Roscas de Canela (Mexican Cinnamon Cookies), photo by Sonia Mendez GarciaPhoto by Sonia Mendez Garcia

Roscas de Canela (Mexican Cinnamon Cookies)

Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 20 cookies

Navigating my way through Pinterest one day, I came across a site that featured many Mexican recipes for traditional sweet breads. I tend to shy away from them, only because sometimes they don’t translate well and I would hate to ruin the recipe. These roscas de canela, or cinnamon cookies, caught my eye because they required very few ingredients and I could actually understand the directions completely.

The only thing that stood out to me were the instructions to bake the cookies for 45 minutes! Well, good thing my instincts as a cook kicked in, and I set my timer for 15 minutes. They were done! Any longer and I would have been looking at burnt cookies. And of course, as always, I added my own touch to the recipe by adding a little ground anise and dredging the cookies in a cinnamon and sugar mixture.

If you've never heard of rosca before, it's typically a type of sweet bread or flaky pastry. The most famous one is Rosca de Reyes, or Three Kings Bread, which is a treat served on January 6, or Three Kings Day. But you don't have to wait for a special occasion to make this batch of cinnamon cookies!

And by the way, if you like these cookies, wait until you try this recipe for cinnamon and pumpkin empanadas!


  • ½ cup shortening
  • ½ can sweetened condensed milk (6 ounces)
  • cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground anise
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup sugar mixed with 2 teaspoons of cinnamon for dredging

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  1. Preheat oven to 350º F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, set aside. Sift the flour, 1 tablespoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon anise, and baking soda together into a bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the shortening with a mixer until fluffy. While the mixer is still running, add in the condensed milk, and gradually add in the flour as much as you can. Mix in the rest with a wooden spoon to form a dough.
  3. Roll out 20 equal-sized dough balls. On a flat surface, gently, using your hand, roll each ball out into the shape of a skinny cigar. Bring the ends together to form a circle and transfer to lined baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from oven and while still warm, carefully dredge in the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Cool completely before storing in airtight container.
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