Portuguese Sweet Potato Cookies | Broas de Natal
A variation on Broa Castelar, these sweet potato cookies are made at Christmastime in Portugal. This variety is uniquely made by candying the sweet potato before adding it to the dough.
- 450 g sweet potato, raw with the skin on 1 lb
- 380 g sugar 2 cups
- 340 g semolina 2 cups
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground fennel
- pinch of salt
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2 egg yolks
- splash of milk
The Day Before Baking
- Boil the sweet potato until you can easily pierce a fork through it.
- Remove it from the water (reserve 140 ml or ⅔ cup of the water) and set it aside until it is cool enough to touch. Then, peel the skin off and discard.
- Puree the sweet potato in a food processor until smooth.
- In a medium-sized pot, pour in the reserved cooking liquid and add the sugar. Stir to dissolve and then boil it until it reaches 108℃ / 226℉, which is the thread stage of candy development. Turn off the heat and whisk in the pureed sweet potato until fully incorporated.
- Turn the heat to low and stir constantly until it becomes a thick paste and you can see the bottom of the pan when moving the mixture aside. This will take about 10-15 minutes. Remove it from the heat and set it aside while you mix together your other ingredients.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the semolina, cinnamon, fennel, salt, and lemon zest. Then stir in the candied sweet potato until it forms a thick dough.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit out at room temperature for 12 hours or overnight.
- The next day, use a tablespoon to scoop out the dough and form elliptical shaped cookies by rolling it in your hands. Place the cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet. They can be placed pretty close together since they don't spread much during baking.
- Whisk together the egg yolks and milk and brush on the top of each cookie.
- Bake in a 400℉ / 200℃ for 12-15 minutes, or until golden and slightly cracked on the surface.
- Let cool on a rack before serving.