Pan de Cajita – A Gluten-free Treat from Guerrero

The state of Guerrero is named after Vicente Guerrero (1782-1831), the subject of one of my recent posts; he was the second president and one of the fathers of the Mexican republic, abolishing slavery in 1829.  Guerrero was betrayed, and deposed shortly after that, and by execution, he met his untimely death, on February 14, 1831.   As a homage, I am sharing the recipe for a treat from Teloloapan, Guerrero; this is a nice quick bread made with rice flour, and other wholesome ingredients, baked in handmade paper boxes, hence the name “pan de cajita” – “little box bread”.   In Guerrero, it is a cherished old-fashioned bread, ubiquitous around the Day of the Dead, in November, but also available year-round; for this post, I decorated some for Valentine’s Day.  

Guerrero Style Little Box Bread –

Pan de cajita estilo Guerrero

Printable recipe:  Pan de Cajita

Ingredients (for 6 boxes)

½ cup (115 g) butter; unsalted, at room temperature
3 tbsp lard or margarine
1 cup brown sugar
4 eggs
1 tbsp baking powder
½ tsp cinnamon
2 cups (280g) rice flour
Sprinkles, coloured sugar, etc. for topping (optional) 

Parchment paper or brown craft paper
6-inch-long wooden skewers, or toothpicks

First, make the boxes.  If using craft paper, cut twelve 7.5x5in (19x13cm) rectangles, and stack in pairs, to form double layers.  Starting with a roll of parchment paper that is 15in (38cm) wide, cut six 5in (13cm) strips.  Fold in half, to form double layer rectangles 7.5x5in (19x13cm, photo below, left). Working with one double layer rectangle at a time, fold a 1in (2.54cm) rim (photo below, right):

Pinch each corner into outward triangles, to form walls, then fold each triangle towards the longer side of the wall (photo below, left).  For craft paper, the skewers may be used to punch holes at the corners, then thread to secure, but parchment paper is very sturdy, so first make two  incisions at each corner with the tip of a pair of scissors (photo below, right):

Thread skewers through the incisions, along the longer sides of the box; repeat with the rest of the materials, to form six 5.5x3in (14×7.5cm) boxes:

NOTE: If skewers are not available, use one toothpick at each corner.  

Arrange boxes on a baking tray and reserve.  Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC).

Place butter (at room temperature) and margarine (or lard) in a mixing bowl (photo below, left).  Add sugar and beat with a wooden spatula, breaking up sugar clumps and mixing with fats (photo below, right):

Once the butter and sugar become a smooth paste, add eggs, baking powder and cinnamon (photo below, left).  Beat until well incorporated, then start adding rice flour gradually, mixing in with the spatula (photo below, right):

Continue adding the rest of the rice flour, mixing until the batter becomes uniform and smooth; it will be rather thick.  Divide batter amongst prepared boxes, they should be filled about halfway (photo below, right):

Sprinkle tops with granulated sugar, if using; traditional recipes do not have any topping, but I sprinkled two of the loaves (see *Valentine’s option at the end of the post).

Bake in pre-heated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean after inserting in the centre of one of the breads.  Bring out of the oven, and allow to cool on the tray:

Remove skewers/toothpicks, and open paper box.  The little loaves are crispy on the outside, and have a compact yet soft crumb inside:

* Valentine’s Option –  I got a fancy jar of French pink praline powder from my daughter’s boyfriend’s family for Christmas (merci beaucoup!):

I sprinkled this confection on top of two of the breads before baking; once baked and cooled, I used a cookie cutter, to make heart-shaped portions:

They looked adorable, the perfect size to indulge in a coffee break treat and remain slender, or for die-hard practitioners of Valentine’s Day, a sweet way to finish a meal with all the ardour of the holiday: 

I am bringing my recipe to Full Plate Thursday #577 with Miz Helen @ Miz Helen’s Country Cottage.

I am sharing my post at Thursday Favourite Things #529, with Bev @ Eclectic Red BarnPam @ An Artful MomKatherine @ Katherine’s CornerAmber @ Follow the Yellow Brick HomeTheresa @ Shoestring Elegance and Linda @ Crafts a la Mode

I am joining Fiesta Friday #421 with Angie @ Fiesta Friday

I am also sharing my recipe at What’s for Dinner? Sunday Link-Up #356 with Helen @ The Lazy Gastronome.


13 thoughts on “Pan de Cajita – A Gluten-free Treat from Guerrero

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