December 20, 2011


Polvorones are one of my favorite treats I almost always get when I go to Puerto Rico, particularly during the holidays. The best way to describe them are as crumbly almond cookies, similar to a shortbread cookie but with a sharper nut flavor brought in by the use of almond meal mixed with the butter, flour, powdered sugar and other spices. Almond meal is also gives this cookies their wonderful "crumby" texture.

For those who are unsure as to what almond meal is: its' essentially finely ground almonds. Not to be confused with Almond Flour (which you can get if you sift the meal), nor by grinding the almonds to the point of extracting too many oils from them and creating Almond butter. 

Some of my favorite Polvorones are from Sweet Ann Cakes, a local bakery that sells to many supermarkets and even have small kiosks in the malls. Since I was making holiday cookies in lieu of gifts for my co-workers, I instantly knew I had to include these delectable treats. In all honesty, they were my first time baking them, and will definitely not be my last!

16 tbsp butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup confectioners sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract
Zest of 1 orange
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup almond meal

In an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter for around 1 minute. