Why is it that as we get a certain age we become nostalgic for our childhood favorites? I think that no matter how old we are, those things that we loved as a child transport us to simpler times, happy times… As a child growing up in family of ten, some of my favorite things seem to always revolve around different foods and aromas. The aroma of tamales steaming, chiles roasting on the comal and the sweet aromas when you walk into the Mexican bakeries, La Panaderia. Those are things that stay with you forever. I remember following close behind my Mom or Dad as they placed the fresh baked pan dulce onto the tray. It was always in my best interest to make that trip with them, to ensure I got to pick out my favorite Mexican sweet bread. Two of my favorite’s were and still are were called “besos” (kisses) and “ojo de buey”(eye of the ox), ha, ha, ha! Sometimes the literal translations just don’t translate well, but you getthe idea. Besos are a puffed up sandwich soft cookie with assorted fruit fillings, brushed with melted butter and dusted in fine sugar. The ojo de buey is similar in shape with a raspberry filling, brushed with more raspberry filling and coated with fluffly shredded coconut. So for me this version is the best of both of those. This recipe was adapted from a recipe I found called Scottish Snowballs. I would love to find the authentic recipe for the Mexican version, but that is not always an easy task. And most times if you do find something, it is written for commercial bakeries and is almost impossible to convert to a homecook’s version. So, with my added touches to the scottish recipe, I am very happy with how this recipe turned out. It may not be the original, but it sure did transport me back to la panaderia.
Besos de Coco ~ Snowball Kisses
3/4 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon coconut extract
Zest of 1 lemon
1 1/4 cups, plus 2 tablepoons flour, sifted
Pinch of salt
Your favorite jam, preserves or dulce de leche
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons warm water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup shredded coconut (I used unsweetened)
1. In a large bowl, combine the sugar and eggs. Whisk for 8 to 10 minutes. Mix in the coconut extract and lemon zest
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line two baking shetes with parchment paper. Fold in the flour and salt t just until incorporated. Onto each
baking sheet, drop 12 cookies (about 2 tablespoons of batter). Try to make them as round as possible. Bake for 5 to 6 minutes.
3. Let the cookies cool for a few minutes before removing them from baking sheets. Transfer to a wire rack to cool the rest of the way.
4. Take 12 of the cookies and fill the flat side with about 1 tablespoon of filling. Spread out evenly. Top with another plain cookie, flat side onto filling. In a bowl, add the powdered sugar. Mix in the hot water, lemon juice and vanilla until smooth. Dip one half into glaze and then press into coconut until evenly coated. Repeat with the other half of cookie. Place back onto wire rack until cookies set and dry. Yields 12 sandwich cookies.