Place the corn husks in a pan of water and submerge until completely covered. Let soak for 20 minutes or until soft and pliable.
Cream together the butter and the brown sugar.
Mix together the masa harina, cinnamon, vanilla, ground cloves and salt. Stir in the water and milk and combine until the masa harina is a moist paste.
Add the masa harina to the creamed butter and sugar and whip until fluffy. Stir in the pecans and dried cherries.
To form the tamales, take a corn husk, which you’ll notice has four sides and is in sort of a cone shape. Place the corn husk in front of you, with the pointed end at your right. In the center of the husk, spoon out 1/4 cup of the masa and spread it leaving a clean border around the masa. Place one tablespoon of chocolate chips in the center of the masa.
Now, join together the two long sides (NOT the pointed side and the wide side) and then roll the husk until it’s about the width of a cigar. Take the narrower, pointed end and fold it up about 1/4 way of the tamale. Alternatively, you can rip strips from a corn husk and after rolling tie up each end like it’s a package.
In a large pot, place a steamer basket or a colander. Add water to the pot just to the base of the basket (don’t let the water get into it). Place the tamales in the basket seam side down, bring the water to a boil and then cover the pot and turn the heat down to low.
Check the water level occasionally to make sure there’s enough in the pot, and steam tamales for two hours. You’ll know they’re done when the masa pulls cleanly away from the husk.
Let them rest for a few minutes and then serve warm. I like to eat them as they are, but they’re also good with a dollop of sour cream mixed with cinnamon, a bit of sugar and vanilla. Powdered sugar sprinkled on top of them is a treat as well.
Chocolate tamales with pecans and dried cherries | www.homesicktexan.com