It wouldn't be the holidays without cookies, and in some cultures it wouldn't be the holidays without tamales.
My food blogger group gathered together this past Saturday for our annual (you can call it that after 2 years, right?) cookie exchange and I thought I'd whip up 4 dozen tamales to help balance the sugar rush.
Melissa's Tamale Kits, you can cut your tamale making time down to about 1 1/2 hours, including roasting the fresh pumpkin and cipolline onions that were the main additions to my batch.
Here are the ingredients for my easy mole sauce with simple directions:
Easy Mole Sauce
1 cup diced onions (I used the same cipolline onions that went in the tamales)
1 fresh yellow chile pepper, seeds removed and diced
1/4 cup diced, roasted Hatch chiles
1 dried guajillo chile, crushed
2 Tbsp. raisins
2 Tbsp. sesame seeds
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
2 cups crushed tomato sauce
3 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
Heat a bit of vegetable oil on medium in the bottom of a stockpot until it begins to sizzle. Add the diced onions and cook until softened and lightly browned. Add the diced yellow chile, crushed dried chile, and roasted Hatch chiles to the pot and stir. Add the seeds and spices, stir to combine, and cook until spices release their fragrance or about 3 minutes. Add the crushed tomato sauce to the pot, stir again, then add the cocoa powder and stir until well blended. Add about 3/4 cup of water to thin out the consistency to your liking, and continue cooking about 30-40 minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve over tamales or anything else you want to taste even more amazing.
Now back to the cookie exchange. I tweaked traditional Mexican Wedding Cookies and brought them much further north to New Mexico with the addition of roasted Hatch chiles and cinnamon:
New Mexican Wedding Cookies
2 sticks Earth Balance vegan butter or regular butter
1 cup powdered sugar, divided in half
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup diced roasted hatch chiles
2 cups unbleached flour
1 cup finely chopped pecans
2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon, divided in half
Preheat oven to 350.
Beat butter, vanilla, 1 tablespoon of cinnamon, and 1/2 cup of powdered sugar until creamy.
Slowly add flour, beating on low speed until well blended.
Add pecans and blend until well combined.
Shape dough into balls, about 1" in diameter, and place on parchment lined cookie trays about 1 1/2 " apart. Bake about 15 minutes until bottom of cookies are lightly browned, then cool 5-7 minutes out of the oven..
Mix together the remaining powdered sugar and cinnamon. Roll warm but not hot cookies in the mixture until evenly coated and place on wire racks until completely cooled.