Salpores are a type of very hard and dense sugar cookie that is typically dipped into hot coffee or milk. Different varieties of salpores exist because different types of flour can be used to make them. The main flours used for salpores in El Salvador are almidon, which is yuca flour, (also called cassava flour), rice flour, and/or corn flour. After experimenting with all three, I found that I preferred using mostly all purpose white flour with a little bit of glutinous rice flour mixed in too. I also found that I liked using shortening, as opposed to butter, margarine, or oil, because it created the softest cookie. Although salpores are known to be very hard and dry, I decided they were just as good, and actually much better, if they were softer and fluffier. Because these salpores are so soft, there is no need to dip them into anything to soften them up.
Salpore toppings vary just as much as the type of flour used. The most common topping on salpores is a dallop of some sort of fruit preserve. I used strawberry preserves here.
Here's my simple recipe for a soft, not hard, delicious shortbread salpore made of wheat flour and sticky rice flour. This recipe won't give you a clone of the salpores from El Salvador, but dare I say my version may indeed be better? (!)
2.5 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup of glutinous rice flour
1/2 cup of softened, but not melted, manteca (lard)
1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup of sugar
1 Tbsp. of baking powder
1/4 tsp. of salt
Food dye to make colors
Fruit preserves of your choosing - I like to use strawberry, guava, and orange on my salpores.
Beat lard, egg, and vanilla together in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
Add in sugar and beat well until fully mixed.
In another bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder.
Add the flour, alternately with the water, to the lard/egg/sugar mixture.
Add in 2-3 drops of red food dye and mix until you get an even pink color throughout.
Knead dough until it forms a smooth ball.
Pinch off about 12 small balls from the original ball.
Place each small ball between two plastic baggies and use a plate to press down on the ball to form a flat circle. Because these cookies are best thick, be careful not to flatten the circle too thin.
Using a cookie cutter, cut out a shape from the flat circle and place shape onto a greased baking pan.
Repeat process for all remaining balls.
Make an indent with your thumb in each cookie - this is where the fruit preserve will go.
Place a dollop of fruit into each thumb print.
Bake cookies at 300 degrees for about 20-25 minutes.
Here are a few pictures of the salpore-making process:
Here is a special cookie that I made for my helper today. I think he is trying to figure out the quickest way to eat the cookie.
by Salpores Recipe.