It is that time of year again at Stella’s school. Each year they have a week celebrating the kid’s cultures. Last year Stella chose to focus on our Irish culture, but this year she is focusing on our Portuguese culture. I remember doing this when I was in school, just once, and I chose to highlight my Portuguese culture. I remember we had to bring in a dish from our culture and I called my grandmother to get a recipe. She gave me the recipe for Aletria, a pasta dessert dish. This dish is made with angel hair pasta, eggs and sugar and it a traditional dessert during the Christmas holiday. I can still remember how awful the dish was – I did not cook the pasta enough and instead of it turning out like a custard it was a sweet dish with hard pasta, yuck!
Stella sprung it on me that she needed to provide a recipe for her culture project and then the next day she had to bring that dish into school. In the Portuguese culture desserts are normally very rich, sweet and full of eggs. The most common are custards and rice pudding – I figured neither one of these was a good dish for Stella to take to school. I was stumped, I took out my Portuguese cookbooks, but could not really find a dish that was both appropriate to bring to school and one that did not take a lot of time, since I only had the evening to make and then pack it up for school the next day. Perusing the web I found a traditional Portuguese cookie that looked both easy and fast – and it was!
2 Tbl cornstarch
1 cup sugar
3 Tbl butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups flour (I used 1 cup wheat and 1 1/2 cups white wheat flour)
2 tsp baking powder
If you have parchment paper that works best for lining the cookie sheets
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees
2. In a medium, glass mixing bowl mix the sugar and cornstarch.
5. Add the flour and baking powder. I chose to add half and then mix. I added the other half of the flour and ended up mixing it by hand. It should mix into a ball, forming a dough, but mine did not – so I ended up mixing with my hands and forming a ball of dough.
6. Flour a surface or cutting board. Divide the dough in half. Flour a rolling pin and roll out the dough to about 1/4″ thickness. Using a cookie cutter, cut out the dough. If you are using a normal size cookie cutter you will get about 254 cookies. I needed more than that so I used a smaller cookie cutter. Place the cookies on a parchment lined cookie sheet about 1″ apart. Repeat the rolling of the dough until you have done left.
7. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes, the cookies are ready when the edges turn a golden brown. Let cool on the cookie sheet for about 5 minutes and then remove to a wire rack.
These are chewy, hard cookies and not sweet. I might have to save some for dipping in my tea! Stella thought they were delicious, yeah!