Hojarascas is a Spanish word that refers to the dry leaves from the trees. You know how when you walk over dry leaves, they make a crunchy crackling sound, and will crumble? Well, these cookies crumble easily and make a crunchy sound when you eat them. Other names for these cookies are pan de polvo, and Mexican wedding cookies.
Hojarascas cookies are very popular in the States of Nuevo Leon and Coahuila, and are sold almost everywhere in the city of Monterrey, NL. If you go to the grocery store, they will have some already packaged in small plastic containers; even some butcher stores and restaurants have them for sale right there next to the cash register.
These cookies were traditionally made using lard, but throughout the years, many new versions of this recipe have appeared, using a mix of lard and shortening or just shortening and some even using butter. Some recipes also add eggs and even vanilla. Personally, I like to mix lard and shortening, but since not many cooks can find lard, I adapted this recipe using only shortening, so you can have no excuse to make them at home!
MAKES 16 COOKIES
- 2/3 cup plus 1 Tablespoon shortening (125 grams)
- ½ cup sugar (100 grams)
- 2 teaspoons ground Mexican cinnamon
- 1 pinch of salt
- 2 cups of flour (250 grams)
- 1/4-cup sugar
- 1 to 1 ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- If you want to prepare them the old fashion way, substitute the shortening for lard. Or you can also mix half shortening with half lard. The mix of these two is my favorite for these cookies.
1. In a large bowl, beat the shortening until light and fluffy.
2. Add the sugar, cinnamon and pinch or salt. Mix until well blended.
3. Gently stir in ¼ of the flour and mix. Add another ¼ of the flour and mix. Continue the process until all the flour has been incorporated.
4. Refrigerate the dough wrapped in plastic for at least 20 minutes.
5. Preheat oven to 325F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or lightly grease them with shortening.
6. To shape the cookies, divide the dough and, using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to a 1/3-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. (I prefer to roll out the dough over parchment paper to easily remove the already shaped cookies) Cut out the cookies using a cookie cutter, or just make small balls with the dough and then press them down with your hand or the bottom of a glass. Transfer to the already lined baking sheets, leaving about a one-inch space between each cookie.
7. Bake for about 20 minutes until the edges are turning light gold. The cookies will be very fragile, so let them cool on the baking sheets before you move them. If you try to move them right away, they will crumble.
8. Meanwhile, mix sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl or in a zip lock bag. Dust the cookies with the mixture of sugar and cinnamon and enjoy with a glass of milk.