Bolitas (Sweet Christmas Tamales)

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  • 2 pounds hojas (corn husks)
  • 2 pounds masa
  • 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup warm water, as needed
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup dry raisins
  • 4 teaspoons aniseed


  1. Soak corn husks in hot water for 20 or 30 minutes until pliable. Stand in a pan to let them drain.
  2. Mix masa with shortening, then add sugar, kneading and adding a little warm water at a time to make a smooth dough. Then add cinnamon, raisins and aniseed, blending into dough.
  3. Lay softened husks on a large table. Put 4 tablespoons of mixture on bottom half of each husk. Fold as for regular tamales.
  4. Stand assembled tamales in a small roaster pan half filled with water. Cover with lid, bring water to a boil, and cook over medium heat for 1 hour. Masa will separate from husks when cooked.