Polvorones are traditional Spanish crumbly cookies made around Christmas time. You are not going to find them all year around in Spain, unless you buy them from the shops that sell souvenirs for the tourists.
Traditionally, these crumbly delicious cookies are made with lard and a combination of almond flour and all purpose flour. Polvorones have usually different flavors like almond, lemon, cocoa, coconut, cinnamon etc. The recipe I am sharing with you today has lemon flavor. When visiting Spain, around Christmas time, I tried different flavors and my favorite was the lemon one, so I will stick with it today.
“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 United States, I used waxed paper, which worked perfectly. I have to tell you, they melt in your mouth! The ones who tried the polvorones before, know what I am talking about.
They look something like this:
What is the difference between polvorones and mantecados?
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 around in the artisanal shops in touristic areas, together with the turron( a nougat candy that has usually 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.
- Polvorones are made with all purpose flour that was baked in the oven before, together with the almond flour. Also, polvorones are baked at high temperatures, only for few minutes.
- 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.
- 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 on a lower temperature.
- Finally, mantecados cookies are consumed in Spain all year around, but the polovorones are baked only during the Christmas time.
How do you make polvorones?
First of all, we have to prepare the flour with a 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 to 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, they are cheap and very useful in the kitchen.
The dough is made from all purpose flour, almond flour, powder sugar, lard(if you want to have 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. 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. Grab them gently with a spatula and place them on a parchment paper covered baking tray. No need to place them inches apart, because they don’t loose their shape or rise.
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.
The cookies need to cool down completely before you can touch them. If you mess with them right away, they will crumble. 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.
I ended up with about 40 cookies, perfect for Christmas gifts. They look good, are delicious and also not very difficult to make.
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- 4.4oz/125 g almond flour
- 17.6/500 g all purpose flour
- 8.8oz/250 g powder sugar
- 8.8oz/250 g lard or butter at room temperature
- zest from 2 lemons
- juice from 2 lemons
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- How to prepare the flour before baking:
- 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.
- Let the flour cool completely.The flour might look clumpy but this is how it should be.
- Sift both flours together with the cinnamon and set aside.
- How to make the polvorones cookies:
- Lard or butter should be room temperature.
- Cream together lard or butter with the powder sugar. You can do it by hand or with a mixer.
- Add the mixture of all purpose flour and almond flour over the lard and sugar.
- Add the lemon zest and juice.
- Mix until you have a crumbly dough. Do not overmix.
- 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.
- Preheat oven to 400F/200C.
- Cover cookie trays with parchment paper.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough about 0.5inch/1.5cm thick.
- Use a cookie cutter or a round glass(aprox. 1.4inch diameter or 3.5 cm)and cut the dough.
- 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.
- TIP: Do not try to remove the cookies hot from the tray as they are very crumbly. When cool, the cookies keep their shape. Also, do not keep them in the oven more than 10 minutes. The cookies will dry out and change the texture.
- When the cookies are completely cool, dust them with powder sugar and wrap them in special paper for polvorones or wax paper cut in 7.4x6.7 inches(19x17cm).
- The polvorones last a long time if kept in dry, cool places. They make great gifts for the holidays.