Mantecados are very popular in Gibraltar, they are traditional at Christmas time and Easter and are also enjoyed at any time of the year. They are of Spanish origin and a bit reminiscent of shortbreads, but much more crumbly and are flavoured with lemon and cinnamon which is a classic combination of many Spanish sweets. They are finished off with sprinkled sugar and sesame seeds.
The traditional way to make mantecados (and many other Spanish traditional sweets) is with lard, which is obviously not suitable for vegetarians and vegans. However it is perfectly possible to substitute this for a mild olive oil or sunflower oil. Since I only had extra virgin olive oil at home I substituted half the amount with sunflower oil and it turned out perfectly. These mantecados are have all the traditional taste, are just as crumbly, and are dairy free and vegan.
- 200g self raising flour
- 100g granulated sugar
- 60ml extra virgin olive oil
- 60ml sunflower oil
- 0.5 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp lemon zest (1 large lemon)
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- Sieve the flour into a large bowl. This may not be necessary but I always like to sieve the flour.
- Add the sugar, cinnamon, sugar and lemon zest and mix into the flour with a fork.
- Add the olive oil and suflower oil, mix well and form into a dough ball with your hands. You may need a little more flour or oil, I suggest adding 1 teaspoon at a time until the dough holds it’s shape, but the quantities given should work fine.
- Break a piece of the dough off with your hands so that it is about 4 cm in diameter and work into a ball. Flatten slightly to a thickness of about 3cm and lightly press the centre with your thumb to form a shallow indentation.
- Place on a tray lined with greaseproof paper. Repeat until all the dough is used up.
- Sprinkle the dough discs with granulated sugar first, and then with sesame seeds.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 150C fan for 12 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool fully before eating them.