Oh, the weather outside has been frightful…
We had a few cold weather days that gave our long johns a run for their money last week, didn’t’ they? Rolling without a hat or gloves was a crazy definite no-no. It was cold like a mofo… Made you almost want to hide under your covers with your portable heater, didn’t it?
That’s a fire hazard, by the way – Don’t do it. Sleep in your leg warmers. It’s safer.
Some states were cold enough to freeze a finger off – And I don’t know about you, but I need my ten digits intact; my thumbs especially.
Que frio, carajo!
I didn’t bring you here to discuss the cold weather. It’s January, it’s winter – We know it’s cold…
I um… I brought you here to talk about, um… Las Navidades.
What, wait – It’s January 28, 2013!
Um… Yea, I know that…
It’s just… It’s just that the holidays breezed through, you know? They came, went, and I felt we rushed into it. We jumped in with fervor, with the zeal only seen during the holiday season. We shopped online; we hit the stores Black Friday. Then we danced our Navidad merengues, tore into those pasteles and…
Seriously, Latinos – How many times did you play Mi Burrito Sabanero this year – What, 25? That song should be played a total of 153,256.2 times. If not, we are doing the burrito’s camino de Belén a disservice!
Navidad felt so rushed that my tree was back in its box by January 4th. OK, you don’t understand –That’s crazy talk! My tree usually still shining bright a couple of days shy of February 1st.
Don’t judge me… I love the twinkling lights of my Christmas tree!
Have we as a collective lost our Navidad spirit? Are we so intent on rushing through this holiday that we don’t play Feliz Navidad at least 16,000 times? That we don’t try to extend these moments as long as we possibly can? I mean, one day it’s November and the next day we are two weeks shy of Valentine’s Day!
It’s just not right!
I’m bringing Navidad back today, right now – For 1 day – And I’m dragging you down this wreathed Navidad spiral with me.
As a self-respecting Dominicana I have MP3s of Fernandito Villalona’s “Dejame Volver” and for some Puerto Rican flavor, El Gran Combo’s “La Fiesta De Pilito” in my ipod at all times – And I’m busting them out – For coquito cookie time.
These feelings aren’t new. Last year I felt the same way about the holidays; how rushed they felt, how before they began it was all over – And there I was in the middle of January, sitting amidst the memory of empty gift wrap, wondering; “where did Navidad go?” So I made Coquito ice cream. And I made that jammy every single time I wanted a taste of Navidad.
This year I’m bringing you coquito cookies; a lightly spiced cream cheese sugar cookie with – Get this – A coconut topping that tastes just like coquito.
The dough comes together as any other sugar cookie dough would. The only downer is you have to place the dough in the freezer for a few hours. Once the cookie dough has chilled it is rolled and cut using your preferred cookie cutter. I went the round cookie cutter route and cut a smaller round in the center of each cookie. It reminded me of a wreath; a wreath you can eat…
The filling has all the components of the coquito drink (there’s RUM!), cooked until thickened and reduced. Once the filling has thickened two types of shredded coconut, sweetened and unsweetened are added and mixed until combined. I felt using both sweetened and unsweetened cut down the sweetness of the cookie. The filling is cooled slightly then spread on top. Easy…
Check out this coquito deliciousness right here…
And there you have it – Latino Christmas, in a cookie you can enjoy year round, any time the feeling strikes.
Or simply when you just want to belt out Aires De Navidad in the middle of July.
Like you needed an excuse…
Roll Like a Latina: Coquito Cookies
For the cookies
- 3 1/2 cups All-purpose flour spooned then leveled
- 1 teaspoon Baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoon Ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon Ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon Ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon Freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 cup 2 sticks Unsalted butter, softened
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 1 8 ounce package Package of full fat cream cheese
- 1 1/2 cup Light brown sugar packed
- 1 large Egg
- 2 teaspoons Vanilla extract
For the coquito topping
- 1 cup Evaporated milk
- 1 cup Coconut milk fresh or canned -
- 1 cup Heavy cream
- 1 cup Sweetened condensed milk -
- 3 tablespoons Light rum I used Bacardi white
- 1 teaspoon Ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon Ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon Ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon Freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons Vanilla extract
- 2 cups Shredded unsweetened coconut -
- 1 cup Shredded sweetened coconut
Bake the cookies
- Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and grated nutmeg in a medium bowl. Mix briefly to incorporate and set aside.
- In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the sugar, butter, cream cheese and salt. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the egg making sure the egg is fully incorporated into the butter/cream cheese mixture. Reduce the mixer speed to slow and stir in the vanilla extract. Add the flour all at once and mixed until just incorporated. Spread a layer of plastic wrap on your counter or over a flat surface. Dump the dough onto the plastic wrap and gather into a rough cylinder. The dough will be very soft and sticky. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for about 8 hours. Alternatively, you can speed up the chilling time by placing it in the freezer for about 3 hours.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator (or freezer).Unwrap the dough and cut it into thirds. Place one third of the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Re-wrap the rest of the dough and place in the refrigerator to chill until ready to use. Roll out the dough to about 1/8 inch thickness.
- Cut into round shapes with a lightly floured cookie cutter. Cut a smaller round in the middle and place cookies 1 inch apart onto prepared cookie sheets.
- Gather the remaining dough, pat it down and re-roll. Repeat step 5.
- Place cookie sheet in the oven and bake for 8 to 12 minutes or until a very light and golden brown, turning the pan mid-way through for even baking.
- Remove cookie sheet from oven and allow the cookies to cool for about 5 minutes on the cookie sheet. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and allow to cool completely before adding the coquito topping.
Make the coquito topping:
- In a medium pot combine evaporated milk, coconut milk, heavy cream, condensed milk, rum, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, and vanilla extract. Bring to a boil over medium/high heat. Once mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium/low. Cook, stirring frequently until the mixture has thickened and is reduced by half, about 20-25 minutes (I’m sorry!).
- Remove the mixture from the stove and allow to stand for about 5 minutes or so. The mixture will thicken a bit more as it cools. Add the sweetened and unsweetened shredded coconut and mix fully to combine.
- Allow the topping to cool completely before spreading onto cookies. Topping can be prepared up to an hour ahead.
- With a small offset spatula or spoon, spread about 2 teaspoons of topping onto each cooled cookie.
- Place the cookies in the refrigerator for a few minutes to allow the topping to set. Enjoy…
- No, for real… Savor that bad boy!
- Store these cookies in between squares of parchment and place in an airtight container. These cookies soften quickly, so they are best eaten within 2 days.
- Preparation time: 1 hour(s)
- Cooking time: 25 minute(s)