San Nicolas Cookies – Pampanga’s Delicacy (Panecillos de San Nicolas)

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The known keeper of Kapampangan San Nicolas Cookies is Lillian Lising-Borromeo, more popularly known as Atching Lillian shared how simple San Nicolas cookies are made out of basic ingredients. The cookies has intricate embroidered-like design that was shaped in a hand carved wooden mold creates a beautiful unique Panecillos de San Nicolas.


  • rice flour – 1 and 1/2 cups ( Mochiko brand, from Asian markets)
  • cornstarch – 1/2 cup
  • cake flour – 2 cups
  • baking powder – 1 Tablespoon
  • salt – 1/2 teaspoon
  • granulated sugar – 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons
  • eggyolks – 6
  • coconut milk (canned) – 1/2 cup
  • unsalted butter or margarine – 1/2 cup, softened at room temperature
  • fresh lemon zest – 1 teaspoon
  • vegetable oil – 1/2 cup


  1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl : cornstarch, baking powder, salt, sugar, egg yolks, coconut milk, softened butter, lemon zest and oil. Blend well with a wooden spoon. Slowly add the cake flour and the rice flour, knead it into the mixture till it resembles a thick dough and has a smooth surface. Mixing by hand should take about 10 minutes till it is smooth and all ingredients are incorporated.
  2. Place the dough into an airtight container and freezer for 2 to 4 hours or overnight.
  3. When ready to bake, take the dough out of the freezer and thaw on the counter for 8 to 10 minutes. Keep the dough very cold so it is easy to roll out and handle on the heirloom cookie molds.
  4. Grease with baking spray or shortening the surface of the San Nicolas mold which has the design. Make sure to grease the inner crevices and corners so that the dough can be removed easily after shaping.
  5. Place a chunk of the dough, about 4 tablespoons over the San Nicolas mold, on the hand carved portion. Flatten with your hand to spread it around evenly. Place a piece of parchment or wax paper over the dough, which is over the wooden mold. Using a rolling pin, roll and flatten the dough so it gets embedded in the design.
  6. Place a round or oval cookie cutter over the San Nicolas mold, to cut the dough to the appropriate shape needed. Trim the edges of the cookie if needed, whether round or oval. Quickly transfer the molded dough onto a baking sheet that has parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet.
  7. Bake Pan de San Nicolas at a preheated oven of 325 F degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or till top is brown.
  8. When done, cool the cookies on a cookie rack. They will be crisp on the outside, but will have a slightly soft shortbread texture inside. It will take at least 30- 40 minutes for the cookies to cool on the rack. When Pan de San Nicolas cookies are cooled, wrap in white cellophane wrappers to show off the intricate designs. Store in an airtight glass or plastic jar.

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