For Garden & Gun’s December/January 2021 issue, Mariana Barran de Goodall—the founder of Hibiscus Linens in Houston; Hotel Amparo in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico; and Amparo Fine Living in Birmingham—shared how she pays tribute to her Mexican roots during the holidays through crafting and cookies, including these shortbread-like hojarascas. “Hojarascas might be the most entertaining recipe,” Goodall says. “The dough is so easy to work with that everybody participating can give a different spin to their cookies, different shapes and thicknesses. Tossing the sugar cinnamon mix is a great activity for the little ones in the family, and there’s no way to do it wrong.” (She also shared her recipes for cuernitos de azúcar, or Mexican wedding cookies, and gorditas de azúcar, or sugar tortillas.)
Hojarascas (Yield: Two dozen cookies)
1¾ cups sugar, divided
3½ tsp. ground cinnamon, divided
2 tsp. baking powder
2¼ cups butter or shortening, room temperature
8 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
Milk, to soften the dough
Sugar and cinnamon, to coat
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Mix 1½ cups sugar and 3 tsp. cinnamon together in a bowl. Add the eggs, baking powder, and the butter or shortening, and stir to combine well. Add in the flour and salt to the wet mixture little by little until fully combined. If using a stand mixer, and the dough becomes too thick to continue, finish mixing the dough with your hands—the warmth of your hand will make the dough softer; you can also add a few drops of milk to bring extra moisture to the dough, if needed.
Prepare your countertop by lightly dusting a 10-inch-by-10-inch space with flour. Roll the dough out to ¼- or ½-inch thickness, depending on your preference (you just want them thick enough not to break once baked). Cut out the cookies using any cookie cutter shape you please. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, keeping an eye on the cookies’ doneness.
Remove the cookies from the oven. Allow them to cool to the point where they are still just warm, and then combine the remaining sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and gently toss the cookies in the mixture until covered.