Imperial Sugar
Imperial Sugar

Chocolate Cherry Tamales

Chocolate Cherry Tamales Imperial


  • 50 corn husks
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cans (12 oz each) evaporated milk
  • 1 cinnamon stick (4-inch)
  • 1 3/4 cups Imperial Sugar Extra Fine Granulated Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 5 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 4 cups masa harina for tamales
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries or cranberries, chopped


  • Sweet cream or whipped cream
  • Maraschino cherries
  • Mint sprigs


  1. Combine corn husks and enough warm water to cover them in a large bowl. Press down with hands to submerge and soften corn husks. Let soak for at least 1 hour.
  2. Combine vegetable shortening and butter in a large mixing bowl. Mix for 8 minutes or until creamy.
  3. While shortening and butter are mixing, place evaporated milk and cinnamon stick in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until milk begins to simmer. Remove from heat and set aside to cool to room temperature. Discard cinnamon stick.
  4. Add sugar to vegetable shortening and butter mixture and mix on low speed until creamy. Add vanilla, baking powder, cocoa powder, and milk/cinnamon mixture. Mix on medium speed until mixed well; about 3 minutes. 
  5. Add masa harina, 1 cup at a time, making sure it is mixed well between each addition. Fold in pecans and dried cherries.
  6. Drain corn husks and pat dry. Hold corn husk with pointy side towards you.  Scoop 1/4 cup of masa mixture on corn husk and spread with a spoon.
  7. Fold one side of corn husk over filling, then fold other side, overlapping. Fold pointed side up and turn over to keep it from unfolding. Repeat with remaining husks and masa.
  8. Arrange tamales upright in a steamer. Fill with hot water right below the rack and cook over medium-high heat. Cover top of tamales with a layer of remaining husks and a damp towel; cover with lid, bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium, adding hot water as needed. Steam for 60 minutes or until when tested, corn husks peel off and masa separates easily form husk.
  9. Remove tamales from steamer. Remove and discard husk, serve topped with a dollop of sweet cream or whipped cream, maraschino cherries, and a sprig of mint.
Imperial Sugar Insight

Recipe developed for Imperial Sugar by Ericka Sanchez @nibblesandfeasts.

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