Since I was little, I have always loved stepping on crunchy leaves that come off the trees in the fall. They crumble under your feet and for some weird reason, to me, it’s oddly rewarding. Haha. The Spanish word for those leaves is hojarascas and these amazingly light, crumbly and addicting cookies are named after the crumbly leaves in autumn. Hojarascas is pronounced oh-ha-rascas (the H is silent).
These cinnamon sugar coated shortbread cookies have been in our family for a long time. They are very popular in the states of Nuevo León and Caohuila in Mexico. My dad’s family is from Nuevo León and I have the fondest memories of running into my Buelita’s (that’s what we called our grandmother) house, getting so hyped when I saw a bunch of these babies on the table! For the record, growing up, I used to always call these cookies polvorones – our whole family did. As I looked online, I found some people call them that as well, but the most common and official name for them is hojarascas.
This recipe is super easy and quick! We were so excited to make these cookies that were such a big part of our childhood! You can bet we’re gonna be making these for the holidays this year. YUM!
Funny story, when we looked up a recipe, I didn’t realize until we had already made the dough that the setting was at 12 dozen cookies. 12 DOZEN!! Lol. Needless to say, we made a ridiculous amount of cookies! After adapting it to our own liking, we found our perfect recipe that we feel tastes just like home. So, here’s the recipe for 3 dozen 3inch hojarascas! You are going to love them! Please make them and let us know how much you love them…because you will!
(Makes 3 dozen 3 inch perfectly crumbly and delicately addicting cookies)
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 cup sugar (plus 1 cup of sugar for coating)
- 3 teaspoons of cinnamon (plus 3 teaspoons for coating)
- 1 cup + 3 Tablespoons Crisco All Vegetable Shortening
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- Hand Mixer – I love my KitchenAid hand mixer we received from our wedding registry 😉
- Mixing Bowls – these stainless steel bowls are dreamy
- Rolling Pin – this is one below is so cute!
- Measuring Cups – I love my gold stainless steel measuring cups
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix 1/2 cup sugar and 3 teaspoons cinnamon in the blender or food processor.
- Pour into a bowl and add egg, baking powder and shortening. Combine well.
- Pour the flour in gradually, mixing it only 1/2 cup at a time. Towards the last 1/2 cup, the mixture will become difficult to stir. At this point, use your hands to knead the dough until smooth. If you find that the dough is breaking too much, add drops of water to help it stick together and continue to knead.
- Roll it out to 1/4″ – 1/2″ thick and use whatever cookie cutters you have! (We only had the cap to the baking powder can, so we used that lol.)
- Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake them for 10-15min.
- For the coating, combine the remaining sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Once the cookies are done and while they are still warm, gently toss them in the cinnamon sugar combination until fully coated.
- Let cookies cool (or don’t) and dig in!
We’re so so happy with these! The taste takes us right back to Buelita’s house running around outside with our cousins and coming inside to grab one or two or as many cookies as we could! So good! These cookies even go great with a nice, warm bowl of arroz con leche! Let us know if you try to make these, you won’t be disappointed! For another delicious Mexican treat, check out our Buñuelos recipe!
What are some of your favorite fall recipes? Any traditional foods that have been in your family for generations? We want to know!
Argelia Madrigal says
I’ll have to try them this holiday! Miss you!
I too love these cookies. You discribe my childhood the same way.
My mom made them for us kids. It’s been a long time I’ve had one. My aunts in Texas also made them when we took our summer vacations.
Thank you for the recipe.
I’m afraid to make them because I burn more than bake. 🙂
That’s awesome! Yeah I love those memories and eating them again brings them all back! You totally should try to make them sometime, they’re surprisingly easy! Let us know if you do!
Leslie Redelfs says
I am making these today with my grandson. I am thinking of adding multi-colored sprinkles on top after rolling them in the cinnamon/sugar mixture. I live in Omaha, Nebraska, and we have a family-owned Mexican grocery store with baked goods and also prepared foods. They sell these cookies with sprinkles on top. So good!
Aw! That would be so fun to add sprinkles! How did they turn out?! Your grocery store sounds sooo great! Wish we lived in Omaha so we could come shop!
Becky Cates says
I think this should be 3 teaspoons not tablespoons of cinnamon.
Sharron Houdek says
I was thinking the same thing as another poster. Can you please confirm this is 3 TBS and not 3 tsp?
Hi! Thanks for your comment! Yes, I changed it to 3 teaspoons. Enjoy!
susan upton says
Line 2 of recipe direction still states tablespoon
Still says tablespoons in the instructions. I made these last year with 3 tablespoons. Too much cinnamon but they were still enjoyable. Will bake again with 3 teaspoons this time
I agree for this mistake I was too busy doing 20 things didn’t realize the mistake. Cookie didn’t come out good at all. Very disappointed wasted my time.
