This deliciously crumbly cookie comes from the Cuban town of Moron on the island’s northern coast. Cuba was one of the first islands that Columbus visited on his travels to the New World. The ships of the Spanish explorer carried along the ingredients for this sweet cookie: wheat, pigs (for lard) and sugar. Perhaps the Spanish brought the recipe too, because the tortica de Moron cookie is very similar to the Spanish mantecado or polveron cookie. Almonds were not readily available to the Cubans but two popular South American ingredients, lime and vanilla, were soon used to give this cookie extra flavor. The tortica de Moron is nice and easy to make. You do not need cookie cutters but slice them from a roll of dough and sprinkle with extra sugar for a crunchy topping. If you like this cookie, try my variation with rum and coconut!
Tortica de Moron cookie from Cuba
for about 30 cookies
220 grams (2 sticks) butter
200 grams (1 cup) sugar + 3 tbsp extra
1 large egg, separated
310 grams (2½ cups) flour
pinch of salt
grated rind of 2 limes
1 tsp vanilla extract or the seeds of 1 vanilla bean
Beat the butter and sugar with a mixer until light and creamy.
Add the egg yolk and beat well.
Add the flour, salt and half the lime rind.
Bring together into a soft dough.
Divide the dough in half and make 2 rolls of ± 5 cm (2 inches) thick. Roll them in cling film and leave in the fridge for about 1 hour to become firm.
Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F. Cut slices of ± ½ cm (⅕ inch) of dough and brush with egg white. Mix the rest of the lime rind with the sugar and sprinkle on the cookies.
Place the cookies on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake for 12-15 min. until done. They should stay fairly pale.
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