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My friends know that I love to cook and love to travel. Often they will send me a photo of some amazing place they visited on their travels and I do enjoy looking at them. This week, from Toulouse I was sent this photo of a place there called Péchés Gourmande.

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I studied the photo for a while and then decided I would try and bake one of the biscuits. It is the one  in the middle next to the pink biscuit on the bottom shelf called Mantecados. I found out that they are a Spanish biscuit similar to the Polvoron and are known for the way they turn into powder in your mouth, they are often served around Christmas time in Spain.

I was also intrigued because they were made with vegetable shortening instead of butter which is something I hadn’t tried before. In Australia vegetable shortening is sometimes known as Crisco or FryMasta and it’s not too hard to find. I made mine a little smaller and decorated some with pistachios. They do taste great, lots of zesty lemon flavour with a hint of aniseed. I used Sambuca.

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Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cups vegetable shortening
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons of an aniseed flavoured alcohol. I used Sambuca.
  • 1 lemon peel, grated
  • juice from 1/3 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2/1/2 cups unbleached white flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 egg white, beaten for glaze

Preparation:

In a bowl, use a hand mixer to whip the vegetable shortening with the oil. Add the sugar and mix until smooth. Add the egg yolk, anise, lemon peel, juice and cinnamon and mix together. Add flour and baking soda to mixture, a cup at a time. Be sure to mix well. Dough should be very smooth and soft.

Preheat oven to 170C. Roll into balls about the size of walnuts, using your hands. If dough is too sticky, mix in additional flour (from 1/4 to 1/2 cup). Place balls on to cookie sheet lined with baking paper. Lightly press down on each ball to flatten slightly (I made a pattern on the top of mine and then put pistachios on others). Using the beaten egg white, brush on the top of each cookie. Bake cookies until they begin to turn light brown on the bottom edges – about 15-20 minutes.

 

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