Recipes from Nicaragua

Nicaraguan Coconut Bread

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon melted butter
1 and 1/2 cups of water
1 1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup granulated sugar
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons yeast
1 1/2 cups freshly pressed coconut milk*

 

PREPARATION

Combine 1 1/4 cups of flour, 2 teaspoons of yeast and 2/3 cup of water in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly to attain a smooth dough and set aside to rise for 1 hour.

 Add the rest of the flour and water, the coconut milk and the sugar to the leavened dough and hand knead so that all the ingredients are well assimilated.

Melt the butter and grease a bread pan, and then sprinkle with flour until it covers the entire surface. Remove any excess flour by tipping the pan upside down and tapping lightly on the bottom. Place the dough in the pan, cover with a linen towel and put in a warm place to rise for 3 hours.

Bake in a medium hot oven, about 350 degrees, for 30 to 35 minutes. Bread is excellent with cheese, jams or avocado slices.

*Canned coconut milk will work in recipe. Please make sure to get coconut milk and not cream of coconut milk. Traditional method of getting coconut water is to take one coconut, break open and scrape out the meat, break into small pieces. Place in blender and add 2c Hot water and puree. Place in sieve and press out milk.  (Discard meat or use for other recipes.)

 

Rosquillas (Nicaraguan Corn Masa Cookies)

Makes about 24 cookies

For the cookies:

1 stick (8 tablespoons or ¼ pound) unsalted butter at room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 cups instant corn masa, also called masa harina
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup water at room temperature

For the topping:

1 cup brown loaf sugar, shaved or coarsely grated (found in Hispanic groceries in the US)

 

Directions

  1. Preheat an oven to 350 F.
  2. In the vessel of an electric food mixer or in a large mixing bowl, cream the butter until it is light and fluffy. Add the granulated sugar in a slow, steady stream, continuing to beat until the mixture is well blended and creamy.
  3. Whisk together the masa harina, baking powder, and salt.
  4. To the creamed butter, add the water, alternating with blended dry ingredients. Beat the mixture with the paddle attachment of the electric food mixer, or by hand with a wooden spoon until a uniform dough is formed.
  5. Line two baking sheets with bakers parchment. Scoop up a rounded tablespoon of dough and form it into a ball. Repeat this process and arrange 12 balls of dough on each of the parchment-lined pan, leaving at least an inch between each.

For the flower shape the cookies are know for, press the bottom of a glass onto each ball to flatten to about ¼-inch, or flatten each by hand. The edges will appear to crack, but the cookie will stay intact and the rustic texture will just decorate the edges.

Use your fingers to make indentations first in the center, and then around the perimeter, sculpting a daisy shape. The idea is not only to give the cookie a decorative shape, but to thin out the disks for even baking from their perimeter through to their centers, making the cookies lighter and crunchier than if they were simply flattened.

  1. If decorating with loaf sugar, after forming the flower shape, spoon about a small mound onto the center of each round.
  2. Slide the rosquillas onto the middle rack of the oven and bake until cooked through and lightly browned on the bottom and around the edges, 20-25 minutes.
  3. Transfer them at once to wire racks to cool completely. Store over night or for up to two weeks in air-tight containers, chilled.
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