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Pinole Recipe

Chocolate Pinole Drink

This traditional Mexican staple makes a delicious drink.

Many types of corn are grown commercially, including familiar styles like sweet corn and popcorn. This pinole recipe from Chef Selena Cadenas calls for field corn or dent corn (a variety of field corn), which has a high starch content and a low sugar content and is typically used to make products like grits, masa flour, and bourbon. Dried, ground, and combined with cocoa nibs, cinnamon, sugar, and water or milk, it makes a delicious drink.

“Pinole is a tradition coming from my home, passed through the hands of my great-grandmother, to my grand-auntie, and on to me. It is part of who I am,” Cadenas says.


Yield: About 2 lbs. of powder (30 individual servings)
  • 2 lbs. fresh field or dent corn
  • 1/3 lb. untoasted cocoa nibs
  • 5 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • sugar to taste (optional)


Let the fresh corn dry out for a week or two until the husk is brittle. Remove the kernels from the cob and roast them in a pan over medium heat until golden brown (about 30 minutes), stirring and turning constantly so they don’t burn. (If a few kernels pop, don’t worry—it means the corn is cooked all the way through—you can keep the popped corn in the mixture or discard it.) Allow the corn to cool. In a skillet over very low heat, slowly toast cocoa nibs and cinnamon until their brown color deepens and the nibs are dry and brittle. Let the mixture cool.

Once the corn, nibs, and cinnamon are cool, mix them together and grind in a mill. The mixture should be ground as many times as necessary to achieve the texture of fine powder, which will make it easier to blend into water. Transfer the powder into a dry, tightly sealed container (or a zip-sealed bag with all the air pressed out), and store in a dry place for up to one month.

For each serving, blend 2 heaping tablespoons of powder in 8 ounces of room temperature water with sugar (optional) or another sweetener to taste, stirring vigorously or whisking with a molinillo to remove any lumps. To make a cold drink, add ice; to make a hot drink, add hot milk.

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