I am so excited to share this scrumptious recipe from November's Reader Of The Month, Magali Pès Schmid. She is one of my favorites readers, and her fascinating journey with whole foods is unending source of inspiration to me. She is an incredible self-taught cook who is always developing delectable recipes! These lemon and cinnamon cookies are absolutely delicious. Best of all, they are super easy! Just throw all of the ingredients into your mixer, food processor, or in a bowl with a wooden spoon (I made them that way too), bake and devour.
Mantecado cookies or "Spanish crumble cakes" are traditionally eaten at Christmas, weddings and other celebrations. So I thought it would be perfect to feature them leading into the holiday season. A note from Magali: "Mantecados" come from the word "manteca" which means "butter" in Spanish, as these cookies were originally made with lard ("manteca de cerdo")." They are also called "Montecados", "Montecaos" or "Polverones", as "polvo" means “powder” in Spanish.} In Spain or some other Latin countries, "mantecado" sometimes refers to an "ice cream" or "sherbet"; and when you take a bite of these super light cookies you will understand why! They just melt and disappear in your mouth.
Those of you who are used to very robust cookies will find these cookies especially interesting. They are quite heavy to look at, but are very soft and crumbly. Another note from Magali: "As far as texture, this is exactly what you want to achieve: a cookie/biscuit which falls apart between your fingers if you press it too hard, a bite that melts in your mouth thanks to the fat ingredient which gives it a rich and tender crumb."
The first time I made these the taste reminded me a little of my klaicha cookies. These super light and crumbly cookies have a mild flavor that sneaks up on you. They taste a little bit like lemon and almond shortbread cookies. But with a much more crumbly texture. Feel free to add a bit more cinnamon into the mix if you want a bit more of a kick. I like them exactly the way Magali made them. Although, I did add in a bit of vanilla extract just to heighten the flavors a bit. I thought you could also use ¼ teaspoon of natural almond extract for a stronger almond flavor? Magali handed this recipe to me with these instructions, "change, adapt, and adopt". I couldn't have said it myself. Isn't the photo Magali took beautiful? That is gorgeous little Alessia eying off the cookies in the background. SO adorable!
I made these quite a few times experimenting with different oven temperatures and different oils. I settled on unrefined coconut oil or grapeseed oil. Different oils will yield mantecados with varying personalities. I found that the coconut oil created a slightly harder cookie. But I really liked the flavor of the grapeseed oil. But there are very subtle differences. I like coconut palm sugar. But you could use any sugar you like. The best results were with a slow oven at 300 F for about 20-30 minutes. I then turned off the oven and allowed it to cool with the cookies inside. The cookies then hardened without burning.
Give Magali's recipe a go! You will be on a winner with these cookies!
Magali does not have a blog yet. I say "yet" because I am really hoping she will start one. Her recipes and food photography are amazing! They just have to be shared with the masses! Perhaps if we all rally and post a lot of supportive comments on this post (Hint Hint) she will reconsider!
Love you Magali!