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?

  • can you post the full recipe.... the things you listed are basically the building blocks for quite a few thing. Jun 12, 2011 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, 2011 at 2:06
  • 1
    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, 2011 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, 2014 at 1:58

8 Answers 8


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.


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


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.


It's exciting to find this post. Our family also has a recipe called Montecows. This is how we spell it too. None of us know the real spelling. Our family is of Spanish origin from the areas around Ronda and Malaga. Our recipe must have been much enhanced through time by our family. By the time it got to my grandmother it included peanut butter, lemon rind, and solid shortening instead of oil. It is the one all of us remember and enjoy. The shortening works well for our cookie, which is dry and crumbly too.


My grandmother made them as well and brought the recipe over from Spain. They were made with anise and lard. Not healthy but they melted in your mouth. I actually had a request for them recently from my uncle, so I'm going to try finding the recipe. We pronounced it Monthecows but not sure how it is actually spelled.


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!)


My Grandmother was from Madrid, Spain. She use to make these cookies a lot for me. She too pronounced them Monte-Cows. She used all the same ingrediences, but insted of cinnamon she coated them with powdered sugar. She also used a bit of sherry and port wine to bind it together and add flavor. They all where cutouts of animals (cookie cutters) and they where mostly made for holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Birthdays. Yes, they where a poor persons way of baking and used as a gift as well in a basket. These items where cheap in the very early 1900s - my grandma was born in 1908.


My Grandmother made these and my family still makes them. Yes from Spain, northern region. We spell them Montecaos. Recipe is lard, sugar, flour, anise, and eggs. Save one egg white to wash on top and sprinkle with sugar. Mix with hands and roll out, we use cookie cutters of spade, heart, diamond and club.

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