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Polvorones De Limon- Traditional Spanish Christmas Cookies

Polvorones are traditional Spanish crumbly cookies made around Christmas time. The cookies can be flavored with cocoa, lemon, cinnamon, etc. This is the recipe for polvorones with lemon or Polvorones con Limon- the Spanish name. Make a great gift for your family and friends!

Polvorones Con Limon Traditional Spanish Christmas Cookies - on a baking tray

Polvorones – The traditional cookies of Spain

Polvorones are traditional Spanish crumbly cookies made around Christmas time. You will not find them all year round in Spain unless you buy them from the shops that sell souvenirs to the tourists.

Traditionally, these crumbly delicious cookies are made with lard and a combination of almond flour and all-purpose flour. Polvorones usually have different flavors like almonds, lemon, cocoa, coconut, cinnamon, etc.

The most popular flavor is almond, and the cookies are known as polvorones de almendra.

The recipe I am sharing with you today is polvorones with lemon. 

picture of wrapped polvorones in a Spanish store

A few years ago, I visited Spain around Christmas time. The stores were selling polvorones everywhere, and I had the opportunity to try different flavors.

From all of them, the lemon polvorones stayed with me, so this is what we will make today.

Polvorones Con Limon- Traditional Spanish Christmas Cookies dusted with powder sugar

“Polvo” in Spanish means dust and these cookies won the “polvorones” name because of their texture. They are very crumbly, fragile, and sold wrapped in special paper to keep them intact.

As I don’t have that special paper in the United States, I used waxed paper, which worked perfectly.  I have to tell you, and they melt in your mouth!

The ones who tried the polvorones before know what I am talking about.

You probably heard before that there are two different types of traditional Spanish cookies, polvorones, and mantecados that are very popular.

You can find them all year round in the artisanal shops in touristic areas, together with the turron ( a nougat candy that usually has nuts and other flavors) and the mazapan, or the marzipan, as we know it in English.

Anyway, the polvorones and the mantecados kind of look the same, but they are not. What is the difference?

  1. Polvorones are made with all-purpose flour baked in the oven before, together with the almond flour.  Also, polvorones are baked at high temperatures, only for a few minutes.
  2. Mantecados, on the other hand, are also made with all-purpose flour, but sometimes the dough contains eggs.  I saw recipes where almond flour is added, but the original recipe is made only with all-purpose flour.
  3. Because the ingredients in mantecados are raw (remember that we bake the flour before making polvorones), the baking time is longer, and the oven is set at a lower temperature.
  4. Finally, mantecados cookies are consumed in Spain all year round, but the polvorones are baked only during Christmas.

These Spanish polvorones are NOT the same as the Mexican polvorones or Mexican wedding cookies you see everywhere online. Mexican polvorones are made differently and also have a very different texture.

What kind of ingredients go into these delicious Spanish cookies?

  • Almond flour– the original recipe is made with almonds roasted first, then pulverized in a food processor. You can achieve the same result by using blanched almond flour.
  • All-purpose flour- I will show you what we need to do to make real Spanish polvorones. Keep reading!
  • Powder sugar- this type of sugar helps with the texture of the cookies
  • Lard or butter- if you want to make REAL polvorones, you need to stay true to the recipe and use lard. You will achieve great polvorones with butter, but you will miss the taste and flavor of a real polvoron made with lard.
  • Lemon zest and juice– fresh lemon juice is the best.
  • Cinnamon– use a good one. Quality ingredients make quality baked goods.

How do you make Spanish polvorones?

This recipe is not difficult to make, but it requires you to prepare the flour the day before. It is an easy process, but very important if you want to make real polvorones.

The only thing you have to do is place the all-purpose flour on a baking tray and dry it in the oven at 300F for 30 minutes. Do the same thing with the almond flour, but only for 20 minutes.

You will end up with flour that looks clumpy, but this is how it should look like. It has to cool down completely before you use it.

When cool, the flour needs to be sifted. Make sure you measure the ingredients right. Buy a kitchen scale, and they are cheap and instrumental in the kitchen.

The dough is made from all-purpose flour, almond flour, powder sugar, lard (if you want a traditional cookie), or butter at room temperature. To this mixture, cinnamon, lemon zest, and lemon juice are added.

The dough will be very crumbly, so make sure you measure the dry ingredients exactly. If you end up with more flour than you should, your dough will be very crumbly and impossible to handle.

Don’t try to work it too much. Just put it together as a ball, wrap it in plastic foil and refrigerate it for an hour.

Place the dough on a floured surface and roll it not more than 1/2 inch thick. Use a 1 1/2 inch round cookie cutter or a small glass to cut the cookies.

dough on the working table

Grab them gently with a spatula and place them on a parchment paper-covered baking tray. 

dough for polvorones, with spatula an, baking tray with polvorones ready for bakingd rolling pin

No need to place them inches apart because they don’t lose their shape or rise.

baking tray with Spanish cookies ready to be baked

Important note: Bake them at 400F/200C for ONLY 10 minutes. If you bake them more, the cookies will dry out, and the texture will change. 

baked polvorones on baking tray

The cookies need to cool down completely before you can touch them. If you mess with them right away, they will crumble.

Spanish Christmas cookies powdered with sugar

When cool, sprinkle them with powder sugar and wrap them in special polvorones paper or wax paper cut in 19x17cm or 7.4×6.7inch.

lemon polvorones wrapped in waxed paper

I ended up with about 40 cookies, perfect for Christmas gifts. They look good, are delicious, and are also not very difficult to make.

