Step into just about any panadería in Nicaragua and you’re hit with the sweet smells of baked goodies. Cabinets and shelves loaded with golden edibles – some you may recognise, some you may not.
From the ubiquitous alfajor, plump bollo dulce filled with thick custard or chocolate, and nestled in amongst the dozens of other treats – a tray or bags of rosquillas.
Rosquillas come in a couple of forms; a simple loop or a flat disc topped with a burnished rubble of panela; an unrefined cane sugar. If you’re really lucky you just may come across one shaped into a flower, like the ones I’ve made here.
These cookies fit right into the shortbread category, thanks to their crumbly and granular texture. The difference is that it isn’t wheat flour or regular cornflour/corn starch that’s used to give it substance.
Instead, the main ingredient is masa, which is basically finely ground hominy; the same stuff that goes into corn tortillas. It’s this that gives the rosquilla its unique flavour and grainy texture; along with the earthy molasses flavour the loaf sugar brings.
The best way – or should I say the proper Nicaraguan way – to eat these is to float them in your cup of coffee for about 20 or 30 seconds. Preferably coffee from one of the nearby plantations, should you so happen to have one down the road from your place.
If only we all had that kind of luxury.
Recipe adapted from here