The famous Santa Clara's cookies (Tortitas Santa Clara)

The Santa Clara's cookies or Tortitas Santa Clara are a traditional mexican dessert from Puebla, created in the Colonial period of Mexico, they most probably were created by the nuns from the Santa Clara convent. These cookies are a bit like shortbreads, the result from the early combination of spanish cooking methods with meso-american ingredients. These cookies are relatively unknown outside Mexico and Mexican communities but they are very popular in Mexico itself...

| Yield: 20-30 cookies | Preparation: | Cooking time: | Total time: | | by:

Recipe for Tortitas Santa Clara


* 1/2 cup water
* 1 cup icing sugar (125 g)
* 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
* 3 egg yolks
* 1 and 1/2 cup shortening (380 g)
* 6 cups flour
* 5 Sheets of waxed paper or brown paper

For the cookie dough:
* 1 lb. pumpkin seeds
* 1 tablespoon tequesquite or salt
* 2 and 1/2 cups sugar
* 1/2 cup water
* 1 cup milk


1) In a bowl, dissolve the baking soda and powdered sugar in 1/2 cup water; add butter and beat with a wooden spoon until you get a creamy texture. Stir in flour and mix well with hands to form a paste.

2) Place a sheet of waxed paper on a flat surface; sprinkle some flour over it and place over it a little bit of dough, cover with another sheet of paper, also covered with flour and carefully press on the top sheet until the dough is a bit less thick then 1/2 inch.

3) Remove the top waxed paper sheet, cut the dough with a 2 and 1/2" round cutter and carefully detach it to place it on a baking sheet covered by a sheet of waxed paper. On the edge of each tortilla, place a strip of the same dough to form a small rim; use this strip of dough to mark the outer edge with a fork to make the typical design of these cookies.

4) Let the uncooked dough for these cookies rest for 24 hours, then place in preheated oven at 400 °F and bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until cooked through. Let them cool down while we prepare the filling...

5) To make the filling put the pumkin seeds to soak the day before in two cups of water mixed with tequesquite or salt. The next day wash the seeds to remove the green flakes, dry with a cloth then grind to a powder with a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder.

6) Cook the sugar in half a cup of water until it reaches hard ball stage or 260 degrees, which can be recognized when putting a little drop of this syrup in a glass of cold water forms a ball with a hard consistency. Add the crushed pumpkin seeds, boil a little then remove from the heat and whisk. When the syrup has cooled down a bit add the milk; continue beating until cool and then spread this icing syrup over the cookies.

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