Sweet Tamales made with raisins and sweetened with cinnamon and sugar. Easy to make and perfect for holidays and celebrations with family and friends.
What are sweet tamales?
Sweet tamales are a Mexican dessert made from a sweet masa corn dough and filled with a variety of fruit, nut and sugary fillings. Common fillings include raisins, pineapples, fruit preserves, cajeta and dulce de leche.
To give the tamales a festive touch, the masa is sometimes mixed with food coloring to give the dough a bright pink or yellow color.
Ingredients in Sweet Tamales
These sweet raisin tamales are one of my favorite kinds to make because they’re so easy! Here’s what you’ll need:
- Raisins – I used a combination of regular black raisins and golden raisins for a bit of variety.
- Sweet Masa Tamale Dough – You’ll need some masa harina (I used Maseca), canola oil (or other vegetable oil with a neutral flavor), salt, baking powder, ground cinnamon and granulated sugar. This dough is very similar to regular masa for tamales, but includes the sugar and cinnamon for that sweet flavor.
- Corn Husks – You’ll need about 25-35 corn husks (about 1/4-1/3 pound). Dried corn husks can be easily found in most hispanic grocery stores or online.
How to make Sweet Tamales
- To get the raisins plump and juicy, you need to rehydrate them in some hot water.
Simply place the raisins in medium microwave-safe bowl, cover them with water and microwave them on high for 3-4 minutes until the water is very hot. Cover them with aluminum foil and let them sit in the hot water for about 10-15 minutes. Drain the water and set aside.
When you uncover the bowl, the raisins will be larger because they’ve absorbed some of the water. Rehydrating them makes sure that each bite of the sweet tamales includes a nice juicy pop from the raisins that is so satisfying!
- Mix together masa ingredients to make the dough.
First, mix together the dry ingredients (masa harina, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt) followed by the oil. Then mix in the rehydrated raisins and water. The dough will be very wet like a thick hummus and look like the photo above.
- Assemble the sweet tamales.
This is the easiest type of tamale to make because it doesn’t require spreading the masa! Simply scoop a big spoonful of masa into the middle of the softened corn husks and close. Since the raisins are already mixed into the dough, you don’t have to “fill it” like savory tamales.
- Steam and eat!
Cook the tamales open side facing up in a steamer pot. A batch of 25-35 sweet tamales like in this recipe will take about 2 or so hours to steam. To check and see if they’re cooked through, carefully remove a tamale and open it up. The masa should easily separate from the corn husks and it should be fairly firm.