This chunky cookie is made with tapioca starch extracted from the root of the yuca plant or cassava. Yuca is a staple ingredient in Colombian cuisine. The root is the base of many meals and it can be baked, fried, cooked and stewed. Tapioca flour is a very fine powder that most closely resembles cornstarch. For my first attempt, I had no tapioca flour at hand and I ground some tapioca pearls very finely. It does work but you do not get it as powdery as the starch that you can buy. I actually liked the slightly rougher texture better than that of my second bake with real tapioca flour.
The pandero biscuit is a neutral biscuit that gets its tasty aniseed flavor from the aguardiente. If you do not have that at home, you can also use brandy and add some ground aniseed. It is quite a dry, crumbly biscuit, so make sure you have enough tea or coffee to accompany it.
Pandero cookie from Colombia
Voor ± 30 cookies
60 grams (½ stick) butter
60 g (½ cup) sugar
15 g (1 tbs) light brown sugar
185 g (1¼ cup) tapioca starch (or 150 g (1 cup) tapioca flour + 35 g (¼ cup) cornstarch)
1½ tbs aguardiente (or use brandy + 2 tsp ground aniseed)
With an electric mixer beat the butter with the two sugars for 5 min. until light and creamy.
Add the egg and beat well.
Add the flour and the aguardiente and mix into a soft dough.
Leave to rest in the refrigerator for ± 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 175°C / 350°F. Roll the dough into a log of ± 2½ x 2½ cm (1 x 1 inch).
Carve a nice pattern and cut into pieces of ± 3 cm (1¼ inch).
Place them on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and bake in the middle of the oven for about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the baking sheet.
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