This beverage, specifically a type of atole, is traditionally prepared with masa harina (flour for making corn tortilla dough) to thicken it. For variations, include other flavorings and spices: a tablespoon of grated orange zest; a teaspoon of crushed aniseed or almond extract; or a pinch of grated nutmeg or 2 to 3 whole cloves.
1/4 cup masa harina or 2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 oz. Mexican chocolate, grated
1/4 cup light brown or granulated sugar
2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half, plus extra for garnish
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup whole milk
1. In a medium saucepan, combine masa and 1 cup cold water. Stir over medium heat. Add chocolate, brown sugar, and cinnamon sticks and stir constantly until mixture has thickened. Add vanilla.
2. Increase heat to high and slowly pour in milk. Stir until mixture has thickened again and easily coats back of spoon, 1 or 2 minutes. Remove from heat and remove cinnamon sticks.
3. Using molinillo, whisk, or hand beater, whisk briskly to form frothy head. Serve hot, with cinnamon stick garnish if desired.