Silvia Herrera says
Omg I was tripping I messed up the cookies cause I put 3 tablespoons -.-
Becky Garcia says
mine came out extremely dark (nothing like the color of your picture) and bland. I followed the recipe to a “T”. is the cinnamon supposed to be teaspoons and not tablespoons?
Hi Becky! Thanks so much for trying our recipe! We just made these guys a couple days ago as well and they came out great. The dough will look a little dark, but once they are baked, they should lighten up a little bit. We know that ovens differ, so perhaps your oven may be a little stronger than ours and they could have been baked less time to ensure a lighter color. (I’ll make that adjustment for timing in our recipe.) As far as the taste, these are a light cinnamon shortbread flavored cookie and the cinnamon sugar coating gives it that sweet kick. Make sure to coat them while they are hot from the oven so that the sugar will stick and help that flavor. I hope you try them again, I’m sorry that they didn’t work out this time. We really appreciate your feedback though! Let us know if you try them again. Much love, and happy holidays! ?
Hojarascas are my absolute favorite cookies! But my dough also came out very dark and the cookies were bland. I also thought I may have mistaken tablespoons for teaspoons since the taste of cinnamon was very strong. They don’t taste like the hojarascas I grew up eating. I may try this recipe again with less cinnamon.
Hey Gaby! Hmm, okay. That’s so odd because all the times we have made them with these measurements, the dough is dark, but as they bake, it lightens up. The flavor is light (compared to other sweeter cookies), but it is the taste that we grew up with. Please do try with less cinnamon and let us know how they turn out! We’d love to know! Thanks so much for trying our recipe. Hope it works out the next time you make them! Merry Christmas!
Suzanne Gossett says
Thank you for sharing this recipe!!! I just found you and this recipe. I love your writing and storytelling style, and I grew up on these cookies and the Barrachio(anise) cookies, which New Mexico has made it’s official state cookie…lol! We definitely had these several times a year growing up and have always been awesome and like a comfort food for me! At Christmas we go all out with a “Mexican” dinner instead of turkey or ham or whatever. I put quote marks as it isn’t authentic Mexican but more like New Mexico’s versions of Mexican dishes. We have red and green enchiladas, spanish rice, beens, tacos, tamales, chili rellenos, tortilla chips and salsa, queso and guacamole and many pie deserts, fruit salad, concha pan dulce, and both types of cookies and divinity and fudge!
So, question, do you have a video channel on youtube or other platform like Brighton or another one? I hope so!!l
Hi Suzanne! Hope you’re doing well! So glad you enjoy this recipe and we love to hear stories of other families that grew up with these cookies! Your Christmas dinner sounds amazing! We actually don’t have a YouTube or Brighton channel right now…but maybe someday soon! Thanks so much for your interest! Have a Merry Christmas with your family!
I made them!! Came out DELICIOUS! Thank you for the small batch recipe!
Awesome!! So glad you loved them! Thanks for trying our recipe!
Hilda M Swartwood says
Thank you for posting this recipe! I’ve always known them as policies but looking at recipes, it was not the recipe I wanted… until now! I will try them tomorrow and will let you know how they come out. Totally excited! God bless you and merry Christmas!
Hi Hilda! So glad you found our recipe! We hope it works out for you! Please let us know! Merry Christmas!
Tamara Garza says
My Husband always gets sad around the Holidays, due to his mother passing away when he was a young child. This cookie brings him Happy memories thank you for sharing the recipe.
Aw I’m glad that this recipe could be a part of happy memories for him. Thank you for reading! Much love and peace to you and your family!
Christian Zapata says
Thank you so much for this recipe. I just made these. They came out surprisingly really good and it’s such an easy recipe. It was very fun making them, even my 4 yr old son helped. I’m definitely making these a tradition at my house.
That’s so awesome!! Thanks for trying our recipe and letting us know. Last time I made them, my little cousin helped out too and she loved it. So glad you enjoyed them!
I had to dial down on the cinnamon a tad (I used 2 1/2 tbsp) but these came out AMAZING! I love this recipe so much and will definitely do it again!!
much love from a fellow Texan with Mexican heritage!
Aww we’re so glad!! Thanks for trying our recipe and we’re so happy that you loved them. These are our favorite cookies! So addicting lol. Right on, TexMexicans!
Cindy Perales says
So i just made these last night. I’ve been searching and searching for an hojarascas recipe and finally decided on this one. I have to admit, I also questioned the cinnamon amount. Even more so, when the cookies came out looking chocolate colored. But the end result was great! The flavor and texture was perfect. My husband grew up on hojarascas for every Christmas, and he loved them. And he will always let me know when he does not like a dish. And this was my first time at hojarascas. I suppose if your taste prefers a little less cinnamon, then taper down, but I followed recipe exactly as it is. Thanks!
Thank you for deciding to make our recipe, we’re honored 🙂 and so glad they turned out perfectly! These cookies always take us back to childhood memories at Christmas time too! So thankful they got your husband’s approval! And we agree, perhaps others may prefer less cinnamon, but we like this recipe as is. Thank you for your feedback!
