Mexican vanilla and cinnamon on the inside, cinnamon and sugar on the outside. This cookie is soft and packed with flavor, and pairs perfectly with your morning cup of coffee.
Disclaimer: blog post contains affiliate links.
This cookie has a lot of names and variations if you search ‘Mexican cinnamon cookies’ online. Truth be told I never paid attention to the name growing up when my mom would take us with her to the pañaderia (Mexican bakery). I just knew this cookie was one of the many I hoped she would buy for us. Years later when I first began baking, this was one of the very first recipes I ever made. My mom had a handwritten recipe shared with her from years earlier, and she had it tucked away in a drawer with tons other recipes.
I’ve been making the recipe my mother has written down on a yellowing piece of paper for at least 20 years now. I’ve made it for family, friends, and coworkers. I’ve brought it to parties, gifted to others, and also hoarded an entire bake all for myself. I can’t count how many times I have made this recipe because it is truly my favorite recipe – ever. If I find myself too busy to make a batch then you can find me at my local La Monarca bakery picking up a box. I can devour a box if I was throwing caution (and my diet) into the wind. They are just the most delicious cookies to me.
This recipe is not the exact recipe from the one my mom has written down. I’ve modified it ever so slightly through the years, but I promise you they are worth every calorie.
Notes Prior To Baking
Mexican Vanilla: I use Mexican vanilla from Nielsen Massey in this recipe. You may be wondering – what is the difference between Mexican vanilla and ‘just’ vanilla? Well, Mexican vanilla typically undergoes a different harvesting process than other vanillas. Its subtle notes of earth and spices pair beautifully with cinnamon and chocolate. While you can substitute any vanilla and still achieve a delicious cookie, I do highly recommend investing in a Mexican vanilla to use for this recipe.
Cinnamon: ahh, canela (aka cinnamon). Mexicans use it in so many dishes to enhance flavors, such as mole, horchata, and – you guessed it – cookies. Canela (or cinnamon) is not the same in the United States as the one used in Mexico. Rather this cinnamon is a bit milder with a subtle floral flavor. It is meant to enhance the richness of the dish, not overpower it. Mexico uses cinnamon from Sri Lanka or Madagascar, where as the United States imports from China, Vietnam, India or Indonesia (source). You can find it in your local Mexican market as Canela, or online as Ceylon Cinnamon. For this cookie I highly urge you to use the the cinnamon (canela, Ceylon cinnamon) as used in Mexico.
Shortening: no butter in this recipe! This recipe utilizes shortening instead. Such a crucial ingredients because shortening is what helps this cookie maintain its tall structure but still produce a very soft and light cookie. That being said, NO SUBSTITUTIONS!
No Chill: this recipe requires no chill time, woohoo! Make, bake, enjoy!
Storage: you can freeze these cookies in freezer safe ziplock bags or containers for up to 3 months. They also store well in ziplock bags at room temperature for about 5 days.
Tools For The Job
silicone baking mat or parchment paper
Mexican Cinnamon Cookies
- 357 g all purpose flour 2 ¾ c
- 185 g shortening 1 c
- 200 g sugar 1 c
- 2 ea large egg
- 1 tbsp mexican vanilla
- 1 tsp ground Ceylon cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
Cinnamon Sugar Coating Mixture
- 50 g sugar ¼ c
- 1 ½ tsp ground Ceylon cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large bowl add shortening, sugar and vanilla. Using a rubber spatula, fold ingredients into one another until well combined. Please note that because shortening does not dissolve as easily as butter, you will need to fold in well and ensure no large bits of shortening remain. Add eggs, and whisk until ingredients are well combined. In the same bowl add flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt and fold into wet ingredients until all is well combined.
- Prepare baking sheet with silicone baking mat or parchment paper, and set aside. Take your 2 tbsp ice cream scoop and scoop out enough dough to fit within the scoop. Place on baking sheet. Place cookies 2″ apart – so about 8 cookies per baking sheet. Place in oven and bake for approximately 15 minutes.
- While cookies are baking, prepare sugar cinnamon mixture. Combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and mix well so evenly distributed. Set aside.
- Remove cookies from oven and place on wire rack to cool. Allow to cool for about 1 minute before handling. Take cookie (VERY CAREFULLY, THEY ARE HOT) and place in sugar cinnamon mixture. Roll in mixture to create an even coat on all sides of the cookie. Place back on baking sheet and allow to cool completely before enjoying.