Around the World in 12 Dishes: Exploring Cuba

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This month we are exploring Cuba with Around the World in 12 Dishes. I was rather excited to learn more about Cuba since it is such a mysterious country to me. With all the trade and travel restrictions it seems like an unknown place. We have explored Cuba with books, stories, music, crafts and food from home. To learn more about Cuba and see more resources check out my introduction post at the Around the World in 12 Dishes blog. We had also learned a bit about Cuba during the Hispanic Heritage Month when we read about Celia Cruz, a Cuban-American salsa singer. 

Celia Cruz 1
Celia Cruz By Lionel Decoster (Own work) 
[GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

For our exploration we made some Cuban Cookies or Torticas. I saw a recipe for these cookies in two different books, so I thought I would try them. The recipe we used came from Cooking the Cuban Way by Alison Behnke and Victor Manuel Valens. The cookies are a sugar cookie flavored with lime. All three of us loved them!!

Cuban Cookies from Cooking the Cuban Way

1 stick of butter at room temperature
1 cup of sugar
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon lime zest (grated lime peel)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
powdered sugar for sprinkling

1) In the mixer cream butter and sugar together. (You can use a wooden spoon if the butter is soft enough.)

2) Add egg yolks, lime juice and zest and vanilla. Blend thoroughly. (We zested the lime and squeezed the juice before we began.)

3) In a separate bowl mix the flour, salt and baking powder together. Then add it to the butter mixture and mix well (until it forms a dough). Wrap in wax paper and refrigerate for an hour.

4) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Use your fingers to shape the dough into walnut size balls and place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until very lightly browned. Allow cookies to sit on baking sheet for 5 more minutes out of the oven. Remove from baking sheet and sprinkle with powdered sugar. I put our powdered sugar in a salt shaker so Hazel could easily sprinkle them. This recipe made about 24 cookies.

I also tried a version of a Cuban Avocado Salad for our early Thanksgiving dinner. However my mother and I added more than just the lettuce, avocado and red onion to our salad and made it more like a traditional salad. We added tomatoes and black olives. It was delicious. Sorry I didn't take any pictures of it.

We also made some Cuban yarn dolls. We found the instructions in  Traditional Crafts from the Caribbean by Florence Temko. They were very easy to make since the first part was just wrapping the yarn around cardboard. Then tying off sections.

There were no instructions for clothes so we made some out of felt and glued them the best we could. Hazel is very happy with them.


That is our exploration of Cuba. Now it is time for the Around the World Blog Hop. Around the World in 12 Dishes is hosted by these lovely blogs:

Adventures In Mommydom, Afterschool for Smarty Pants, All Done Monkey, Crafty Moms Share, Glittering Muffins, Kid World Citizen, Mermaids' Makings, The Mommy Talks and The Usual Mayhem

I hope you will take the time to check them all out and check out everyone's great explorations of Cuba. If you have a Cuban dish or craft or lesson, please share it here as well!! 
For more posts on Cuba and Cuban stories check out Celia Cruz, Cendrillon: A Caribbean Cinderella, Columbus Day, and Sugar Cane: A Caribbean Rapunzel.