought some pumpkin muffins would be awfully nice on a day like today. I pulled a can of pumpkin out of the pantry, the pumpkin pie spice and gathered the rest of the ingredients needed to make Pumpkin Muffins from scratch. Making muffins is super simple! I have a great recipe for vegan pumpkin muffins I will share soon too!
You will need:
- 2 cups Flour (I used whole wheat, but all purpose is totally fine)
- 1 cup Sugar
- 4 tsp Baking Powder
- 1/2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
- 1/4 tsp Cinnamon
- 3/4 cup Pumpkin Puree
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 tbsp Mexican Vanilla (Secret Weapon!)
Preheat oven to 375 – Makes 12 Muffins
I use my KitchenAid for practically everything but a good ole’ wooden spoon and medium size bowl will work just fine for this!
First add all dry ingredients
Then add the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
Spoon them evenly into a 12 count muffin tin *for added flavor sprinkle cinnamon & sugar on top of the muffins before sticking them in the oven*
Bake for 13-15 minutes, allow to cool for a few minutes then transfer to cooling rack.
Now sit back, catch a good Christmas Movie on TV and treat yourself to some nice warm atole with a fresh soft pumpkin muffin. Enjoy the cloudy weather and the rain if you are lucky enough to have it. Next time we’ll make a Mexican Chocolate Atole, YUM!