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Soon it will be Christmas and you know, the celebrations also bring many good things to eat and certainly the desserts are among the most loved. Polvorones Cookies, are typical biscuits of the Spanish Christmas holidays but are also popular in Mexico and in countries such as the Philippines and Cuba.
The Polvorones Cookies and Mantecados
The Polvorones Cookies are biscuits made with flour, almonds and Iberian lard, which once cooked are covered with powdered sugar and can be up to 2 cm thick. They are prepared with a particularly crumbly shortcrust pastry, the biscuit that seems crunchy and compact is actually very delicate! With each bite, the biscuit is reduced to a velvety powder with a delicious flavor of flour and toasted almonds, with a delicate hint of anise. That’s why the name Polvorones which in Spanish means “dust”.
The Polvorones Cookies are part of the Mantecados, a type of Spanish shortbread made with the mantecado or Iberian lard. But not all Spanish Polvorones are necessarily Mantecados since they can and are also prepared with oil, butter or milk. Polvorones are popular especially during the Christmas period while Mantecados are popular all year round.
Polvorones Cookies History
Some historians think that the Polvorones Cookies recipe derives from an existing one created by the Arabs and subsequently modified in Spain using lard instead of milk and oil given its abundance. Others believe they were replaced to recognize Jews and Muslims during the persecutions.
Given some historical findings it seems that the Polvorones Cookies date back to the sixteenth century. Created in a period when lard and cereal flours were abundant and over time the recipe spread throughout Spain. The popularity came in 1870, when the recipe was refined by a lady named Colchona. To make the biscuits more durable before making the dough, she begins to bake the flour in the oven to dry it further and consequently toast it, thus giving the biscuit a distinctive flavor.
Later La Colchona gave the biscuits to her husband who was the driver and when he arrived in Cordoba she began to sell them in her square, making them known and loved by the rest of the Spanish people.
The authorship is claimed mainly from the region of Andalusia, but some historians attribute it to Estepa or Antequera. Today Polvorones are sold all over Spain, especially in Andalusia, but they are also popular in Mexico, the Philippines and in Hispanic American countries.
- 350 g Pastry Flour
- 40 g Almonds ground
- 80 g Icing Sugar preferably Iberian
- 150 g Lard preferably Iberian
- ¼ tsp Anise Extract
- 2 g Cinnamon in powder
- Icing Sugar to decorate
- Finely blend the peeled raw almonds until you get a fine flour. Sift the flour, and mix evenly with the ground almonds.
- Heat the oven to 130 °C, and cook the mixture for 30 minutes, taking care to stir it with the spatula from time to time so as not to burn it.
- After 30 minutes, take it out of the oven and let it cool and rest for the next day.
- Make a fountain with the flour and put all the ingredients in the center. Knead until you get a homogeneous mixture.
- Make a slightly flattened ball of dough and put it to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- After the resting time, flatten the dough with your hand, obtaining a dough 1 cm high, maximum 2. Remember that it's a very crumbly dough so if cracks form while you flatten it is not serious.
- With a round pastry cutter create the cookies, and place them on a baking sheet with parchment paper. Let them rest for an hour.
- Heat the oven to 200 °C. Once hot, cook them for 15 minutes, taking care to keep an eye on them so they don't burn.
- Once cooked, take them out of the oven and let them cool completely before sprinkling them with powdered sugar.
The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for the advice of a professional nutritionist.