Mexican Cinnamon Shortbread Cookies

Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser Yield:  32 cookies
Prep Time:  20 minutes Cook Time:  25 minutes

Mexican Cinnamon Shortbread Cookies

This classic Mexican shortbread cookie is based on Molly O’Neill’s adaptation of the recipe by Mexican food expert, Diana Kennedy. The technique is fascinating—the flour is toasted before cooking, and the cookie has a texture like no other. We’ve added a serious amount of Mexican canela, or cinnamon, and a coating of powdered sugar. The original recipe can be found in Ms. Kennedy’s seminal 1990 cookbook, Mexican Regional Cooking.

Ingredients

1½ cups (196 grams) all purpose flour

½ cup (60 grams) unblanched whole almonds

2½ tablespoons (38 grams) sugar

2 teaspoons plus 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ cup (113 grams) unsalted butter

¼ cup vegetable shortening

⅔ cup confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F or 325°F convection. Spread the almonds and flour on separate baking sheets. Place both in the oven and bake until the almonds are toasted and the flour is a deep creamy color, 13 to 15 minutes, stirring once. Set aside to cool completely.
  2. Place the almonds and sugar in a food processor and process until the nuts are finely ground. Sift the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Stir in the almond mixture. Add the butter and shortening. Work the dough with your fingers until crumbly.
  3. Press the dough together, flatten into a disc and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight until firm.
  4. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Unwrap the dough and place it on top of a sheet of parchment or plastic wrap; cover it with another sheet of parchment or plastic wrap. Using a rolling pin, carefully roll the dough out between the parchment until it is about ½ inch thick.
  5. Dip a 2-inch cookie cutter in flour and carefully cut out the cookies. Using an offset spatula, transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheets, being very careful as the dough is crumbly.  Gather up the remaining dough and repeat the process until all of the dough has been used.
  6. Bake the cookies on the top rack of the oven until they are pale golden in color, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the cookies from the baking sheets to a wire rack. Sift the confectioners’ sugar over the top until completely covered. Store the cookies in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Kitchen Tips

The cookies can also be frozen without confectioners’ sugar for up to 2 months. Defrost completely before topping with confectioners’ sugar.

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