Atole de galletas combines the comforting warmth of traditional Mexican atole with the sweet, subtle flavor of Maria cookies. It’s a delightful and warm sweet drink perfect for capping off a meal or enjoying it on its own while snuggling up on a cold winter’s day.
Why I Love This Recipe
Traditional atole is a drink that, while sweet, I wouldn’t necessarily consider a dessert, which is what makes this atole so great! I get all the warm and cozy atole vibes, but something a bit sweeter and more appropriate as a dessert drink. Here’s why I think you’ll like it:
- It’s simple. This recipe has only five ingredients, and you’re mostly just simmering them until they come together in some vanilla cookie deliciousness!
- It’s approachable. For some, the texture of the masa harina of traditional atole can be a bit of an acquired taste. This recipe uses Galletas de María instead of the masa for a smoother and more approachable texture.
- It’s made from cookies. Are there bad things in life made from cookies? If there are, I haven’t met them.
What Is Atole de Galletas María?
Atole de Galletas María is a variation of the traditional Mexican drink atole (pronounced ah-toh-leh). Instead of being thickened with masa harina, atole de galleta uses the popular Mexican María cookies, which have a subtle vanilla flavor. These thin biscuit cookies are common in Mexican households and can easily be found in most grocery stores.
- Milk (2% or whole): I typically use whole milk when making atole, but either will work well in this recipe. The milk gives atole its rich, creamy texture that it’s famous for.
- Ceylon cinnamon sticks: Ceylon cinnamon is a smoother, lighter, and mildly sweeter cinnamon, making it perfect for atole. It can be found in most Mexican grocery stores or online. If you can’t find it or prefer to use what you have on hand, standard cinnamon works fine!
- Evaporated milk: Evaporated milk is simply milk that has had most of the water removed. In this recipe, evaporated milk helps with the consistency, keeping it as thick, creamy, and delicious as possible.
- María cookies: María cookies are the star of the show in this recipe. They are thin, crisp vanilla cookies that descend from British tea biscuits, similar in flavor to animal crackers. In this recipe, you’ll blend them and simmer them with the milk to create a luscious drink you won’t be able to get enough of. I recommend buying extra and forgiving yourself in advance for how many cookies you sneak while cooking!
- Piloncillo: Piloncillo (also called panela) is an unrefined brown sugar that adds notes of caramel, smoke, and even a little rum! It can be found in most Mexican grocery stores or online.
How to Make Atole de Galletas Maria
Place the milk and cinnamon sticks in a medium pot and cook over medium heat until the milk reaches a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally. The milk will steam gently, and tiny, frothy bubbles will form on the edges.
Meanwhile, blend the María cookies and evaporated milk until completely smooth.
Once the milk reaches a gentle simmer, slowly pour in the blended cookie mixture, gently stirring to combine.
Add the piloncillo and continuously stir to melt and thicken the atole for about 10 minutes. You’re done when the atole evenly coats the back of your stirring spoon! Once you’ve reached your desired consistency, discard the cinnamon stick.
Serve immediately in mugs and dust with cinnamon if desired.
Tips and Tricks
- Heat the milk mixture low and slow after bringing it to temp to keep it from burning.
- Can’t find piloncillo? You can use 1/2 cup of dark brown sugar instead.
- Piloncillo usually comes in 8-ounce cones. To break it apart, microwave it in a bowl in 15-second increments to soften the cone and break it apart for your desired amount.
- This atole does not require a cornstarch mixture like some other atoles. The blended cookie mixture acts as the thickening agent.
- You can adjust the thickness of the atole to your liking. To make it less thick, add the milk 1 cup at a time until it reaches your desired consistency.
Blender. I should make this blender a permanent resident of this section. I use it so much that I could recommend it for every recipe!
Glass measuring cups. These are the measuring cups I use in my kitchen, and I love them. They come in three sizes and are microwave-safe, making them great for everyday use.
Stainless steel ladle. When I think about Mexican hot drinks around the holidays like atole, I think of a pot on the corner of the stove with the heat on super low and a ladle like this one sticking out the top.
Storing and Reheating
To store, keep the finished and cooled atole in the fridge for up to 3 days. The longer it sits, the thicker it will become.
To reheat, add a splash of milk or water to the atole first. Give it a good stir, then heat it in the microwave or stovetop. Add more liquid until the thickness is to your liking.
- In a medium pot, place milk and cinnamon sticks and cook over medium heat until the milk reaches a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally. The milk will start to gently steam and small frothy bubbles form on the edge of the milk.
- While the milk reaches a simmer, blend Marias cookies and evaporated milk in a blender until completely smooth.
- Once milk reaches a gentle simmer, slowly pour blended cookie mixture into the milk, gently stirring to combine.
- Add piloncillo and continuously stir to melt the piloncillo and thicken the atole, about 10 minutes. The atole should evenly coat the back of your stirring spoon.
- Once atole has reached its desired consistency, discard cinnamon stick.
- Serve immediately in mugs and dust with cinnamon if desired.
- If you don’t have piloncillo, substitute ½ cup brown sugar.
- Piloncillo usually comes in 8 ounce cones. To break apart, microwave piloncillo in a bowl in 15 second increments to soften the cone and break apart for your desired amount.
- You can adjust the thickness of the atole to your liking. To make it less thick, add milk 1 cup at a time until it reaches your desired consistency.
Photography by Erin Jensen of The Wooden Skillet.