In a year when more people than ever took up baking at home, these four North Forkers went even further: They’ve turned their home-baked treats into thriving small businesses. Some have been professional pastry chefs for years while others have perfected their desserts in their own kitchen. To help celebrate the holidays, we asked each to share a festive cookie recipe. Whether you buy your treats from these bakers or make them in your own home, we hope they bring you comfort and joy.
Yaralise Garcia, the owner of Bori Bakes, always wanted to open up a baking business rooted in her Puerto Rican culture but didn’t know if the traditional desserts would do well on the North Fork. It took some convincing from her family and friends to show her that the uniqueness of her pastries is what would make the business succeed. Many customers are tasting these desserts for the first time, so she provides a description of history and rich flavors behind each. Others are Puerto Ricans who find joy in connecting with their culture. “My favorite is when I get feedback about my desserts and how it brings them memories about their abuela who would bake these desserts for them,” Garcia said.
“You can really make it your own,” said Garcia of these Puerto Rican shortbread cookies. “You can leave it as is with some powdered sugar or you can make a dent and add guava, sprinkles or any sort of extra flavoring. It brings back so many memories of family gatherings in Puerto Rico, especially now during COVID when we haven’t been able to spend a lot of time with our family.”
- 2/3 cup unsalted butter
- 2/3 cup white sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. almond extract
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 2/3 cup flour plus 1-2 tsp. flour as needed
- Guava paste or sprinkles (optional)
- 1 to 2 Tbsp. milk (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper, or use an ungreased cookie pan.
- In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in almond/vanilla extract.
- In a separate bowl, whisk flour, cornstarch and a dash of salt. Slowly add dry ingredients to the wet mix and continue until well combined.
- Mix in 1 tsp. of flour at a time alternating with 1 tsp. of milk until 2 tsp. of each have been added to the mixture.
- Divide dough into small balls, about 1 ½ tsp. each. Create an indent in each cookie with your thumb. Add sprinkles or a small cube of guava paste (about a half-inch cube).
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the edges are golden. Cool on a cookie sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Makes 2 dozen cookies.