Mantecados(Spanish Shortbread)

These are the most crumbly and moreish cookies that you are ever going to eat! Mantecados are cookies that originate from Spain, and are often interchangeable with another Spanish cookie, POLVORONES-However, whilst Mantecados are baked all year round,Polvorones are baked specifically at Christmas and follow a variation in recipe..


250 grams of Lard(You could use Butter or Margarine.)

300 grams of Self-Raising Flour

100 grams of Whole Almonds-Skinned, Roasted and Ground

125 grams of Icing Sugar(Powdered Confectioners Sugar)-And some reserved, for dusting onto the cookies when they are cooked

Pinch of Salt

Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract

1 1/2 Teaspoons of Cinnamon(Optional)


Traditionally, the dough for a Mantecado is supposed to be a dry dough..Meaning that it shouldn’t contain water. However, I have used a slightly different method and it goes like this: Firstly, pour hot water over the almonds, and leave them to soak for 15 minutes. Strain off the water, and using your thumb and forefinger, and gently slide the skin off the almond, by pushing the skin between the fingers. Reserve the almond and discard of the skin. Put the almonds on a baking tray, and bake on 200 degrees for about 10 minutes, turning occasionally, until they are golden brown. Place in a coffee grinder/food processor and grind to a fine crumb or even, a slightly coarse crumb-If preferred.Pour the flour, cinnamon(If using) and icing sugar into a bowl and cut a block of lard into the flour. The lard should have been standing at room temperature for at least half an hour. Rub the flour, sugar and lard together, crumbling the ingredients using the tips of your fingers. The lard should soften even more while you are doing this.

Add the almonds and vanilla extract, and rub together again. Make up about 200mls of warm water, and add some to the dough mixture, just enough to bind the mixture into a dough, and soften the lard. Knead into a ball, which should be smooth and pliable. Break off some of the dough, and flour the surface lightly, and roll the dough out to a desirable thickness(I have made mine thin, but you could make the dough thicker.). Use cookie cutters and place the cookies in a teflon coated baking tray. Bake on 150 degrees, for upto 15 minutes or until deep golden brown. Allow to cool and then sieve the reserved icing over the cookies. This made 34 cookies and keeps in a cookie tin for upto a month. But because they are so moreish, you won’t be able to resist them and they will be gone in no time! Enjoy!.

**Option 2:Beat the lard until soft and foamy. Another step to follow is to toast the flour in the oven, until golden brown. Add to the lard and other ingredients and resume the other steps of the recipe.This is the traditional way to start making Mantecados.

10 responses to “Mantecados(Spanish Shortbread)”

  1. I forgot to add that these are a mix between the polvorones I grew up eating in the old neighborhood and the sand tarts that I prepare during the holidays. Well, I fix them when Steven craves them; but, mostly, for Christmas and New Year’s. They are so good that you can eat the whole lot at one sitting. Except for moi. I get such a sugar rush just preparing them that I get loopy, so I don’t usually indulge afterwards. Haha.


    • These cookies are my best discovery yet! You are right about how moreish they are! I only make them around Christmas! My nieces and nephews may get a treat come Easter, as the only other time I will make them is Christmas after that! They are time consuming though! If they aren’t kind of slow baked they end up being chewy and not crumbly and I end up baking about 60+ of them!


  2. Will have to give these a go! Was thinking of swapping the lard for oil (my being Vegan and all), but not sure how that would work, but it is worth experimenting, aye! The other thing is will they go ok with Gluten-Free flour? But I cannot wonder, I will just have to try, lol. I am always looking for great cookie recipes 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello… Yes by all means use olive oil, soya margarine and other vegan alternatives! Use the same amount that I have used,about 200grams or so of fat, for the oil probably about a cup, or enough for it to bind without water. As you see it is a relatively dry dough. As for gluten free flour, you will need to bind with ground flax seed, xanthan gum, or any other binder, due to lack of gluten. Tell me how yours turn out!

      Liked by 1 person

    • will do. We try to avoid too much xanthan etc, as it is in everything and can cause tummy upsets in overdose… but I am experimenting with chia currently, it seems to work a treat 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Aaah… Thanks Deli.. I am semi-fluent in Spanish, although, I have not gone to a Mass in Spanish, only English…My maternal Abuela(Grandmother), was born in Panama, and I am the only one who can speak some Spanish..Shame…My mom can understand some Spanish but cant speak it…

      When I started this blog, I wanted to translate the recipes into different languages..Until I realised that there was already a translation button…I definately had a Homer Simpson ‘Doh!’ moment then… Heheheheh… I need to get more visitors though…I think ten per day would be quite nice… and for them to leave comments.. Do you have a Mexican or other Hispanic background? Or do you live in a Hispanic populated area? America definately seems a very varied country…In England, Hispanic people are only just starting to come to the U.K..


    • Yep, I followed and adapted an old Spanish recipe, they are so easy to make its unreal… Love making these! I’m glad you had fun making these!


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