Every little pulperia (store) in my town that sells rosquetes knows that they are my favorite snack. When I enter the store they automatically tell me if they have rosquetes or not, the former being said with a large smile “They’re your favorite, right?” and the latter being said with a sympathetic downcast look.
I had wanted to make rosquetes since the beginning of my service, but finding someone who bakes them on a regular basis has proved quite difficult. There are always rumors of who is making them, on what day of the week, and where they live… Well, this past week I finally was able to find the infamous (and elusive) Doña Chana who has been making rosquetes for decades out of her home with her children and grandchildren. I stopped by late morning and they already had the dough ready and were rolling out the doughnut shaped rosquetes, pressing the distinctive design into each one using a cheese grater (so that’s how they do it!) The dough contains ground corn, sugar, vegetable shortening,baking soda, and a bit of salt. They had woken up at 3:30 AM to start preparing the dough and were rolling out rosquetes until about noon, making over 1,000! Doña Chana let me make a pan of my own rosquetes, and needless to say they weren’t as perfectly formed as hers or her daughter’s were, but they ended up tasting the same!
|Doña Chana (right) and her daughter rolling out cookies|
|Making the circular forms, then using the cheese grater to make the design|
|Ready for the oven! The pan in the foreground is the one that I made (they look a little irregular compared to the others :)|
|Lighting the wood to heat the oven|
|Removing from the oven|
|Nice and toasted!|
As we talked about my impending departure in April, Doña Chana seemed appalled that soon I would be back in the U.S. where she had heard that Nicaraguan staples like yucca root was apparently $5/lb. (here it is less than $1), and where there would be no rosquetes available! She promised to mail me some, but I doubt they would taste the same after two weeks in-transit to Alaska. She did give me a simple recipe, and if I can find some good corn, I may be able to make some. Here is Doña Chana’s recipe for a small batch of rosquetes: 5-6 pounds of corn (cooked then ground), 1 pound of vegetable shortening, 1-2 pounds of sugar, 2-3 tablespoons of baking soda, and a pinch of salt. Mix all ingredients and form into rounds (use a cheese grater to stamp the top if you want), place on ungreased baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. I can’t wait to try it out back home – probably won’t taste the same coming from a gas oven rather than a woodstove though.
|Ready to eat!|