6 More Kinds of Cookies from the PhilippinesDecember 9, 2019
We’ve only scratched the surface. There’s so much more to learn about Filipino cookies. As we’ve illustrated before, these biskuwits—although bearing some similarities—vary in form and flavor; and there’s even more distinction as you cross different regions. This time around, we’re exploring some delicacies from the Visayas, particularly the western part of the islands. Here’s part two of our guide to Philippine cookies:
Note: Our research has opened us up to an entire world of Filipino cookies. We might even have to do a part three.
Bañadas are round cookies glazed with a white sugar spread. The biscuit is light and crumbly, and the coating accounts for all the sweetness (and it’s a lot). Bañadas are believed to have originated from the Iloilo-Bacolod area, with several brands still selling it as pasalubong to this day.
Barquillos come from a Spanish recipe for wafer rolls using flour, sugar, egg whites, and butter. Unlike the barquillos from Spain’s barquilleros, the Filipino version is thinner, rolled out into a long cylindrical shape, and doesn’t have the same waffle-like grid pattern. They are most associated with Deocampo bakery in Iloilo City, who have been producing the snack since 1898.
There are several variations of barquillos. They can come in different flavors—and their corresponding colors—such as ube and pandan. Sometimes, they’re sold as barquiron, where it’s filled with polvoron. Some people also combine barquillos with other desserts; for example, as a vessel for ice cream or a cake topping.
Most people associate biscocho with Iloilo’s Original Biscocho Haus, which has been producing the biscuit since 1975. However, their versions are just some of many. Biscocho is actually an umbrella term for twice-baked (old) bread that’s usually coated with butter and sugar (and sometimes garlic).
Iloilo is known for biscocho de caña and biscocho prinsipe. Both use stale bread as a base, but de caña doesn’t use butter (only sugar); while prinsipe uses a good amount of butter and sugar. Kinihad (Ilonggo for “sliced”) is another type of biscocho from the region. This one’s made thinner, and with neither butter nor sugar.
Manila also has its own biscocho, aptly named biscocho de Manila. These are small and round, and are dusted with sugar. Yet another variant is Pasuquin biscocho, named after the town of Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte where it originated. Unlike the others, this biscocho is made using freshly-baked buns that are later rolled. They come either hard (like other twice-baked biscochos) or soft (baked only once). They don’t use butter or sugar; instead, they’re flavored with anise giving them a slightly tangy and salty taste.
Galletas (from the Spanish word meaning “biscuit”) are another Ilonggo delicacy. Unlike their Tagalog counterpart, these plain cookies are thin and round. They’re generally tasteless (not really) in the sense that bread is, but has a hint of sweetness that makes it an addicting snack. Panaderia de Molo is galletas’ most famous producer; and they recommend pairing it with a cup of tsokolate.
Lubid-lubid are small, crispy pieces of bread resembling twisted ropes, hence its name. “Lubid” means “twisted” or “rope” in Hiligaynon. It’s also called “pinisi,” “pilipit,” or “shakoy.” They’re made using regular dough made of flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. Recipes vary in the type of flour used; those that use rice flour end up being chewier. These are then deep-fried, and later coated in sugar and/or sesame seeds.
Inspired by Hershey’s chocolate kisses, peanut kisses are similarly shaped cookies made from peanuts and egg whites (and sugar). These are a Boholano delicacy (and thus, an essential pasalubong), reminiscent of the city’s famous Chocolate Hills.
Peanut kisses were conceptualized by Carolina Alvarez Butalid in an effort to maximize her family’s peanut farm. The recipe is said to have been developed around World War II, but stayed within the family. It was only in the 60’s that it was mass-produced.