Pastissets: A Party-Perfect Cookie Recipe from Spain


Last week, I was invited to a party. This was an exciting prospect, because typically at parties there is cake. Or as Julia Child once smartly and aptly put it, "a party without cake is just a meeting."

It was a potluck party, so naturally I decided to bring something sweet. Since these were new friends, I also wanted to kiss up a little bit. So in knowing that they had lived in Barcelona for a while (showoffs), I decided to find a recipe from Spain. Maybe a cake?

Well, almost: a cookie. In my brief research, I discovered a little something called pastissets. In looking at the recipe, which relied on lard for a tender texture and confectioners' sugar for a snowy coating, it struck me that these cookies seem very much like the love child of New Mexican biscochitos and Mexican wedding cakes (or snowballs, or whatever you want to call them). No nuts, but still that melt-in-your mouth texture. 


Apparently, in Spain sometimes pastissets are more like a sweet mini empanada cookie; it is in particular in Amposta that they're created in this way, sometimes with olive oil, sometimes with lard. The fact that some versions are made with anisette makes them only more similar to biscochitos!

I made mine with butter because I wasn't sure if any vegetarians would be in the house, and they went over quite well. I left some for my sweetie, who had to work, and he left me this note: 


So I would say they are a success.

Just to review: melt in your mouth. Nice and tender. Like Snowballs or Russian teacakes or Mexican wedding cakes but without the nuts!

I give them an A+. I hope you do too.


Makes about 24

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (original recipe called for 2/3 cup lard and 1/3 cup butter)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon peel, grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • confectioners' sugar, sifted ( for dusting)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the butter until smooth.
  3. Incorporate the sugar, egg yolk and lemon peel. Stir in the vanilla.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the cinnamon, flour, and salt; work into the buttery mixture with your hands to form a smooth dough.
  5. Roll the cookies into 
  6. Pastissets
  7. Arrange cookies on a greased or parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, or until golden.
  8. Allow to cool briefly on the cookie sheet as they are delicate when warm. If one looks like it's trying to hide, eat that one first. 
  9. Pastissets
  10. Coat with confectioners' sugar twice: once after they've cooled for a few minutes, and again before serving. 
  11. Pastissets