One of the wonderful things about homeschooling is that making cookies can definitely be part of the curriculum! We’re studying Mexico at the moment and were sitting in the garden working with clay after watching videos about pottery. Miss decided to make and paint cookies – which then started us researching different types of Mexican cookies.
We settled on hojarascas (oh-ha-rascas) a kind of cinnamon sugar shortbread cookie. The name comes from a Spanish word referring to Autumnal leaves falling from the trees (and the crackling, crunching sound as they crumble beneath feet).
We started with a traditional recipe, and then adapted it to a Kiwi kitchen and making a small batch of about 18 cookies.
- 100g butter
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 Tablespoon baking powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1.5 cups high grade flour
- Topping: 1/2 cup sugar + 2tsp ground cinammon
- Preheat the oven to 180’C / 350’F and line a cookie tray with baking paper.
- In a large Pyrex bowl, soften or melt the butter.
- Add the sugar and mix well.
- Add the egg, cinnamon, and baking powder. Stir to combine.
- Slowly mix in the flour until you have a soft dough.
- You can can roll it out and use cookie cutters if you want to, but I like to just roll small balls with my fingers and softly flatten them.
- Mix the sugar and cinnamon topping on a plate and gently press the cookies into the mix on both sides.
- Place the cookies on the tray and bake for 10-15 mins (my oven took exactly 13 minutes!).
- Place on a cooling rack and sprinkle with leftover cinnamon-sugar mix. (You could also wait until they are cooled, place the cinnamon-sugar in a ziploc bag, and shake the cookies gently.)
There are many versions of hojarascas cookies online and although some use butter, traditionally they use lard or shortening. Most recipes have the sugar and cinnamon mix added after baking, whereas I added mine beforehand to help it adhere more firmly. Some recipes add vanilla, or star anise, orange zest, or nuts (like pecans) but the cinnamon and sugar are consistent throughout – it does mean that you can experiment with many variations if these become a firm favourite in your household.
You can also experiment with the ratios of cinnamon:sugar and whether you’d like the cinnamon weighted more to the cookie or topping. I made the cinnamon flavour in the cookie quite mild but others may like it stronger.