The family of my Philippino friend owns a bakery in the Philippines and she told me that people always ask her to bring back a bag of traditional roscas cookies when she visits them. The rosca cookie from the Philippines is originally from the town of Barugo and was traditionally only baked for festive occasions. Nowadays the cookie is very popular and you can find it year round in the whole country. My friend gave me a typical baker’s recipe: a list of ingredients for a batch of 250 cookies…. I was glad that she could give me some extra instructions! After scaling down the recipe I managed to make a cookie that looked and tasted fine to me. But my friend was very critical. I should have kneaded the dough much longer for a smoother texture, the cookie was not baked long enough and I had not used enough aniseeds. The rosca cookie from the Philippines is originally made with lard. It does give the cookie a special taste and a slightly different texture. But if you cannot get hold of lard, butter will also do the job. The traditional shape for the rosca cookie is a chicken leg. My friend could not tell me why, but it is a fun shape to bake and present. If you like this cookie, try my own variation: the chocolate pistachio cookie.
Rosca cookie from the Philippines
for about 30 cookies
250 grams (2 cups) flour
185 grams (1 scant cup) sugar
¼ teaspoon baking powder
115 grams (1/2 cup or 1 stick) lard or butter
5 egg yolks
2 tablespoons unsweetened condensed milk (or ordinary milk)
1 tablespoon aniseeds
Sieve the flour and mix with the sugar, the baking powder and the butter. Blitz in a food processor until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Add the egg yolks, the milk, the baking powder and the aniseeds.
Knead into a nice smooth ball. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for about 30 mins.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Take 40 grams (±2 tbsp) of the dough and form into a half moon shape. The middle should be nice and fat. Put the half moons on a cookie sheet lined with baking paper. Give them some space to spread.
Bake the rosca cookies for 15 mins. in the middle of the oven. Take them out of the oven and cut them diagonally. The result should look like a chicken leg. Bake the cookies for another 15-20 mins. or until they are a nice golden brown.
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