During the recent holiday season, I had a craving for Italian rainbow cookies. Much to my dismay, I couldn’t find them in any stores. Rather than go online and order something pre-made, I decided I’d make the cookies myself. I’d never made rainbow cookies before and creating them takes more steps than normal cookies, but the effort was well worth the rewards! I modified the recipe slightly to make them a bit healthier without sacrificing flavor and the results were delicious. They didn’t look perfect, but they tasted right and I’m sure I’ll perfect them over time. I ended up with enough cookies to last me for months and there’s still a batch frozen in the freezer.
The rainbow cookies were the first new baking technique I’ve used in quite some time, but that showed me that I can do anything I put my mind to. I applied that concept again this past weekend to satisfy my craving for tamales. I had a tamale appetizer at The Cheesecake Factory over the holidays and it was so yummy I almost licked the plate! I’ve never had tamales before but I was instantly addicted and wanted more. There aren’t any restaurants close to me that have tamales (I checked) so I decided I needed to make my own.
I found several recipes online, but finally settled on one by Marcela Valladolid from The Food Network because it didn’t involve making any meat filling like the others did. I bought all the ingredients (I used cooked frozen corn because it’s not sweetcorn season) I could find at the local grocery store and bought corn husks and a bamboo steamer from Amazon. The recipe says to stand them up in a boiler pot but I figured my luck they’d fall over and turn into soup so that’s why I opted for a bamboo steamer I could lay them down in. Two packages of frozen corn equaled 6 cups of corn and for the last cup, I cooked up some Iroquois Hulled White Corn from the Ganondagan State Historic Site. The combination of sweetcorn and hulled white corn was divine and I admit that I licked the mixer beaters.
Once the dough was mixed up, I wrapped it in the 10 corn husks I’d been soaking in water. There was enough dough to make at least 20 more tamales but I didn’t want to conquer such a huge batch all at once. Of the 10 I made Friday night, I ate 5 and it was difficult not to eat every last one!
I made a second batch yesterday afternoon and I still have enough filling for one more batch. Now that I’ve made tamales once, I have all sorts of ideas for recipe modifications and I’m sure by the end of winter, I’ll be a tamale making pro!