Mantecados (Spanish Christmas Cookies)

Desserts, Baked Goods

Courtesy of Jessica Maher
"I studied abroad in Seville, Spain, during college. Right before the holidays, a little pastry shop opened across the street from my apartment. They sold these round little cookies in a variety of flavors, wrapped beautifully in wax paper. I've dreamed about them (and talked incessantly about them) ever since. This is a variation on what I remember and is every bit as delicious. You can purchase the absolute best leaf lard from Jesse Griffiths of Dai Due Butcher Shop in pint jars."

Photography by Jody Horton

Super easy

Mantecados (Spanish Christmas Cookies)


For 1 Batch(es)


  • 2 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cups pecan flour
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1 2/3 cups leaf lard
  • 1 cups plus 2 T. organic cane sugar
  • 2 teaspoons anise seeds
  • 1 1 Meyer lemon's zest, finely chopped
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 egg
  • Water
  • Sugar, for rolling

Mantecados (Spanish Christmas Cookies) Directions

  1. Sift together the whole wheat flour, pecan flour and salt in a bowl. Use a hand mixer or stand-up mixer to cream the lard and sugar until fluffy—about 3 minutes. Add the anise seeds and lemon zest and continue to mix for another minute. Add the flour mixture in 2 additions, and mix until the dough just comes together. Form the dough into a square and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.
  2. When the dough is cold and firm, use a sharp knife and slice it into 4 strips. Roll each strip into a log. Try to get the roll as even in size throughout as possible. Refrigerate for another 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°. Whisk together egg yolk, egg and a splash of water. Brush each log with the egg wash, then roll the log in sugar. Cut each log into 8 round pieces and place on a baking sheet, either lined with parchment paper, a Silpat mat or sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 10–15 minutes, or until the cookies are just set. Cool on a rack and store in an airtight container for up to a week.