Cookie Culture of Guatemala

Exploring the Sweet Side of Guatemala

_Blog Images (5).png__PID:8c032e53-78d6-48ce-b98d-4440bfda62eb

A Journey Through Cookies and Culture

One of the things we love most about cookies is that they are a universal delight. Last month's Cookie Community highlight took us down to Antigua and Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, where our founder enjoyed a taste of learning about Guatemala's vast cookie culture. This trip to Guatemala was especially enlightened by the timing of Holy Week, Guatemala's most celebrated and visited week of the year.

For this trip to Guatemala, we flew down to Guatemala City and spent a few days in both Antigua and also in a small town on Lake Atitlan, Santa Catarina Palopó. We were fortunate to go with a friend who had spent every childhood summer in Antigua, subsequently, she was quite familiar with the area and best tourist spots.

The Unique Cookies of Guatemala

During our trip to Guatemala, we were delighted to explore the rich and diverse cookie culture that permeated the streets of the vibrant city of Antigua. From cozy coffee shops (that served the best local coffee, I might add) to bustling bakeries and candy stands, the aroma of freshly baked cookies filled the streets, inviting us to indulge in a sweet treat at every corner. One bakery/candy store that stood out to us in particular was Doña Maria Gordillo, which is a confection staple in Antigua. Dona Maria Gordillo did not disappoint and offered a vast array of candies and cookies, most of which were dessert staples of Guatemala. Another bakery highlight was Doña Luisa Xicotencatl, which was a café and bakery, offering a fresh array of breads, pastries, and of course decorated sugar cookies. Antigua’s cookie scene was a true reflection of the country's culinary diversity, offering a wide array of interesting and unique cookie varieties that piqued our curiosity.

One notable observation was that many Guatemalan cookies leaned towards the drier side, with a perfect balance of sugar and butter that created a delectable, soft bite. They also lean towards milk and sugar-based desserts, on the lighter side compared to our heavy butter and sugar-based desserts here in the USA. Despite the simplicity of their ingredients, these cookies exuded a comforting familiarity that resonated with us, still evoking memories of home and tradition.

_Blog Images (6).png__PID:78d668ce-798d-4440-bfda-62eb1848f2ec
_Blog Images (7).png__PID:5378d668-ce79-4d44-80bf-da62eb1848f2

 Cookies and Their Role in Guatemalan Traditions

As we immersed ourselves in the local dessert scene, we found that cookies played a significant role in Guatemalan celebrations and everyday life. Whether enjoyed as a quick snack on the go or savored during special occasions, cookies acted as a unifying element that brought people together, transcending language barriers and cultural differences. We particularly enjoyed seeing (and eating) the decorated sugar cookies created to match the themes and Bible figures of the Holy Week parade. These decorated sugar cookies tasted a bit less sweet and slightly drier to RGC's decorated sugar cookie recipe.

We also enjoyed sampling the local Chocolate Chip cookies, which reminded us of our own RGC roots. These Chocolate Chip Cookies tended to be a bit more dry and simple in flavor, compared to the buttery, chocolatey, and sweet flavor in our own Chocolate Chip Cookies. Let’s just say, that if you have to choose between a cookie in Guatemala, don’t waste your appetite on their Chocolate Chip!

Guatemala offers a variety of traditional cookies that are enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. Some popular Guatemalan cookies include:

1. Champurradas: These crispy and crumbly cookies are made with a mix of corn and wheat flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Champurradas are often enjoyed with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate.

2. Polvorosas: Polvorosas are shortbread cookies that are rich in flavor and dusted with powdered sugar. These delicate cookies melt in your mouth and are a favorite during special occasions. Polvorosas reminded me a bit of “Russian Tea Cakes” which are a powdered wedding cookie that Gram used to bake, however, Polvorosas offered a bite more depth of flavor and a slightly less dry mouth-feel in the bite.

3. Roscas de Maíz: Roscas de Maíz are cornmeal cookies that have a unique texture and flavor. These cookies are often shaped into rings and can be flavored with ingredients like anise or cinnamon.

4. Hojaldras: Hojaldras are flaky, puff pastry-like cookies that are sweet and buttery. These indulgent treats are perfect for enjoying with a cup of tea or as a dessert.

5. Canillitas de Leche: Canillitas de Leche are milk cookies that are soft and delicate. These cookies are made with milk, sugar, and flour, giving them a subtle sweetness that pairs well with a glass of milk or coffee. Milk-based cookies and candies are extremely popular types of sweets in Guatemala.

These are just a few examples of the delicious cookies that you can find in Guatemala, each offering a unique taste and texture that reflects the country's culinary heritage. The joy of indulging in a warm, freshly baked cookie in Guatemala was not just a culinary experience but a heartfelt connection to the warmth and hospitality of the Guatemalan people. Cookies truly served as a comforting reminder of home, no matter where our trip took us, adding a touch of familiarity and nostalgia to our journey through the enchanting streets and towns of Guatemala.

_Blog Images (8).png__PID:2e5378d6-68ce-498d-8440-bfda62eb1848

For more Really Good Adventures, join our cookie community!