The town of Cayambe, in the highlands of Ecuador is famous for its Bizcocha cookies. They have been baked there since the Spaniards conquered the area and brought their wheat and recipes for bread and biscuits from Europe. In 1928 a railway station opened in Cayambe and the villagers started to sell the bizcocha cookies from the platform to the travelers on the train. The buttery cookies became very popular and now it seems that the whole town is made up of bizcocherias.
Bizcocha means cookie in Spanish, but these cookies are special. They are made of yeast dough that must rise first and they hardly taste sweet at all. In Ecuador they are combined with sweet and savory. You eat them with a stringy cheese or with dulce de leche caramel. The best bizcochas are, of course, from the wood-burning stoves of Cayambe, but the results from my ordinary oven were also very tasty. Do you like a sweeter cookie? Just add some extra sugar or eat with a generous dollop of dulce de leche.
Bizcocha cookie from Ecuador
For ± 36 cookies
1½ tsp yeast
3 tbs of lukewarm milk
250 g (2 cups) flour
100 g (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
30 g (2 tbs) sugar
pinch of salt
Stir the yeast through the milk and leave for about 5 minutes or until bubbles form.
Put the flour, butter, eggs, sugar and salt in a bowl.
Add the yeast mixture.
Knead for about 5 minutes until a soft shiny dough is formed. Add some extra flour if the dough is too sticky or some extra milk if the dough is too dry.
Cover and leave to rise in a warm place for ± 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F. Take ± ⅕ part of the dough. Roll into a rope of ± 15 cm / 6 inches.
Roll out to a 10 x 20 cm / 4 x 8 inch rectangle.
Roll up and cut into pieces of ± 2 cm / 1 inch. Partly unroll the pieces.
Put on a baking tray covered with baking paper and bake for ± 12 min. until golden brown and done.
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