Evadrepus' Chocolate Tamales
I talked about these a lot in kinchat before xmas, so I figured I'd put up a simplified version of it for you to give it a try. Simplified recipe because the complex one from scratch involves buying a TON of ingredients that you'd likely never use again, plus adds hours onto prep time. They taste decent enough with this recipe (this is the version I used this year since I needed to cook a hundred cookies at the same time), although the totally from scratch recipe still had superior flavor. I am a perfectionist.
2 boxes of chocolate cake mix. Get a good moist one, cheap on this and you'll regret it. The cake mix usually will need 2-3 eggs and veggie oil too. Buy this if you don't have some at your house for some reason.
1 pack of corn husks. Don't get the 5lb pack unless you're hispanic and likely to make tamales again.
A big, deep, pan or something to hold the soaking husks
Several cookie trays
Bowl to mix stuff
A tablespoon (despite what Neo says, there is a spoon)
Open the bag of corn husks and put them in a 13x9 pan or something similar. Cover them in water. You'll likely need to put something else on top of them to prevent them from floating out of the water (I use a cookie sheet). Leave them sit in the water overnight.
Sort out your husks. The ones of the top, the ones that are kinda dry, put aside. Using these will, at best, be annoying, and at worst, cause a fire. Husks are natural, so they are all different sizes. Put the smallest ones and the biggest ones on the side. You will need 15-25 large ones, depending on how much batter you end up with and how much you put in each tamale. Take the smallest ones and tear them into strips. You want the strips about a half centimeter or so in width and a good 4" or so long. It doesn't have to be precise, but make them wide enough so that you can use them to tie knots later, so about shoelace width.
Turn the oven on. Set it to 325-350, depending on how good your oven is. In my old one, I had to go 350, the new one I found that 325 was plenty.
Make up the cake batter per the box instructions. Come on back when you're done.
Lay out one of the large tortillas flat, with the side up that makes it want to curl up around the contents. Place 2 or so tablespoons of batter in the middle of the husk. Don't spread it, just blop it down there in in the middle. How much you use depends on how big the husk is. Use more or less as you feel the need, but do not fill it or you will have a very messy oven. Close the husk up around it gently. There should be some overlap on the edges, and don't make it tight so that it oozes out the side. The battle is going to rise, and if you do it right, just about explode out of the husk, so you need some gimme room in there. After you close it up, take those stips you made earlier and tie the ends shut. This is annoying, yes, but it makes the presentation so much better. When you're done, you'll have what looks like a really oddly wrapped package. Put this on a cookie sheet/pan. Repeat as needed until you fill the pan. They can touch each other, don't worry about spacing.
Cook 15-20 minutes, depending on what mix you're using. You'll have to start checking them after 15 min or so. You should see them really plump up. Use a toothpick or something to see if it's cooked all the way through. Once they are done, take off the little ties - they are a cooking aid. If you've done everything right, you'll have what looks like a completely normal, if somewhat fat, tamale. However, inside is basically a cupcake. For the squimish - it tastes like chocolate, not corn.
Extra stuff: After putting the batter in the husk, break off one of the rectangles of a herchey bar. Break this in half. Place them end to end in the batter and close it as normal. Now your cupcake will have a melty chocolate center. You can also dust all of them (on the inside) in powdered sugar before putting the batter in. This is REALLY messy, but also really takes the sweet taste up several levels, plus also makes them look much cooler when they are opened as they tend to almost fall off the husk. Make it a thin layer though, otherwise you'll get carmelization, but only enough to make it taste funny.
I also have a cold version of these I do that is a lot easier, but I'm still trying to make them have the fun pizazz these do.