Tamales are a unique Pre-Columbian dish that is believed to have originated in Mesoamerica, the land between North and South America. Mexican tamales are perhaps the best-known version, however, almost all of the Central and South American cultures have adopted the dish into their own style of cooking.
Tamales are a complete meal in a portable form. In most versions, tamales are made from a mixture of corn dough (masa) and filling, wrapped in a banana leaf or corn husk, and then steamed. The corn masa becomes firmer when steamed, and the tamale can be unwrapped and eaten on the go. Archeological evidence points to tamales being consumed by the ancient Aztec and Mayan cultures. The earliest tamales were simple. They were made with beans and squash and roasted over a fire. When Europeans brought chicken, pork, olives, raisins, and other foods with them to the New World, then tamales became more elaborate.
And, since this is a Chocolate Blog, here's a unique version: Chocolate Tamales. Mix up a batch to celebrate today's holiday--or save the recipe for Cinco de Mayo!
1 cup milk
1 pound DARK Mexican chocolate, 65-75% cacao, chopped
1 pound butter
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 pounds corn flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
24 corn husks
Preheat oven to 350.
Boil milk and add chocolate. Stir constantly until chocolate is completely melted. Add butter and sugar. Mix until smooth. Set aside to cool.
Mix corn flour and baking powder together in bowl. Slowly add chocolate mixture and mix by hand for 10 minutes.
Grease 2 (12 cup) muffin pans and line with corn husks. Fill with chocolate tamale mixture and bake for 20 minutes.
You might also want to try this recipe for Mexican Chocolate Sweet Tamales with Hot Honey from Hola Jalapeno.
Or this recipe from Rick Bayless for Chocolate Tamales
Or this delicious recipe from Mission Chocolate for Sweet Dark Chocolate Tamales
Here's a recipe for Chocolate Stuffed Tamales from Deb Lindsey for the Washington Post.