Sylvia R says
I made them and the taste was great but they kept breaking Apart! I am very disappointed in this recipe. I followed step-by-step too.
I can’t wait to try this recipe! I tried some sort of cookie from the bakery at a Chiquita store near us. This cookie was sooooo yummy I keep going back even if just for this cookie. I don’t know name of cookie but your description of this cookie from your childhood sounds like I MAY have finally found it! It was a thick and large cookie but crumbly and light inside and out with a cinnamon sugar on top. The texture and taste was almost indescribable. I sure hope this is the one.
I made these and they did not come out right. They rose a bit more than I expected. The dough was so dry, I had to keep adding water to get it to come together. I couldn’t roll them out, so I rolled them into balls and pressed them flat. They came out very dry. I put them in a bowl of sugar and cinnamon as soon as they came out of the oven, but none of the sugar stuck. I’m really confused as to what went wrong. The only change I made to the recipe was using Spectrum shortening rather than Crisco, but I can’t imagine it made that much of a difference. They taste ok, but I’m disappointed with the lack of a sugar coating.
I also tried this recipe but I had to add almost 1/2 cup of water to the dough cause it wouldn’t knead together. It wasn’t just a few drops. I looked online and found the 12 dozen recipe that you mentioned and it showed that for 12 doz you use 5 cinnamon sticks.
I didn’t have cinnamon sticks so I looked up the equivalent. They showed online that you use 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon for each 1 (3″) cinnamon stick. So for this recipe for 12 doz it would have used 2.5 teaspoons of ground cinnamon in place of 5 cinnamon sticks. For 1/2 the recipe it would be 2.5 sticks.
That might explain why others also commented on this recipe about the 3 Tablespoons of cinnamon. Therefore for 1/2 the recipe as you converted, it should have been 2.5 cinnamon sticks or 1.25 teaspoons ground cinnamon NOT 3 Tablespoons of cinnamon. In measuring conversions, there are 3 tsp in a 1 Tablespoon. So 3 Tablespoons ground cinnamon in this recipe would be the same as 9 teaspoons of ground cinnamon. So to me using 9 teaspoons vs 1.25 tsp is why my dough needed water more than just a few drops as indicated in the recipe. Also to others comments too as to why it was so dark.
Also the recipe for 12 doz cookies showed 1 pound shortening or lard. I pound shortening is the same as 2.375 cups(38 tablespoons) so if you are making 1/2 the recipe it would be 1.19 cups(19 tablespoons) of shortening. Since there are 16 Tablespoons per cup, then the shortening should be 1 cup + 3 Tablespoons to equal the 19 tablespoons (1.19 cups per 1/2 pound). This might also contributed to why my dough was so dry with the 7.75 extra teaspoons of cinnamon and minus 3 T of shortening.
I will try this again with the 1.25 tsp ground cinnamon not 3 Tablespoons and will add 3 Tablespoons shortening so that I am using the appropriate amount required for 1/2 pound of shortening. I will post update and let others know who had the same problems that I had because the cookies were good but the dough was hard to work with and it was too dark.
Meghan Dyer says
Was just checking back in to see how it went on the remake with the 1.19 cup ( 19 tbsp’s) shortening and the less amount of cinnamon.
Hi! Thank you for your feedback! We honestly have taken a hiatus from this blog which is why we haven’t been updating, but thanks so much for you input! I made those changes to the recipe so that others can have the correct measurements! Thank you and happy holidays!!!
Thank you for sharing this recipe! The cookies were delicious and they were perfect for what I needed. My first batch came out a little dry, but I think it was because I over baked them a little. Mine also made a lot more than three dozen, but I used a small cookie cutter. Overall good recipe!
Loved this recipe! Perfecto! My family and extended in law family loved these. Their mamita just passed a year ago and she would make these for us all during the holidays and I wanted to learn from her but never got the chance. Now I can make them for the girls and warm their hearts and comfort their spirits. They will love them! I know we do and my mom and suegro did too! Chalupa!!!!!! LoL!!! Thank you sweetheart for sharing your family recipe and memory to share with mine.
I looked long and hard for a recipe that was authentic, but this one failed me, or I failed it. I am an experienced baker and had the following issues:
1. Sugaring the finished cookie did not work at all
2. Baking at 10 minutes produced a rock hard cookie. My oven is accurate at that temperature.
3. Is there no salt in the recipe?
I loved the recipe. I was looking for a recipe that the cookies were delucios, and this is it. Thank you much, every one in my family loved the Hojarascas. The hojarascas are my Favorite. Now I won’t have to buy them, I can make them by myself..
I made these with 3 tablespoons of cinnamon as directed in the recipe….I should have read the comments!! It’s definitely tea spoons….sigh
I tried this recipe for the first time and it was very good! Second round I reduced the cinnamon a bit. The cookies came out great! Can’t stop eating them…