For those of you who were wondering where I've been for the last few weeks, I had a brief holiday back in Greece to attend my best friend's wedding, see family and friends and get some last sun for the year! Now, the sun part didn't exactly happen as planned, since in the second part of our trip we got rain, clouds and 9-Beaufort winds (I witnessed my first horizontal hanging flowerpot...seriously, it was blowing THAT hard!) but at least we got to get out of the daily routine, and have a bit of a break.
Coming back, I was faced with my partner's excitement about the Mexican Independence Bicentennial celebrations (and his disappointment that he wouldn't be in his country to see them) and I was specially requested to make his favourite Mexican cookies. These are the things he puts on a pedestal the most when it comes to sweets, and the first time I tried to make them I felt daunted at the idea of trying to recreate something so "sacredly perfect", but it ends up that they are extremely simple, and he even prefers my homemade version to his favourite pre-packed ones!
A Mexican friend had suggested a recipe to me at a party, and after a quick look at a video online I was set to create my own version. We both love cinnamon, so my recipe includes quite a bit of that, but then again I can't think of many people who hate cinnamon, so hopefully that's a good thing! Alternatively (when I've got some in my cupboard, as it's hard to find in Britain, I've only been able to get it online), I sometimes use an amazing Sweet rub mix that NOMU (a South African company that makes amazing spice mixes) produces to substitute the sugar and cinnamon. If you can find it, try it, it's the most heavenly thing! (but in this case just mix a few spoonfuls of it with less than the 1 cup of sugar).
Orejitas (Sugar and cinnamon cookies)
Source: dulcis in fundo (Inspired by Cocina de Yolo)
Makes about 40
- 500g puff pastry (in a block, not the already rolled kind)
- 1 cup golden granulated sugar
- 4 tsp cinnamon
- A few tbsp of flour
- A bit of butter for the tray (optional)
In a bowl mix the sugar with the cinnamon. In a big and well-floured surface roll out the pastry into a rectangular shape until it's about 4mm thick. Sprinkle with half the sugar mix and roll out more with the rolling pin, making sure the sugar gets embedded into the dough. Turn upside down, sprinkle the other half of the sugar and embed it again into the dough by rolling further.
At the end of this you should have a 2mm-thick long rectangular dough. Grab one of the long sides and start rolling it tightly with your hands towards the centre, creating a little "snail" shape. Stop when you get to the middle, and roll in the same way from the other side. You'll get a very long tightly rolled together "double snail". With a sharp knife cut off 4mm-wide pieces from the rolled dough, and place them on a very lightly buttered tray (or if you have a very good non-stick one, you can skip the butter). You need to make sure that you place them in the tray very near each other, leaving not much space, otherwise they will grow to immense proportions and "uncurl" (I learnt that the hard way the first time I tried to make them!)
Finally, put the tray in a preheated oven and bake at 180°C for 25-30 minutes. They're ready when they're nicely coloured.