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TEFL Training In Costa Rica | Updated: 10/07/2022

Costa Rican Recipes: Sweets

Written by International TEFL Academy Costa Rica

It's no secret that we love sweets here at International TEFL Academy Costa Rica, and you can often finding us snacking on these three favorites at the school.  Let us share the recipes with you!  You'll find they are pretty simple, so give them a shot!

Tamal de Maizena

1 3/4 cups Maizena  (corn starch)

1/2 stick butter, melted

2/3 cup sugar

4 cups milk

3/4 cup sour cream

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Mix all ingredients together until smooth in a saucepan, setting 2 tablespoons of the sour cream aside. Put the mixture over medium heat and stir with a wooden spoon constantly until it boils.  Remove the mixture from the heat and pour it into a lightly greased 9x9 ovenproof cake pan. Reserve 2 tablespoons of sour cream and smearing the tamale before placing into the oven. Bake until golden brown in color.  Tamal de maizena is like a thick, baked pudding.  It takes great warm or at room temperature and is a great complement to a nice cup of Costa Rican coffee!

Dulce de leche

1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

3 cups water, or more as needed

With a nail, make two small holes in the top of the can of sweetened condensed milk.  Place the can into a saucepan and pour in water to reach high up the side of the can, but don't cover the can. With the heat on high, bring the water to a boil.  Once the water starts boiling, reduce the heat to low. Keep the water simmering for 3 to 4 hours.  The milk will slowly turn brown and become thicker as it cooks. Add more water as the water in the pan boils down.

After allowing the water to swimmer for three or four hours, remove the lid from the can and pour the caramel-like mixture into a bowl. Use a whisk to break up any lumps and mix thicker caramel from the bottom into the rest of the syrup.  In Costa Rica, dulce de leche is often served with fried churros or thin wafer cookies known as galletas suizas, but dulce de leche can be served on ice cream, toast, crackers...whatever your heart desires! 


Cajeta de leche

1 can condensed milk

1 cup powdered milk

1 1/2 Tablespoon softened (not melted) butter

Combine all ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth.  Form the mixture into small balls and place in small paper cups, like cupcake liners.  With a knife cut a cross on the top of each.  To garnish, you could lightly push an almond slice, candied fruit, a peanut or a macadamia nut in the top of each cajeta.   Cajetas are a traditional sweet in Costa Rica.  You can often find them in markets or at roadside stand, but give a shot at making them yourself! 

Keep watching for more traditional Costa Rican recipes, and don't forget that we offer cooking classes to students in our 4-week TEFL training!  If you haven't already signed up for our coursecontact us today!  

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