The Cuisine of Nicaragua is as diverse as its inhabitants. It is a mixture of criollo style food and pre-Columbian dishes. When the Spaniards first arrived in Nicaragua, they found that the Creole people present had incorporated foods available in the area into their cuisine.
Despite the blending and incorporation of pre-Colombian and Spanish influenced cuisine, traditional cuisine changes from the Pacific to the Caribbean coast. While the Pacific coast's main staple revolves around local fruits and corn, the Caribbean coast's cuisine makes use of seafood and the coconut.
A favored treat in Nicaragua is the Rosquilla. Similar to an Italian biscotti, the Nicaraguan rosquilla is designed to be accompanied by a hot cup of coffee. Its plump shape facilitates an easy drop, and a well-made rosquilla is best eaten after floating in your coffee for 30 seconds or so.
Approximately half a ton of rosquillas from Jinotega travel to ExpoNica in Miami each year, from the Rosquillera Pampa. Probably three times that amount travel to the States and Europe via Nicaraguan travelers, stuffed in two- and three-pound bags, and stashed in luggage for distribution to expat family members.
3 lbs. queso seco or Mexican Cotija cheese
3 lbs. masa
4 Tbs. butter
4 Tbs. lard from beef
2 Tbs. lard from pork
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grate the cheese finely. Mix it with the masa. Add the rest of the ingredients, mixing until combined.
Shape into small donut shapes, about 1 to 1-1/4 inch in diameter. Place on cookie sheets.
Bake until they get a little color. Take them out of the oven and cool.
Heat oven to 200 degrees F. Return cookies to the oven and bake until they are crispy. (Can dust with confectioners sugar if desired.)
Yield: 100 rosquillas
Note: The masa should be the one used to make tortillas, not tamales. If you can only get masa harina, then prepare the masa harina as if you were making tortillas and then weigh it to get to 3 pounds.
Special thanks to Ligia for submitting this recipe. Recipe from 50 Años en la Cocina authored by Angelica de Vivas.