Pan de San Nicolas: Molded Cookie Recipe from Philippines

Posted in on the 19th February, 2013

sanikulasMost countries have their own traditional take on making cookies, even in Asia.  Being a former Spanish colony, the Philippines has developed its own cookies using local ingredients, such as Pan de San Nicolas.  Named after the patron saint of bakers, San Nicolas cookies came from Pampanga Province and had been noted for using intricate wood carvings for molding.  The carvings even included the image of Saint Nicholas Tolentino, hence the name.

Pan de San Nicolas makes use of arrowroot flour (locally called “uraru”) and coconut cream.  It has a buttery aroma and a firm, shortbread-like texture.  Because uraru is rare-to-find, some bakers would substitute it with a combination of rice flour and cornstarch.

You can also substitute the San Nicolas mold with a springerle mold, mooncake mold, Madeleine mold, or other carved cookie mold.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup canned coconut milk
1/2 cup unsalted butter or margarine, softened at room temperature
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups rice flour

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the cornstarch, baking powder, salt, sugar, egg yolks, coconut milk, softened butter, lemon zest, and oil.  Blend the mixture well with a wooden spoon.  Slowly introduce the cake flour and rice flour into the mixture until well-blended.
  2. Knead the mixture until the dough is thick and smooth.
  3. Place the dough into an airtight container and freeze for two to four hours, or even overnight.
  4. Take the dough out and thaw under room temperature for eight to ten minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.  Meanwhile, grease the carved surface of the mold with baking spray, making sure you have covered the crevices and corners.
  6. Place a piece of the dough over the carved portion of the mold until completely covered.  Placea piece of parchment over the dough and, using a rolling pin, flatten the dough so it would get embedded into the mold’s design.
  7. Place a round or oval cookie cutter over the mold and use it to cut the dough to the appropriate shape.  Transfer the molded dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  8. Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly-brown.
  9. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and leave it for 30 to 40 minutes.  Once cooled, wrap in white cellophane wrappers, then store them in an airtight glass or plastic jar.

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