Puerto Rico: Mantecaditos
Historically, several countries have had an influence on Puerto Rican cuisine: Spain, Mexico, Africa and the United States.
Sweets are very much a part of the Puerto Rican cuisine, with custards, puddings and flans as some of the favorites. Mantecaditos are favorite cookies, particularly at the Holidays.
Mantecaditos (Almond Sugar Cookies)
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
3/4 cup butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1-1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
maraschino cherries, cut into eighths (optional)
shots, sprinkles or jimmies (optional)
Place oven rack in middle position of the oven. Preheat oven to 350 F.
Combine flour and nutmeg; set aside.
In a large bowl, beat butter, shortening and extracts with an electric mixer until smooth. Gradually add sugar to butter mixture and cream until mixture is light and fluffy. Blend in flour mixture.
Dough should be slightly moist. If dough looks dry, sprinkle with water and work into dough. If dough is sticky, sprinkle with additional flour.
Spoon dough by teaspoons and form into balls. Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Gently press each ball with palm of hand to form cookie. Garnish with a cherry piece placed in the center of each cookie or top with shots, sprinkles or jimmies.
Bake 20 minutes or until golden. Remove to a wire rack to cool.
Recipe adapted from Private Chef PR