Interested in more Spanish recipes?

Hot chocolate- Spanish style

Spanish Orange and Fennel Salad

Cod Fish in Tomato Sauce

Spanish Orange-Almond Flan Recipe

How about more recipes to love?

Walnut Shortbread Cookies

Coffee Flavored Sugar Cookies

Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies

lemon polvorones wrapped in waxed paper sitting on the table

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Yield: 40 cookies

Polvorones Con Limon- Traditional Spanish Christmas Cookies

Polvorones Con Limon Traditional Spanish Christmas Cookies 1

Polvorones are traditional Spanish crumbly cookies made around Christmas time. The cookies can be flavored with cocoa, lemon, cinnamon, etc. This is the recipe for polvorones with lemon or Polvorones con limon- the Spanish name. Make a great gift for your family and friends!

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 10 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup/4.4oz/125 g almond flour
  • 4 cups/17.6oz/500 g all purpose flour
  • 2 cups/8.8oz/250 g powder sugar
  • 2 sticks of butter PLUS 2 tablespoons/ 8.8oz/250g at room temperature(OR lard)
  • zest from 2 medium lemons
  • juice from the 2 lemons(you should have about 1/2 cup juice or 8 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions

  1. How to prepare the flour before baking:
  2. Preheat oven to 300F/150C. Place the all-purpose flour on a baking tray and dry it in the oven at 300F for 30 minutes. Do the same thing with the almond flour, but keep it in the oven at 300F only for 20 minutes.
  3. Let the flour cool completely. The flour might look clumpy, but this is how it should be.
  4. Sift both flours together with the cinnamon and set aside.
  5. How to make the polvorones cookies:
  6. Lard or butter should be at room temperature.
  7. Cream together lard or butter with the powder sugar. You can do it by hand or with a mixer.
  8. Add the mixture of all-purpose flour and almond flour over the lard and sugar.
  9. Add the lemon zest and juice.
  10. Mix until you have crumbly dough. Do not overmix.
  11. Place the dough on a floured surface and bring it together into the shape of a ball. Wrap it in plastic foil and refrigerate it for an hour.
  12. Preheat oven to 400F/200C.
  13. Cover cookie trays with parchment paper.
  14. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough about 0.5inch/1.5cm thick.
  15. Use a cookie cutter or a round glass(approx. 1.4inch diameter or 3.5 cm)and cut the dough.
  16. Grab them with a spatula and place them on the cookie tray. Bake at 400F/200C for no more than 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let them cool on the tray.
  17. TIP: Do not try to remove the hot cookies from the tray as they are very crumbly. When cool, the cookies keep their shape. Also, do not keep them in the oven for more than 10 minutes. The cookies will dry out and change the texture.
  18. When the cookies are completely cool, dust them with powder sugar and wrap them in a special paper for polvorones or wax paper cut in 7.4x6.7 inches(19x17cm).
  19. The polvorones last a long time if kept in dry, cool places. They make great gifts for the holidays.

Notes

You can use butter or lard for this recipe. You will need 8.8oz/250g your choice of fat. The dough will be crumbly but this is how it should be, in order to get that sandy texture of polvorones.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

40

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 153Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 7mgSodium: 6mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 1gSugar: 7gProtein: 2g

Did you make this recipe?

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David Edmondson

Saturday 19th of December 2020

Hey, I think you have an error in your lard conversions. 2 tablespoons of lard should weight only 25g, not 250g, or you're calling for 1.25 cups of lard. For now, I'm going to go with the 2 tablespoons, as it seems that's more in line with the rest of the recipe and others I've seen.

The Bossy Kitchen

Saturday 19th of December 2020

Hi David. It is not a mistake.The recipe tells you this: 2 sticks of butter PLUS 2 tablespoons/ 8.8oz/250 g lard or butter at room temperature. It means that you can use butter or lard and you will need 250g of fat or 8.8oz of it. You also have 4 cups of flour, 1 cup of almond flour and 2 cups of powder sugar, for a total of 7 cups of dry ingredients.You need that fat. Also, keep in mind that the texture of the dough will be on the dry side, which is what you need to obtain that crumbly, sandy texture of the baked cookie.

Maria

Monday 23rd of December 2019

How much juice in measurement? All lemons are different sizes.

The Bossy Kitchen

Monday 23rd of December 2019

You will need more or less about 1/2 cup of lemon juice, or 8 tablespoons approx. I just corrected the recipe and clarified that.Thank you for catching that and thank you for the visit! I hope you make the cookies!

Toni

Friday 16th of August 2019

I would the recipies for the cinnamon and almond cookies too! They sound amazing. Making the lemon ones today!

Christopher Smith

Sunday 9th of December 2018

This dough was very very dry I'm not sure if I need to add a little more something to it but they were very lemony so any more lemon juice probably wouldn't have been a good idea otherwise they taste fantastic

The Bossy Kitchen

Sunday 9th of December 2018

Hi Christopher, you did not do anything wrong and the dough is supposed to be that dry. You can actually see in the pictures I posted on the recipe that my dough was very dry also. Traditionally, the cookies are wrapped in a special paper, so they don't fall apart. They feel like dust, therefore the name comes from there(polvo=dust). I am glad you enjoyed them though. They are very different but special little gems.

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