Puerto Rican Guava Thumbprint Cookies AKA Mantecaditos are buttery, crisp, sweet and oh so festive! These tender shortbread style cookies feature a guava paste center, and are especially popular for Christmas!
Is it just me, or does the holiday season keep arriving sooner and sooner? By the time September rolls around, I’m already seeing Christmas decorations in all the stores! It’s like society has decided, screw Fall, let’s get right to the point, and do all the Christmas things! It’s gotten kind of insane, if you ask me. I wouldn’t mind if things slow down a bit, as the hectic nature of the holidays can leave me feeling, well, like I need a vacation from the holidays!
But there is one surefire sign that Christmas is definitely around the corner…it’s when my mom starts baking mantecaditos! These tender, crispy, melt-in-your-mouth cookies are a Christmas tradition in my house, and many Puerto Rican households. Mantecaditos are definitely a labor of love if you don’t have an electric mixer, but if you’ve got the will (and some killer upper body strength), you can absolutely make these by hand.
In case you’re wondering why these are called Mantecaditos, Manteca means lard or butter in Spanish so you could translate these as little butter cookies. It’s definitely a better name than “little lard cookies”, don’t you think? Shortbread cookies are the perfect cookies for novice bakers, because there are no leavening agents, so you don’t have to worry about them not rising. And the best part is that these cookies are made with just a few simple ingredients, so you can whip them up in a flash!
Mantecaditos are the perfect cookie, if you ask me. They’re buttery and crunchy, with a hint of almond and the tang of guava. A sprinkle of colorful nonpareils are the perfect finishing touch. We make lots of them during the Christmas season, and then give away small tins of them as gifts! I hope you enjoy these as much as we do!
Mantecaditos (Puerto Rican Thumbprint Cookies)
- 1 cup vegetable shortening (AKA 8 oz)
- 2 sticks salted butter, softened to room temp (AKA 1 cup of butter)
- 1¾ cup granulated sugar
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 cups all purpose flour sifted
- guava jelly or paste
- nonpareil sprinkles for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Combine the shortening, butter and sugar in a bowl. Blend with an electric mixer or wooden spoon until the mixture is fluffy.
Add the egg yolks, almond extract, and salt. Mix thoroughly to combine.
Slowly incorporate the flour into the shortening/butter mixture. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour, 1/4 cup at a time.
Divide dough into small balls, about 1 ½ teaspoons each.
Create an indent in each cookie with your thumb.
Add a small cube of guava jelly or paste (about 1/4 teaspoon). Top with nonpareil sprinkles.
Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees F or until edges are golden.
Cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely.