Puerto Rican Little Butter Cookies (Mantecaditos)

THE OLDEST to the youngest enjoy the happy family get-together on Sundays in Puerto Rico. Someone plays a guitar while others sing. And the little butter cookies, made by the dozens, quickly disappear.

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
4 tablespoons solid shortening
1 1/4 cups flour
4 tablespoons sugar
3 maraschino cherries, cut into eighths

Preparation:

Beat the butter and shortening until smooth in a deep bowl. Add the sugar, mix well. Add the almond extract. Sift the flour, stir it into the butter mixture until the mixture holds together. Do not overmix.

Taking up the mixture with a teaspoon, form into little balls the size of a walnut. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and flatten with your fingers. Press a cherry sliver into the center. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25 minutes or until delicately browned. Makes 23 cookies.

Cherlene August (Teri August's Daughter)