Homemade Oven-Baked Hard Taco Shells

Those taco shells you get out of a box are okay I guess, but if you want something really fresh and delicious tasting, you need to try making your own from scratch!  Making tortillas is not as labor intensive as it may sound, and it requires very little in the way of ingredients (three ingredients to be exact).

And not only are there few ingredients, as far as equipment goes, you can get away with what you have on hand if needed.  Now, you can use a tortilla press if you have one--they do speed up the process--however, a tortilla press is not a necessity.  You can use a rolling pin, or just smash each tortilla under a large, heavy plate.  Whichever method you choose, you will find that sandwiching the dough between two pieces of lightly greased (I used coconut oil) parchment paper will work well for flattening your tortillas and preventing them from sticking.  And as far as cooking the tortillas, I prefer to use my cast iron pan, but any pan should work if you don't have any cast iron.

I like to make the tortillas the night before I am going to be using them, and then the next day, crisp them into the shell shape in the oven right before I serve them at dinner time.

Corn Tortillas
Based on a recipe from Cast-Iron Cooking, by A.D. Livingston

-2 cups Masa Harina
-1 cup boiling-hot water
-coconut oil or cooking oil of your choice for greasing the parchment paper

Mix the Masa Harina and water, making a stiff dough.  

Divide dough into 12 equal pieces and shape into balls.

Begin to heat your cast-iron skillet  over medium heat so that it is hot by the time you are ready to begin cooking your tortillas.  There is no need to grease your skillet.

Place a ball between two lightly greased pieces of parchment paper.  Using a tortilla press, large plate, or rolling pin, spread the ball out into a circle about 6" in diameter and approximately 1/8" thick.

Once your skillet is hot, place the flattened tortilla inside and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side.

Continue in the same manner for the remaining balls.  If you will be using them immediately, place the cooked tortillas in a tortilla warmer or damp towel to keep them soft and warm.  Otherwise, place them on racks to cool.

When you are ready to make the tacos, you can then turn your corn tortillas into taco shells:

Oven-Baked Hard Taco Shells

Corn Tortillas
Olive Oil
Salt and spices (such as chili powder or cumin) if desired

Brush both sides of each tortilla with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and spices if desired.

Arrange tortillas directly on your oven rack (in a cool oven), draping them so that the tortillas are on 2 rails of the oven rack as pictured below.  You may want to warm your tortillas before draping them in order to make them more pliable.

Pardon the dirty oven.

One of my tortillas broke :(  But the rest turned out quite nicely!

Close the oven and bake at 350 degrees F until the tortillas begin to brown and crisp up, about 15 minutes.

Then fill your taco shells with whatever filling you like and enjoy!

Black Bean Tacos with Mexican Asparagus

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