Every time I bake these cookies, I think of my childhood friend Leonor, and the one day back in 6th grade when we decided to bake these cookies at her house. We were both making the cookies on the stovetop, and her little brother insisted on having one before we were done making the whole batch. When we told him that he couldn’t have one until all of them were ready, he started crying out loud, yelling: “no one is denied a cookie!” He kept wailing and saying that phrase over and over, and eventually my friend and I got annoyed and decided to give him a cookie. And now, you know that according to any child: no one is denied a cookie.
These cookies are really easy to make, and as soon as they’re out of the griddle, they’ll somehow disappear. My son absolutely loves these, as they make an excellent sweet snack for an afternoon coffee or tea. The dough is easy to work with, and you can add other ingredients to create new flavors (Use your imagination!).
There’s an endless number of griddle cookies in Mexico, all commonly called “gorditas” (fatty ones). Some make them with corn flour, while others choose to use wheat flour. The choice of fat used in the gorditas also depends on the cook and the region of the country. The choices are diverse, including butter, lard, margarine, heavy cream, and even suet (beef fat). Griddle cookies can be made very thin and crispy, or soft and thick. The best part is that after you make them, they can be stored for several days, just like any other cookie.
MAKES 20 GORDITAS
For the Cinnamon tea:
- 1 cup of water
- ½ stick of cinnamon
For the dough:
- 2 Cups all purpose flour
- ½ cup sugar
- ¾ cup shortening
- 6 Tablespoons of cinnamon tea*
*Not everyone makes them using cinnamon tea, this is just the way my mom makes them. You can use plain warm water if you prefer to do so.
**I usually start making the gorditas right away, but it is easier to work the dough once it has rested for at least 30 minutes.
1. Heat the water and the cinnamon stick in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. When it starts boiling, reduce the heat to low and keep simmering until the water starts changing to a very light caramel color, about 6-8 minutes. Remove from heat, and discard the cinnamon stick. Cool to room temperature.
2. Combine flour and sugar in a bowl. Add the shortening in small pieces over the flour-sugar mix. With your hands, mix the shortening with the flour/sugar mix until it resembles coarse crumbs.
3. Slowly add the cinnamon tea over the mixture, tablespoons by tablespoon, and knead the dough until it sticks together. If the dough does not come together, stir in a little bit more of cinnamon tea, one teaspoon at time, until the dough comes together.
4. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes**. (See Note above) This step helps develop the gluten, and it will be easier to form the circles. When ready to make, let the dough sit on the counter for about 10 minutes. (The dough keeps very well in the fridge for about 2 days, or it can be frozen for up to 1 month.)
5. Heat the griddle or comal to medium heat. Divide the dough into small balls of about 1.15 oz/30grs. Keep covered with a plastic wrap. Line your tortilla press with 2 pieces of plastic cut to fit the size of the tortilla press. If you don’t have a tortilla press, you can use a heavy glass pie dish to press the dough and form the cookies.
6. Place one piece of dough between the 2 plastic pieces and gently press the tortilla press’s handle to flatten the dough. Remove the piece of plastic covering the dough and lift the cookie using the piece of plastic at the bottom. Flip the plastic to place the cookie over the palm of your hand.
7. Place onto the griddle and cook about 1 minute on each side. Be very careful while flipping the cookies, as they are very fragile. You can use a thin spatula to do this step. Depending on how thick you make your cookies, the cooking time will vary, up to 1-1/2 to 2 minutes per side.
8. Carefully remove the cookie and move to a plate lined with a kitchen/tea towel. Repeat the process with the rest of the dough. Wait until cookies are cool and crispy to eat. You can store the cookies in a plastic bag inside the refrigerator for up to a week.