When thinking about which tamales to make for the workshop, I knew sweet tamales were definitely going on the menu. They are one of the most traditional Mexican desserts but many people have never even heard of them, let alone tasted one before.
What Are Sweet Tamales Made Of?
These Mexican desserts are similar to savory tamales in that the base is a masa, or dough, made with corn flour. The masa harina, or corn flour, is mixed with sugar and in this case, cocoa powder, butter, and milk instead of salt, lard, and broth like in a pork or chicken tamal.
The biggest difference between sweet and savory tamales however, is the way they are made. The savory tamales are typically masa dough that is wrapped around a filling. With authentic Mexican desserts like these Mexican chocolate tamales, the dough is made more like a cake batter where the butter and sugar are creamed together until super light and fluffy then the flour and milk are mixed in little by little to create an airy dough.
Sometimes the sweet dough gets filled but here the chocolate chips are folded in and the masa gets rolled up just as it is in the corn husks, making these a much easier version to make!
How Do You Eat Them
Mexican dessert recipes like these tamales are best eaten warm right out of the steamer when the chocolate chips have melted into gooey pockets. I like to take it a step further however and make some hot honey to drizzle on top. Other options might be:
Tamales Make The BEST Day of the Dead Recipes
Why wait for the holidays to enjoy these Mexican sweets? These Mexican chocolate bundles are great for celebrating Día de los Muertos too!
If you do give them a try, I can’t stress enough to really whip the butter (or coconut oil) and sugar together really well, some say for as long as 10 minutes in a KitchenAid or hand-held mixer. I think 3 or 4 minutes seems to be enough. Beating the fat like this is what make light, airy tamales, without this step the tamales can be dry and crumbly.
Looking for more?
Check out another favorite, Sweet Lime Tamales!Print
Mexican Chocolate Sweet Tamales
Sweet tamales are like light, fluffy sponge cake wrapped in a corn husk package. These are flavored with rich chocolate and drizzled with spicy honey.
- Prep Time: 1 hour
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
- Yield: 18–24 tamales 1x
- Category: dessert
- Method: steam
- Cuisine: Mexican
25–30 dried corn husks
3 cups masa harina flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter or coconut oil, room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 cups whole milk or unsweetened plant-based milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups (one 12-ounce bag) chocolate chips (I like bittersweet)
Cinnamon sugar and Spicy Honey, for serving
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Remove from heat and soak the corn husks, pushing them under water with kitchen tongs. Let soak 30 minutes then remove from the water and wipe clean. You will need 24 corn husks that are at least 4-5 inches wide at the bottom.
Meanwhile, combine masa harina, cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and chipotle powder in a large bowl. Whisk until completely incorporated.
Combine butter or coconut oil and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium until very fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Don’t skimp on this step, this is what gives you fluffy tamales.
Combine milk and vanilla in a liquid measuring cup.
Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl then add 1/3 of the masa mixture. Mix on low until combined. Add half of the milk, mix to combine, then repeat until all the masa and milk mixtures have been added, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go.
Add chocolate chips and mix on low just until combined.
Scoop 1/4-1/3 cup of the chocolate masa and roll into a 3-4 inch log with your hands. Place the corn husk on a clean surface with the wide side closest to you. Place the masa log on one side of the corn husk and roll the corn husk around the log, covering completely. Fold the skinny top half over the bottom half and place seam-side down on a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining corn husks and dough.
Fill the bottom of a tamale steamer with water then place the steamer rack on top. You can also use a pasta pot that has a removable liner or a large stock pot with a steaming basket. Place over high heat.
Once pot is filled with steam, carefully stand the tamales, open-side-up, in the pot so they are leaning on each other and don’t fall over and unravel. Cover tightly and steam for 45 minutes or until the dough is firm and cooked through. Check the water level occasionally to make sure the pot doesn’t dry out.
Serve warm with cinnamon sugar and spicy honey. Enjoy!
Tamales can be frozen uncooked or cooked for up to 3 months. Keep sealed tightly in freezer bags.
If you freeze them before steaming, follow the steaming instructions above to cook before eating. If you freeze them already steamed, rewarm them by heating a couple tablespoons of water in a frying pan, adding the tamales and cover until warmed through, about 15 minutes. They also can be reheated in the microwave, although the ends tend to get a little crusty.