A Family Tradition of Christmas Tamales

Christmas Tamales | Black Girl Chef's Whites


This story and recipe are very close to my heart.

This is a story about family traditions. Traditions passed down from generation to generation in America for the past 90 years. Before that, it was passed on for many more generations by the family in Mexico.

My daughter and I have become a small part of this tradition, because this is the story of good friends I have known for a long time. Friends who I share many memories with, friends who held my infant daughter as she was baptized. Friends who have become family.

I hope you have cherished family traditions also, and if not, it is never too late to start some.

Please click here to read A 90-Year Tradition of Tamales on Christmas Eve.


Merry Christmas!

Easy DIY Holiday Treats

Shockingly Delicious' Honey Mustard Pretzel Crunch


We are in the final stretch, rounding the corner to the big day! Christmas is almost here!

I compiled a a list of a few easy to make DIY Holiday Treats over on Mom.me.  These make great gifts for the teacher, co-worker, postal worker, gardener, etc. in your life.

It’s not too late, so get going on these great Easy DIY Holiday Treats!


Raspberry Dessert Tamales

This year I did something I have wanted to do for years. I made sweet tamales!

If you do not live in an area with a large Mexican population, than you probably did not even know sweet tamales even existed. I first made them with my daughter’s Godmother Victoria, who is Mexican-American, a few years ago on a whim. She had never made them, so we got some premade sweet masa dough from a Hispanic store, a couple of cans of pineapple and went to town! Victoria’s daughter Callie and son Antonio helped make and eat the tamales. Even Ruby, who was about two at the time, ate one. They turned out pretty good, and I have wanted to make them again ever since.

Every Christmas Eve, my daughter Ruby and I spend the day with Victoria and her family, who do a huge tamale production that involves giant bowls of masa dough and multiple fillings! This year they are making Pork with Mole Rojo and Vegetarian with Cheese, Fresh Salsa and Soy Filling. I usually tote home a bag with a few tamales to share with mom, and some to eat at a later time.  This year, I got to bring some tamales to the party!

I had a few coupons from Driscoll’s Berries, so I went to the market and got some gorgeous, sweet raspberries. Even if your berries are sweet, be sure to sprinkle them with sugar to bring out the  the juices.

Instant masa flour can be found in Hispanic markets and many supermarkets around the country. It can also be found online.

Tamale Making Tips

When making the tamales place the narrow end of the corn husk closest to you. Spread the masa dough thinly on the corn husks, then top with the filling.

Fold the two sides closed, then fold the narrow end up. Tie the tamale closed using a piece of corn husk.

Place a plate or steamer basket in the bottom of a large stock pot. Put a few inches of water into the pot, just to the level of the plate, then place the tamales into the pot. Cover the tamales with a damp towel, then a tight fitting lid.

I am actually finishing this post at Victoria’s house, and made everyone try them before I posted the recipe. As her sister Rebecca said, “Oh, you want a REAL Mexican to try them, huh?”


Recipe: Raspberry Dessert Tamales


  • 3-4 pints fresh raspberries
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 cups instant masa harina
  • 1 stick + 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup turbinado or raw cane sugar
  • dried corn husks, soaked in hot water for one hour, drained and patted dry


  1. Place the raspberries into a medium bowl.
  2. Sprinkle the raspberries with the sugar, stir to mix.
  3. Place the raspberries into the refrigerator until ready to use.
  4. In a mixer on medium speed, combine the masa harina and butter, until combined and crumbly.
  5. Add the orange juice and vanilla, mix until combined.
  6. Slowly pour in the sugar, mix for about one minute, until the masa dough is well combined.
  7. Spread about 2 tablespoon of masa dough onto a corn husk, leaving about 1/2″ border on the side.
  8. Place about 4-5 raspberries into the center of the masa.
  9. Fold the sides together, then tie with a strip of corn husk.
  10. Place a steamer basket or overturned plate into a large stock pot, add a few inches of water, just to the bottom of the basket.
  11. Place the tamales onto the basket, cover with a damp towel, then a tight fitting lid.
  12. Steam the tamales for one hour.
  13. Remove the tamales from the steamer and let cool slightly before serving.
  14. Makes 14-17

Preparation time: 45 minute(s)

Cooking time: 1 hour(s)

Christmas Cookie Masterpieces!

Yes, they are masterpieces! Created by five and six year old artists in my daughter’s kindergarten class with nothing more than food coloring pens and crispy, Christmas shaped cookies made from the Master Cookie Dough.

This isn’t a new recipe using the master cookie dough. I just wanted to share these delightful creations that brought a smile to my face, and I hope they bring a smile to yours.

You will notice that some of the cookies are missing bits and pieces, such as angel without a wing or stars with only four points. That is because they were eaten. The cookies bake up very crisp, and as the children decorated them, they became a little over zealous and pressed down too hard, which would break the cookie. I told them if they broke off a piece they could eat it, and continue to decorate. But then, they breakage started to accelerate! Wait a minute. . . did these kids think I was born yesterday! They weren’t going to have any cookies left to decorate! I quickly put a stop to all the cookie breaking and eating, and the decorating continued smoothly, or as smoothly as it can with a bunch of five and six year old kids.
























Candy Cane Cookies

Cookie #2 in the 2012 series using the Master Cookie Dough is a chocolaty, crunchy delight. Crushed candy canes add a hint of minty freshness, while the rich dark chocolate adds balance to the sweetness of the cookie and candy.

If dark chocolate is not your thing, they would be equally good with milk or white chocolate drizzles. Or a combination of dark and white, or milk and white, or dark and milk, or . . .  oh, you get it.

Recipe: Candy Cane Cookies


  • 1 cup master cookie dough
  • 2 six ounce peppermint candy canes, crushed
  • 1-2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Remove the cookie dough from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.
  3. Pinch off about a teaspoon of dough. Roll it into a 2″ cigar shape and place it onto a baking sheet.
  4. Bake the cookies for 12-14 minutes, until lightly golden brown.
  5. Remove the cookies from the baking sheet and let cool completely on a cooling rack.
  6. When the cookies are cool, melt the chopped chocolate and place into a small re-sealable plastic bag.
  7. Place a sheet of foil or parchment under the cooling rack to catch any chocolate drips.
  8. Snip just the tip of the corner of the bag, then drizzle the chocolate onto the cookies in a decorative pattern.
  9. Let the chocolate harden before removing the cookies from the rack.
  10. Makes about 22 Cookies

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: 12 minute(s)