1. Food
Send to a Friend via Email
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Mantecados Recipe - Traditional Spanish Crumble Cakes

User Rating 3.5 Star Rating (8 Reviews)


Keith Williamson/Wikimedia Commons
These traditional Spanish crumble cakes or "mantecados" crumble very easily. In fact, they are so soft, they will literally melt in your mouth. Light and with a delicate anise flavor, words will not do them justice. You'll have to make them to see why they are a Spanish favorite and why no Spanish home is without "mantecados" at Christmas!

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 7 dozen 2.5 inch cookies


  • 2 1/4 cups vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 shot glasses of anise (see note below for substitute)
  • 1 lemon peel, grated
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 7 1/4 cups unbleached white flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 egg white, beaten for glaze


Substitution Note: Anise-flavored liqueur can be purchased at most liquor stores and some gourmet supermarkets. If you cannot find it in your area, substitute 2 shot glasses of vodka and 1 1/2 tsp of anise extract.

In a very large mixing bowl, use a hand mixer to whip the vegetable shortening with the oil. Add the sugar and mix until smooth. Add the egg yolks, anise, lemon peel, juice and cinnamon and mix together. Add flour and baking soda to mixture, a cup at a time. Be sure to mix well. Dough should be very smooth and soft.

Preheat over to 325 degrees. Using a teaspoon, scoop out a dollop of dough. Form balls about the size of walnuts, using your hands. If dough is too sticky to roll into balls, mix in additional flour (from 1/4 to 1/2 cup). Place balls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Lightly press down on each ball to flatten slightly. Using the beaten egg white, brush on the top of each cookie. Bake cookies until they begin to turn light brown on the bottom edges - about 15-20 minutes.

Let the cookies cool 5 minutes before removing from the cookie sheet, as they are very delicate.

<<-- Back to "Christmas Sweets" Article

Guide's Response to User Reviews
"Mantecados are sweet with almost 2 cups of sugar, but have a very delicate anise flavor. With lots of shortening, these cookies melt in your mouth, but it's very important to use the correct measurements of the ingredients or they won't have a good consistency." - Tony & Lisa Sierra, Guides to Spanish Food
User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 4 out of 5
Nice tea/coffee cookie!, Member Rushtons

I respectfully offer the following changes to the original recipe because my family loves the results: 2 1/2 C butter, 2 C granulated sugar, 4 whole eggs, 1 t baking soda, 5 t anise extract, 1 t cinnamon. I flattened the cookies twice in opposing directions with a tablespoon. I drizzled a glaze of orange juice and confectioners' sugar, and then sprinkled granulated sugar over each cookie. Baked at 350 degrees for 11 minutes.

35 out of 46 people found this helpful.

See all 8 reviews

Related Video
Mantecados Recipe
  1. About.com
  2. Food
  3. Spanish Food
  4. Desserts & Sweets
  5. Spanish Cookies
  6. Mantecados Recipe - Traditional Spanish Crumble Cakes

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.