In Puerto Rico we have our own versio
n of sugar cookies, this small biscuits melt in your mouth. The delicious almond flavor combined with the butter and sugar, it is just amazing! The best part is that the recipe is so easy!!! You have excuse to give this one a try!
Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Because this cookie recipe is so easy, you’ll probably have the cookies ready to bake by the time your oven preheats.
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup shortening or lard
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract (or vanilla)
½ teaspoon salt
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
Sprinkles (for decoration)
Maraschino cherries (for decoration)
While your oven is heating up, let’s make the cookie batter.
Start by adding your butter and your shortening to a stand mixer and, using the paddle attachment, blend them on medium low until it’s smooth.
Once it is smooth, add the sugar and beat on medium high, until the sugar is thoroughly beaten into the butter and shortening. Scrape down the sides of your bowl as needed, to make sure everything is mixed evenly. Although I've used a stand mixer, you can just as easily make this recipe with a hand mixer, if that’s what you have, so no worries.
Once this is thoroughly creamed, add your almond extract and continue mixing until incorporated.
Now, add half of your flour and your salt and beat on low until the flour starts to incorporate. Then scrape down the sides, add the rest of your flour and mix on low until all of the flour has been incorporated and you have an even dough, which should feel moist, yet slightly crumbly.
Now on to shaping your cookies. The traditional mantecadito shape is a flattened disc with a slight impression in the middle. To do this, spoon about one-and-a-half tablespoons of batter into your hand and squeeze it together firmly, so the cookie holds together.
Then roll the batter in the palm of your hand to form a smooth ball. Once smooth, press the ball between the palm of your hands to form a disk, then use your thumb to create the indentation in the middle of the cookie.
Keep shaping your cookies until you’ve used all of your dough. One batch of dough should make about 30 cookies.
As you are rolling your cookies, arrange them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. I like to use parchment paper because it prevents the cookies from sticking and makes clean up easier.
Once your cookies are shaped, go ahead and decorate them. Again, you can decorate them any way you see fit. I’m decorating half of my cookies with maraschino cherries. I think these look particularly festive with the little red dot in the middle. Additionally, the cherry flavor pairs perfectly with the almond flavor of the cookies.
For the remaining cookies, I decorated them with festive holiday sprinkles, just adding a small pile of sprinkles to the cookie’s indentation.
Once your cookies are decorated, put them in your preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes. At the end of the 10 minutes, turn your trays, to ensure an even bake, and bake for another 10 minutes, or until the cookies are just starting to brown around the edges.
Once your cookies are done, pull them out of the oven and let them cool for two or three minutes; just until they are firm enough to handle.
Once the cookies have hardened a little bit, transfer them to a cooling rack, in order to let them completely cool down. Once cool, you’re ready to eat!