In the westernmost part of Nicaragua close to the Honduran border lays a small town noted for Rosquillas and other gastronomic specialities – El Viejo. El Viejo is located in the sugar producing department of Chinandega, The town has developed a rich assortment of sweet pastries made from locally grown produce. There is for instance cajeta del viejo, a type of dulce de leche prepared by slowly simmering sweetened milk, and bollitos de leche, which can best be described as small scones with a Chinandegan twist. Together with its neighbor town Somoto in the adjoining department of Madriz, El Viejo is also renowned for its rosquillas. Rosquilla ia a corn-based donut shaped pastry that has been compared to the Italian biscotti.
In Chinandega, rosquillas are typically accompanied with a cup of hot coffee from the nearby plantations. If you want to devour your rosquillas the proper way you should let them float in your cup for half a minute or more.
Around Christmas and Easter Week each year, a steady stream of tucked away bags of these pastries enters the United States in the luggage of Nicas traveling to visit expat families and friends for the holidays. In addition to this informal import, approximately half a ton of them are shipped to the ExpoNica exhibition in Miami each year.
Ingredients to make 100 rosquillas
- 3 lbs of Nicaraguan cheese (queso seco). If you can’t get your hands on genuine Nicaraguan cheese, the firm and salty Queso Cotija de Montaña from Mexico can be used as a substitute.
- 3 lbs of masa (for more info, visit the Nacatamal recipe page)
- 2 eggs
- 4 tablespoons of butter
- 4 tablespoons of lard from beef
- 2 tablespoons of lard from pork
How to make rosquillas
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F or 175 degrees C.
- Finely grate the cheese and mix it with the masa.
- Add eggs, butter and both types of lard and mix all ingredients until combined.
- Knead the dough a few times before rolling it out until it’s roughly ½ inch thick.
- Use the roll to make small donut-shaped rosquillas and place them on cookie sheets.
- Bake in the oven until they get a little color.
- Remove the rosquillas from the oven and let them cool down.
- Heat up the oven to 200 degrees F or 100 degrees C and return the rosquillas.
- Bake until they are crispy.
- Dust with confectioners’ sugar.