Christmas week is here! This is the final stretch where you prepare your treats, be they for arriving guests or to bring along with you on invited gatherings. Whether you come from a traditional Mexican home or you are hoping to add a unique cultural twist to your desserts and sweet-tooth offerings we’ve got you covered. Read further for a gander at our top three recommended Christmas goodies.
3 Essential Desserts and Goodies to Complete Your Mexican Christmas
We provided an easy-to-follow recipe for Buñuelos last month but no list about Mexican Christmas goodies could be complete without mention of these popular and oh-so-yummy delicacies. Buñuelos are a mainstay at Mexican food markets throughout the entire month of December, and will be found on the tables of homes across the world where an authentic culinary Mexican influence is found in the kitchen. These crispy cornflour based bites not only taste amazing their sugar-sprinkled appearance makes them a perfect visual addition to your Christmas dessert table display. If you have talent when it comes to cooking/baking with visual presentation in mind you can even shape your Buñuelos to mimic snowflakes or other round-formed Christmas decor themes.
2. Mexican Christmas Cookies (Polvorones)
You may have seen treats labelled as Mexican Wedding Cookies in your local bakery. During the holidays they magically become known as Mexican Christmas Cookies. While you’ll find no such label in Mexico (aside from within popular tourist destinations, perhaps) you will find Polvorones which is their true name. Coming in a wide variety of flavors, such as original, peanut, vanilla, cinnamon, and chocolate, the most popular and recognized by U.S./Canadian palates is pecan – a flavor/ingredient that truly works best with Polvorones. They are delicious and their cute confectioners’ sugar-coated appearance is what has made them so popular on most Mexican Christmas treat wish-lists. Follow this recipe (4-dozen) below:
- Preheat your oven to 325ºF
- Beat 1 cup of butter in a large bowl until smooth. Add 1/2 cup of granulated sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add 2 cups of all-purpose flour and add 1 1/2 cups of ground pecans and beat until you achieve consistency.
- Place the dough/mixture, covered in plastic, in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Once chilled, form four-dozen small balls with the mix.
- Arrange the dough balls on a large baking sheet, spacing them about 1/2 inch apart.
- Bake for about 18 minutes until golden brown on the bottom, while ensuring the tops remain a lighter shade.
- Cool the cookies (on the baking sheet) for 5 min. When warm, place them in a bowl containing 1/2 cup of confectioners’ sugar. Transfer the sugar-powdered cookies onto a a dry baking sheet and allow them to cool. For added effect you may “snow-cap” your Polvorones, or Mexican Christmas Cookies, with additional powdered sugar, cinnamon, or even colorful sprinkles for the kids.
Cochinitos can also be considered Mexican Christmas cookies. These baked treats are a curiosity for many unfamiliar with Mexican Christmas offerings. Cochinitos are traditionally pig-shaped, and can serve to replace the gingerbread men more commonly found in U.S./Canada. Those that know Mexican cuisine will admire your attention to authenticity while all will get a kick out of these adorable and tasty little piggies. Follow this recipe (2-dozen) below:
- Combine 3 1/2 cups of flour, 1/2 tsp of salt, and 1 1/2 tsps of baking soda in a large bowl. Add 1 1/2 cups of butter and 3 eggs and proceed to blend/mix into a consistent dough.
- Combine 1 1/2 cups of dark brown sugar, 1 cup of water, 4 eggs whites, and 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon in a saucepan and cook, stirring often (w/a wooden spoon) until the mixture forms a syrup. Turn of the heat and let the syrup cool.
- Add the syrup to the dough, kneading with your hands until the dough is smooth and consistent. Cover the mix and refrigerate for an hour and a half.
- Remove the dough from the fridge and roll it onto a floured surface until it reaches 1/4-inch thickness. Using pig-shaped cookie cutters (or a very artistic hand with a pastry knife) make your festive shapes, remove the renditions, and place them on a greased cookie sheets to bake at 350ºF for approximately 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Feliz Navidad, Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones from all of us a El Comal Mexican food store and deli!