Sweet Tamales
(courtesy of Bertha Miranda, owner/chef, Bertha Miranda’s Mexican Restaurant in Reno. Makes 2 dozen)

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Essential Utensils

1 large steamer pot with strainer
1 medium-sized saucepan
1 large, flat baking pan or mixing bowl
1 colander
1 regular tablespoon

Note: All ingredients can be found at most grocery stores, in the Hispanic foods or baking aisle, or your favorite Mexican specialty store.

5 pounds prepared corn masa dough
1½ pounds brown sugar cane
1 cinnamon stick
2 soup-sized spoonfuls vanilla extract
2 tablespoons anise seed
1 pound raisins
1 pound pecans, chopped (optional)
1 package (2 pounds) corn husks

In a saucepan, mix 1 cup water with brown sugar cane, cinnamon stick, and vanilla over medium heat for 5 minutes.

Once cooked and dissolved, add mixture to masa in a large, flat baking pan or mixing bowl and add raisins, anise seed, and pecans (if using).

Once all ingredients are mixed together into masa, let rest 15 minutes for flavors to marry. 

Clean and rinse corn husks with water and place in colander to drain for 15 minutes.

Hold a corn husk flat in one hand, then spread 2 tablespoons of prepared masa evenly over husk. Fold and wrap corn husk three ways, leaving an opening at the top.

Add 1 quart of water to steamer pot, place strainer on top, and lay tamales diagonally inside the strainer with the openings facing up.

Once the pot is filled with tamales, cover with foil and a tight lid and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

When fully cooked, remove corn husks and enjoy tamales with your favorite traditional Mexican drink, such as hot chocolate or coffee.

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