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Costa Rican Bizcocho Guanacasteco Recipe

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This bizcocho guanacasteco is similar to a corn flour empanada, but covered with cheese sour cream and baked to perfection.

About This Recipe

Before I tell you a bit about this recipe, I wanted to give you a quick rundown on the word “bizcocho” because it has many definitions.

In Costa Rica, a bizcocho is a cheese and sour cream baked snack. This can be either a small, hard round ring. It can also be a softer empanada-type snack covered with sour cream and melted shredded cheese.

The harder bizcocho is famous for coming from Palmares, a small town about 45 kilometers north of San Jose. There is a brand called Bizococho Palmareño that is the gold standard for bizcochos in Costa Rica. That bizcocho is also called rosquillas de queso.

The softer bizcocho is from the region of Guanacaste, which sits along the Pacific Ocean from the Nicraguan border all the way down to about the tip of the Nicoya peninsula. This bizcocho, which is the recipe I am sharing in this post, is baked and soft- more like an empanada.

In the Central Valley, this bizcocho guanacasteco is usually served with afternoon coffee. It is especially popular during Holy Week, or Semana Santa, as people have more time to bake.

A bizcocho in Puerto Rico is a cake. A bizcocho in Mexico is dirty slang for a female body part.

Related post: Costa Rican Holy Week Foods

A note on ingredients. You can find most of the tougher ingredients at a Hispanic grocery store. These include the crema, queso fresco, piloncillo, etc).

You might, though, be surprised what you can find at your local King Soopers/Kroger. For example, I can find all of these ingredients there in the dairy and Hispanic aisles.

Bizcocho Guanacasteco Recipe

Printable recipe below

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 3 1/2 cups of yellow corn masa (such as Maseca)
  • 2 cups “queso-semiduro”- semi hard cheese (Hispanic style)
  • 3/4 cup natilla
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cup buttermilk

For the filling

  • 1 1/2 cups queso semi duro (same as above)
  • 2 teaspoons sour cream
  • 1/2 cup ground tapa de dulce
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Kitchen Tools

  • Large mixing bowl
  • Tortilla or empanada press
  • Plastic ziplock bags cut into 12” squares
  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper

Notes On Ingredients

  • Queso semi duro in the United States comes in 10 ounce packages. You will need about 3 packages for this recipe, or about 28 ounces.
  • It is impossible to find tapa de dulce in the States, you will need to purchase piloncillo
  • The traditional sour cream used in this recipe is Central American/Mexican crema

Instructions

Shred or grate the cheese and divide it into the 2 cups and the 1 1/2 cups. In a large mixing bowl or electric stand mixer, mix the maseca with two cups of cheese, natilla salt and butter. Using your hands or the mixer on low to combine the ingredients.

Keeping the mixer on low, slowly pour the buttermilk in. If you are using your spatula or your hands, add the buttermilk in 1/4 cup portions until fully integrated. Your mixture should be the same texture as tortilla dough.

Related post: Costa Rican Tortillas

Next, crush the tapa de dulce/piloncillo until the texture of fine sand. In a smaller bowl, combine ingredients for the filling until well integrated.

Form balls about the size of a large strawberry with all of the masa, setting each ball aside.

Next, similar to the way you make an empanada, you will place one of the balls of masa on the cut plastic ziplock bag, and place this inside the tortilla press.

Place a plastic bag piece on top of the ball, and press down until flat.

Place a tablespoon of the filling in the center of the circle.

Fold the circle sides over each other until you create a half-moon shape.
Repeat this process with each of the balls until you are finished. Place each half-moon on parchment paper on a baking pan. 

Heat oven to 350 Fahrenheit and bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown on top.

Related post: Empanadas de Chiverre – Costa Rica

Substitutions

You can substitute brown sugar or white granulated sugar such as cane sugar for the crushed piloncillo.

You can substitute shredded mozzarella for the queso semi duro.

You can use white masa instead of yellow. The bizcocho just won’t have the same color but the flavor will be the same.

Variations

Some people only use cheese to fill the bizcocho.

You can also not have a filling in the bizcocho and then put the queso, natilla and tapa de dulce mixture on top of the completed half moons.

You can have just cheese in the center as opposed to the filling mixture above.

Some people make this into a casserole.

All of these are traditional variations throughout the country.

Related post: Costa Rican Dessert Recipes

Serving Suggestions

Serve with hot coffee. We also serve with hot tea, hot chocolate or agua dulce.

Join me over at my favorite place- Instagram.

Yield: 12 bizcochos

Costa Rican Bizcocho Guanacasteco

Costa Rican Bizcocho Guanacasteco

This bizcocho guanacasteco is similar to a corn flour empanada, but covered with cheese sour cream and baked to perfection.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • For the dough:
  • 3 1/2 cups of yellow corn masa (such as Maseca
  • 2 cups "queso-semiduro"- semi hard cheese (Hispanic style)
  • 3/4 cup natilla
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • For the filling
  • 1 1/2 cups queso semi duro (same as above)
  • 2 teaspoons sour cream
  • 1/2 cup ground tapa de dulce
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Kitchen Tools
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Tortilla or empanada press
  • Plastic ziplock bags cut into 12” squares
  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • Notes On Ingredients
  • Queso semi duro in the United States comes in 10 ounce packages. You will need about 3 packages for this recipe, or about 28 ounces
  • It is impossible to find tapa de dulce in the States, you will need to purchase piloncillo
  • The traditional sour cream used in this recipe is Central American/Mexican crema

Instructions

  1. Shred or grate the cheese and divide it into the 2 cups and the 1 1/2 cups.
  2. In a large mixing bowl or electric stand mixer, mix the maseca with two cups of cheese, natilla salt and butter.
  3. Using your hands or the mixer on low to combine the ingredients.
  4. Keeping the mixer on low, slowly pour the buttermilk in.
  5. If you are using your spatula or your hands, add the buttermilk in 1/4 cup portions until fully integrated.
  6. Your mixture should be the same texture as tortilla dough.
  7. Crush the tapa de dulce/piloncillo until the texture of fine sand.
  8. Next, in a smaller bowl, combine ingredients for the filling until well integrated.
  9. Form balls about the size of a large strawberry with all of the masa, setting each ball aside.
  10. Next, similar to the way you make an empanada, you will place one of the balls of masa on the cut plastic ziplock bag, and place this inside the tortilla press.
  11. Place a plastic bag piece on top of the ball, and press down until flat.
  12. Place a tablespoon of the filling in the center of the circle.
  13. Fold the circle sides over each other until you create a half-moon shape.
  14. Repeat this process with each of the balls until you are finished.
  15. Place each half-moon on parchment paper on a baking pan. 
  16. Heat oven to 350 Fahrenheit and bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown on top.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 426Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 131mgSodium: 696mgCarbohydrates: 40gFiber: 1gSugar: 19gProtein: 10g

Please double-check this information with your favorite nutrition calculator.

About the Author

Christa profile image

Hi- I’m Christa! I fell in love with Latin America in my 20s, and I’m still head over heels! Here at Pura Vida Moms I celebrate what it means to be bicultural- Costa Rican recipes, bilingual parenting and family travel.

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Christa profile image

Hi- I’m Christa, and I’m on a mission to help the world fall in love with Costa Rica through food, travel and language. I’m a mom of two Latinas, bicultural, bilingual (English/Spanish), and 100% in love with celebrating parenthood in all its forms, (even the sucky parts). I’m so happy you found the site- WELCOME! Find out more about me here

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