This was the longest cookie baking process. EVER. But, the results were the best so far. In order to make an epic cookie post, I thought it would be a great idea to try a failure-proof Mantecadito cookie recipe from my mother’s cook book by Dora R. De Romano, Cocine Conmigo. Of course, Julia was totally on board! This book has been with us for years and years and has some of the best recipes that have helped us through the holidays. Since the recipe is in Spanish, I will try to synthesize/translate as best as I can!
Mantecaditos are considered a classic in Puerto Rican culture and are the equivalent of an almond-sugar cookie here in the states. They are deliciously sweet and can be decorated several different ways. I personally like the sprinkles because it gives them more of a playful, colourful look. Julia and I decided to make them with unbleached wheat flour to win back some karma Earth points from some of the other sinful ingredients involved with the recipe.
1/2 lb shortening
1/2 lb of butter
1 3/4 cups of sugar
1 tablespoon almond extract
4 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon of salt
6 cups of all purpose or wheat flour
Makes: a shitton of cookies.
1. Soften the shortening and butter with a wooden spoon in a large bowl. This is the tricky messy part. If you have ever used shortening, you know it’s slippery and impossible to wash off. Next, add the almond extract, egg yolks, and salt into the mix and beat. In another bowl, join the sugar and flour together and then sift them onto another bowl.
2. Once the sugar and flour have been sifted, add these slowly, cup by cup, onto the mix and beat. The mix should be relatively grainy and dry. Proceed mixing with wooden spoon until the mix looks evened out.
3. Finally, start clumping the mix into little balls about 3/4” in diameter (or just eyeball it). The recipe has more precise steps on how to roll up the dough and cut it into bits and what not but it is not necessary. Just get your hands all up in it! This is the best part! Using your knuckles, press down on each ball to flatten it and leave an impression and add into it whatever topping you desire. Then, place them on top of ungreased aluminum foil on a baking sheet. Bake in oven at 325 degrees, about 7” from the fire, for 20-25 minutes.
They look like they were effortlessly done, but in fact, we spent about six hours between gossiping, grocery shopping, not eating McDonald’s french fries, sifting dough with tea strainers, and, oh yeah, accidentally dumping a whole cup of sugar into the wrong mix. (My bad). Yes, we also sat there picking up little clumps of dough and sifting them with tea strainers and another sifting scoop like a couple of dumb cat ladies scooping out cat poop. We finally decided to ditch the method and made another trip to Wal Mart at 12 am to buy a sifter.
Our cookie making experience was also thwarted by various photobooth shoots and general shenannigans, like getting that slippery cum-like shortening mix all over my camera to take pictures of ourselves. Luckily, Julia’s momma helped us when we got back and we sped up the process. She really mixed in that cookie dough!
While waiting for cookies to bake:
The cookies were so delicious and I highly recommend using the wheat flour instead of regular, bleached flour. The flavors in the cookie are nostalgically spot-on and the insides are super moist (that’s what she said). They did not take long to bake or spread out too much while baking. You can choose to make bigger or smaller portions. The smaller portions are great for wrapping in fancy paper and giving them out to friends on special occasions!