My cousin and I were baking so many sweet treats for our baking for the Troops extravaganza that we wanted to include one that screamed our surname to the soldiers. Something simple yet scrumptious that would stand apart from the rest of the cookies and I know the soldiers would have loved any of the cookies that we baked up. Honestly, I wanted a "cubanized" cookie something screaming "I'm cuban so eat me and love me" and my cousin loved the idea, too. It's funny how much my husband's family has influenced my standard way of cooking. (I'm Filipino!) It's like I have been "Cubanized!" and I have learned most of the popular Cuban dishes from my mother-in-law. Except most of them are savory dishes, and there aren't too many popular sweet treats that she knows aside from flan and arroz con leche.
However, one of my favorite Cuban treats to enjoy are pastelitos from Porto's. Oh em gee, it's the best thing ever invented - my favorite one is like a pie-like pastry filled with cream cheese and guava. (Guayaba y queso). I absolutely love how the tropical breeze of the guava just rolls off your tongue paired with the ooey gooey cream cheese filling. So I knew this cookie would be a perfect fit because anything with guava would be scrumptious. This recipe was easy to prepare and I always stock guava paste in my pantry. But if you can't find guava pasta, you can always substitute guava jam or something similar to it like strawberry. I'll save another day for blogging about pastelitos but until then make this exotic cookie!
Shortbread Almond Cookies with Guava (Mantecaditos con Guayaba)
Adapted from The Noshery
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup guava pasta bar, diced
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat baking mats.
In the bowl of the stand mixer, cream the sugar, shortening and butter. Mix in the egg yolk and almond extract.
Slowly add in the flour until combined. Scoop a tablespoon (mini cookie scoop) of dough and place on the lined baking sheets. Repeat with the remaining dough. Using your thumb press down on the cookie making a small indentation. Fill in the small hole with 1 teaspoon of guava paste.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly golden. Transfer to a cooling rack.
Review: This was a rich and buttery cookie with a slight hint of almond flavoring topped with one of my favorite cuban sweets - guava. It couldn't get any better than this. The guava melted almost like a candy, and like Julia Child had said "everything is better with butter." It's pretty finger licking delicious! Look for the guava paste in the Hispanic aisle or Mexican supermarkets. It usually comes in either a flat, round tin or a brick wrapped in plastic.
Day 2: Chocolate Toffee Cookies
Day 1: Cookies in a Jar