Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Las Posadas Christmas Traditions Recipes

Good Food

Navidad Cookie Nachos,

The Navidad Cookie Nachos and Hot Mexican Christmas Punch, also known as champurrado in Spanish, is super easy and the fun-to-make recipes you'll find below are my twist on a mashup of Mexican and American traditions. These were created especially for the festival of Las Posadas, a 9-day festival which runs nightly from December 16 through Christmas Eve on December 24.

Patricia Reyes & Janis Brett Elspas,

This post contains Amazon affiliate links

This religous celebration leading up to Christmas, which has its original roots in Spain, has mostly been practiced in Mexico for the past 400 years and, more recently, in Hispanic communities here in the U.S. The holiday's name, Las Posadas, originates from the Spanish word posada which literally means lodging, referencing the Catholic and Christian tradition that each night represents one of the nine months Mary was pregnant with Jesus.

Image by Norma Perez,

Several traditions are particularly popular during the celebration including reenacting the ancient scenes at the inn in Bethlehem, Israel is with modern celebrants dressed as Mary and Joseph along with shepherds and angels marching in a processional, everyone sings Christmas carols in Spanish. Also, while the adults watch, each night during the festival the kids use a big stick to swing blind folded to break open a star shaped pinata to reveal the fruit and candy inside. 

Image by Patricia Reyes,

However, the true highlight for many is the fantastic feast that follows which includes typical holiday cuisine like tamales, various dishes made with flour and corn tortillas and red and green salsas -- both staples of Hispanic cooking -- and a hot spicy fruit drinks. So in that spirit I created some brand new recipes to make celebrating Las Posadas even better this year.

Las Posadas Recipes

Navidad Christmas Cookie Nachos

This recipe is a mashup of two favorite Mexican and American traditions: nachos and decorated Christmas cookies. These "cookies" aren't sweet though, after you've cut out the festive holiday tortilla shapes they're fried in oil. Then you serve these to guests on a platter as a decorate-your-own nachos appetizer along with guacamole and sour cream for them to spread as "icing" and then garnish with chopped peppers for "sprinkles."

Time to Make: 30 minutes
Makes 8 Servings


1. Using Christmas cookie cutters of your choice, cut tortillas into holiday shapes. Use metal, not plastic cookie cutters to cut as neatly and easily as possible.

2. Heat several tablespoons of corn oil in frying pan. When pan is hot, place shapes into pan in a single layer with space in between and fry on both sides 10-20 seconds till light brown. You'll do this in batches, removing each as they are done and placing them on paper towels to drain and cool.

3. Line up nachos on a holiday platter as you would Christmas cookies, grouping shapes together by type for a beautiful presentation.

4. Serve with bowls of guacamole, sour cream, HERDEZ salsas and chopped red, yellow, orange and green fresh peppers inviting your guests to decorate their own Cookie Nachos.

Ponche Navideno - Hot Mexican Punch

Now that you've made those yummy Cookie Nachos, you're going to need a drink to wash them down. There are seemingly countless versions of this popular and delicious hot spicy punch which looks like fruit salad soup when you're making it. In fact, it smells even more wonderful than it looks, and you'll be tempted to taste a spoonful during cooking. Typically tejocotes, a crab apple like fruit, and piloncillo, dark brown sugar shaped into cones, and fresh sugar cane are used in this drink. But since those are often difficult to find here in the U.S. unless you live near a Hispanic food market, you can substitute those ingredients for others like I have done here.

Time to Make: 1 hour
Makes 8 Servings

  • 1 fresh Orange, whole
  • 1 fresh Tangerine, whole
  • 2 fresh Apples
  • 1/2 cup Prunes
  • 1/4 cup Dried Apricots
  • 1/4 cup Raisins
  • 2 tablespoons coarse chopped Pecans
  • 1/4 cup Whole Cloves
  • 1/2 cup Raw Sugar 
  • 1/4 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon or 1-2 Cinnamon sticks
  • Pinch of fresh ground Black Pepper
  • 1/2 cup Brandy (optional)
  • 1 fresh Orange sliced for garnish


1. Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a 3 quart pot.

2. Prepare the fruit while the water is heating. Cut the dry fruits in half. Wash all fresh fruit well. For the pear, remove stems, core and cut into chunks. Do the same, after peeling, with the apples. Leave the tangerine and orange whole and stud the later with the whole cloves.

3. When the water comes to a boil, add all the prepared fruits. Simmer for 30 minutes.

4. After the timer rings, add the cinnamon and ground pepper and cook 30 minutes more. 5 minutes before the end of boiling add the sugars.

5. Ladle the hot punch into glasses, making sure each has some of chunks of the different fruit. Garnish with fresh orange slices for a festive look and extra color. Add a splash of brandy to each cup, if desired. Serve and get ready, this is so good, they'll probably be coming back for seconds.

Spicy Watermelon Margarita, Image by Herdez


HERDEZ offers a range of salsas and sauces for authentic Mexican and South American dishes including Gucamole SalsaSalsa Verde and Salsa Casera.

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