Kids Cook with Books – Too Many Tamales

Too Many Tamales - Kids Cook with Books, December 2016

Making tamales is a Christmas tradition for Latino families. Gathering together to create the tamales is just as important as sharing the finished product. In Too Many Tamales, a family makes tamales together, and a young girls mistake becomes an interesting challenge for the siblings to tackle. Read this book together, and then gather your friends or family together to make your own version of tamales!

Join the Fun – Here’s How:

  1. Please leave a comment below, saying that you’re joining Kids Cook with Books this month.
  2. Get a copy of our featured books using the links above or from your local library.
  3. Read the book together…
  4. ….then bring the kids into the kitchen and cook our featured recipe together.
  5. I would LOVE for you to share your photos on Instagram using the hashtag: #KidsCookwithBooks and please tag me too (@whatscookingwithkids). Or, if you aren’t an Instagram junkie, like I am, then I’d love for you to share them on Facebook.
  6. Tune in next month for December’s Kids Cook with Books.
  7. Psst – guess what? The list of ALL 12 of the featured books for the 2017 Kids Cook with Books series will be coming soon in my Holiday Gift Guide. Stay tuned!

Featured Recipe for Kids Cook with Books: Too Many Tamales

Tamales Rapido con Queso Fresco

Traditionally an all day event to make, these tamales are super yummy, super easy, and super fun for kids to create. Let them use their creativity with even more ingredients!

1¾ cups instant masa harina
1¾ cups water
1 cup frozen or canned corn kernels (if using canned, reserve liquid for the water listed above; augment with water to bring it up to the correct volume)
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
½ tsp. salt
¾ -1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1½ cup queso fresco (alternatively, you can use crumbled Feta)
Optional toppings: Avocado, sour cream, salsa, black beans


  1. Shred cheddar cheese and crumble queso fresco; mix and set aside.
  2. Reserve liquid from canned corn (if applicable) and coarsely chop corn kernels.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine masa harina, water/corn liquid, corn, ½ cup queso fresco, oil, and salt.
  4. Cut 12 ~7 x 10 rectangles of parchment paper.
  5. Spread masa dough into an approximately 3 inch square in the middle of the parchment.
  6. Sprinkle about 1 Tbs. or cheese mixture in the middle of the dough and completely enclose, sealing dough around the filling.
  7. Repeat until all the dough is used.
  8. Gently roll parchment around the dough and fold over the ends. Place seam down in a steamer, baking dish or similar microwave safe dish.
  9. Microwave on high for approximately 10 minutes or until masa is firm and fully cooked. If you do not have a microwave, set the bundles in a steamer and steam for 10 minutes or until masa is firm and cooked through.
  10. Let stand about 5 minutes, unwrap and serve with fresh sliced avocado, salsa, or black beans. ENJOY!

2017 Kids Cook with Books

2017 Picks for Kids Cook with Books

With the new year around the corner, I thought I’d share our list of Kids Cook with Books picks for 2017! They would make excellent gifts for the young chefs in your family.

  1. January: Dragons Love Tacos, by Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri
  2. February: Everybody Cooks Rice, by Norah Dooley
  3. March: Strega Nona, by Tomie dePaola
  4. April: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, by Judi Barrett
  5. May: The Beeman, by Laurie Krebs
  6. June: Mei-Mei’s Lucky Birthday Noodles, by Shan-Shan Chen and Heifi Goodman
  7. July: How to Make Cherry Pie and See the USA, by Marjorie Priceman
  8. August: Thunder Cake, by Patricia Polacco
  9. September: If You Give a Pig a Pancake, by Laura Numeroff
  10. October: The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Junk Food, by Stan and Jan Berenstain
  11. November: Stone Soup, by Marcia Brown
  12. December: Sweet Potato Pie, by Kathleen Lindsey

(This post includes affiliate links, which means that if you use them to purchase any of these products, the price stays the same for you, but I’ll get a teensy commission to help pay for the costs of running this site. I truly appreciate your support!)

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4 Responses to Kids Cook with Books – Too Many Tamales

  1. Jamie says:

    The book club is a fantastic idea! I’d like to link this to my post about giving book/food pairings to children as a holiday gift. Hope that’s okay!
    ~Jamie from

  2. Pingback: Book Giving Day 12: Book Pairings - Budlong Reads

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