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Mantedcaditos on a white ceramic plates. Two gnome mugs with whipped cream topping and cherries are in the background.
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Mantecaditos (Puerto Rican Almond-Flavored Butter Cookies)

These make-ahead and freezer-friendly cookies can be topped with a number of fun ingredients.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Puerto Rican/Hispanic
Keyword cookies
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 16 minutes
chilling time 30 minutes
Total Time 56 minutes
Servings 48 cookies
Calories 90kcal

Equipment

  • sheet pans
  • silicone baking mat
  • hand mixer or stand mixer

Ingredients

For the Mantecadito Cookie Dough

  • 2 1/3 cups (317 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon (2 grams) ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) baking powder
  • 1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (80 grams), packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (56 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) kosher salt
  • 1 large egg at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract

Optional Toppings (use one or a combination of the three)

  • guava jelly (about 1/3 cup)
  • maraschino cherries drained (12-48)
  • nonpareils (about 1/4 cup)

Instructions

Make the Mantecadito Cookie Dough

  • Sift together the all-purpose flour, ground cinnamon, and baking powder into a mixing bowl.
    Set this bowl aside while you mix the remaining batter.
  • In a separate mixing bowl, use your mixer to blend together the butter, brown and white sugars, and salt on low speed to form a thick paste.
    Mix for 1 minute, then turn the mixer off and scrape down the bowl and the beaters. 
  • Add the egg and the almond extract to the bowl.
    Blend again, on low speed, just until the egg is mixed into the butter and sugar mixture. Scrape down the bowl once more.
  • Add the dry ingredient mixture to the butter mixture in two batches.
    Once the first batch has been added, blend it in with your mixer, again, on low speed. Stop the mixer and scrape down bowl and beaters before adding the remaining flour mixture to the bowl.
  • Blend the dough once more on low speed just until the butter and flour combine to create clumps of dough in the bowl.
    Continue mixing on low or medium-low speed until the dough begins to hold together, or 1-2 minutes. Stop when the dough looks like thick oatmeal. 

Chill, then Form the Cookie Dough

  • Once the dough has come together, scrape the dough of the mixing bowl and onto a sheet of plastic wrap.
    Press the dough into a 8x6-inch rectangle that is roughly 1/2-inch thick.
  • Wrap the dough in the plastic wrap and chill it in the fridge for 30 minutes up to 24 hours. 
  • After the dough has had time to chill, cut the rectangle into 8 1-inch wide strips.
    Cut each of those strips into 6 squares of equal size creating 48 squares generally similar in size. 
  • Once the squares of dough are cut, roll them between the palms of your hands to form them into balls.
    Once you've formed a ball of dough, place it on a sheet pan lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

Top and Bake the Mantecaditos

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (177°C).
  • If you're topping the mantecaditos with nonpareils: press the dough ball into the sprinkles to adhere them to the surface.
    Then, place the coated ball onto the sheet pan and press it down lightly to keep it from rolling. 
  • To fill the mantecaditos with maraschino cherries or guava jelly: press a dent into the surface of the cookie dough balls using the bottom of a 1/4 teaspoon measuring spoon.
    Fill the dents in the dough with a whole cherry or with 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of the guava jelly.
  • If you only have one oven, keep the pan of formed cookies in the fridge while you bake the first pan of cookies.
    Once all of the cookies are filled, bake them for 16-18 minutes or until lightly browned.
  • After the cookies have finished baking, remove their pan from the oven.
    Replace that pan with another one to continue baking the remaining cookies.
    Cool the baked cookies on the sheet pan for 3 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  • Serve the Mantecaditos at room temperature and enjoy them with a cup milk, café con leche, tea or hot cocoa. 

Notes

Mantecaditos Swaps and Substitutes:

  • Press chocolate kisses onto the fully baked cookies after you pull them from the oven.
  • Replace the guava jelly with your favorite flavor of jam or preserves.
  • Roll the mantecaditos in holiday-themed nonpareils instead of rainbow.
  • Press your favorite nut into the center of the ball of dough.

Storage Instructions:

  1. After baking, cool the cookies completely.
  2. Transfer the mantecaditos to an air-tight storage container and store at room temperature.
  3. Don't refrigerate the cookies because the butter in the cookies will harden, and the flour in the dough will cause them to go stale faster. 
  4. Store on the countertop for 3-4 days.

Mantecaditos Freezing Instructions:

Before baking:
  1. Roll the dough into the balls and arrange them on a sheet pan in a single layer.
  2. Freeze the balls of dough, uncovered until frozen solid.
  3. Transfer the dough balls to a freezer storage bag and freeze for 2 months.
  4. Thaw the precise amount of cookies you want to bake it's soft enough to press with the dent, fill, and bake as instructed above.
To freeze Mantecaditos after baking:
  1. Allow the baked cookies to cool completely.
  2. Arrange them on a sheet pan in a single layer and freeze completely.
  3. Transfer the mantecaditos to a storage bag and freeze for 3 months. 
  4. Thaw at room temperature.

Nutrition

Calories: 90kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 18mg | Potassium: 17mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 129IU | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 1mg