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A family member recently inherited a recipe for some simple but delicious crumbly cookies from her grandmother. They consist of flour, sugar, and canola oil with cinnamon on top.

The grandmother in question calls them "monte cows". No one knows the correct pronunciation, meaning or origin of the name. Does something by a similar name exist? What is it really called and why?

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can you post the full recipe.... the things you listed are basically the building blocks for quite a few thing. –  sarge_smith Jun 12 '11 at 18:08
    
@sarge_smith I still don't have all the details, but I have edited the ingredients to reflect new information. The thing I would most like to find out is the correct name of these cookies that is being approximated by the name in the title. –  WAF Jun 13 '11 at 2:06
    
My guess would be the actual word is "Montague" which is a very common French name. In this case there are unfortunately a large number of possible origins: Based on a person or cookbook author by that name, based on a coffee-shop with that name, in honour of some famous person with that name, etc.... –  user2215 Jun 15 '11 at 0:14
    
My great grandma from Spain made them. They were pronounced in our family as monte cows. They had anise in them as well. I hated them –  user29510 Nov 25 at 1:58

4 Answers 4

up vote 3 down vote accepted

The way my French boyfriend and French roommate (both with Spanish grandmothers) pronounce the name, it does sound like "Monte Cows," or "monte cailloux." As far as I have been explained this cookie have resulted from a mix ofMuslim/Ottoman cuisine and Spanish cuisine; it's definitely not French. It is also affectionately referred to as a "poor person's cookie" because of its super-simple ingredients.

The recipe is a simple ratio of 3:2:1 -- 3 parts flour, two parts sugar, one part oil (we've used canola or peanut, both work well). We've used measuring cups or just regular mugs or even small bowls and it has worked every time. If they're a tiny bit dry and crumble too easily when you're shaping them, adding a tiny bit more oil helps keep everything together. Cinnamon sprinkled on top is great, and I tried adding a tiny half-teaspoon of almond extract once.

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Mantecado (Montecado) maybe? Does this look like it?

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Montecao or montecado are little crumbly cookies that originated in spain. They are very appreciated through Europe and spain colonies.

In the ancient tradition montecao were made with pig fat to prevent muslim to eat them (a very very very long time ago...) Now more popular with vegetable oil.

I make them quite often. They are delicious. One time I tried to replace the oil by butter and it was awful.

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Talon8's answer makes sense, since "Manteca" is the spanish word for "fat", as in some sort of cooking fat (e.g. oil, butter, margerine, shortening). "Matntecado" could be roughly translated as "Buttered". The pronunciation would be man-te-ca-do (soft "a" as in apple, soft "e" as in egg, strong "o" as in Oh!)

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