Unwrap one of these, and the heady scent of cinnamon and chocolate wafts out. Pick up the filling with your fingers, or drizzle it with a little chocolate sauce and eat with a fork. For a retro taste, add miniature marshmallows to the filling to create s'mores tamales.
Serve warm, accompanied by Mexican vanilla ice cream, if desired.
Make Ahead: The tamales can be assembled two weeks in advance, wrapped tightly in several layers of plastic wrap and frozen. Defrost them overnight in the refrigerator, then proceed with the steaming instructions. The tamales can also be steamed, cooled, wrapped tightly in several layers of plastic wrap and frozen. To reheat, defrost completely, arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet, cover tightly with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes or until warmed through.
Servings: 15 - 18 dessert tamales
- 21 dried corn husks
- 2 cups masa harina
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups whole milk
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips or disks
Place the corn husks in a large bowl and cover them with boiling water. Weigh the husks down with a heavy plate or bowl to ensure that they are submerged; soak for 15 minutes, or until the husks are pliable. Transfer to a colander to drain.
Use a spoon to combine the masa harina, cinnamon, salt, vanilla extract and milk in a medium bowl.
Combine the butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer at medium-high speed until the mixture is light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the masa mixture and mix until fully incorporated.
To wrap the tamales, tear about 3 of the corn husks lengthwise into thin strips; you will use these to tie the tamales closed. Pat a corn husk dry and lay it on a work surface with the tapered end pointing toward you. Spoon about 1/4 cup of the masa filling onto the center of the husk and spread or pat it evenly into a rectangle about 4 inches across and 3 inches top to bottom.
Arrange a tablespoon of chocolate chips in a vertical line down the center of the filling. With your fingers, bring together the two long sides of the corn husk and press the two edges of filling together to surround the chocolate chips. Roll the corn husk around the filling until the tamal is closed and no filling shows. Use two of the corn husk strips to firmly tie the ends of the tamal closed. (The strips are stronger than you think.) Repeat with the remaining corn husks and filling.
Have ready a large pot with a steamer basket attached. (Or use a roasting pan with an elevated wire rack.) Pour 1/2 inch to 1 inch of water into the pot. Layer the tamales in the basket and transfer to the pot, making sure the water level is lower than the bottom of the basket, so it doesn't touch the tamales. Cover the tamales with any remaining soaked corn husks, then cover with the pot lid. Steam over medium-low heat for about 90 minutes or until the corn husks can easily be pulled away from the masa filling.
Adapted from a recipe by Andrea Duty, owner of Bake Sale, a dessert catering company in Austin.
Tested by Jane Touzalin.
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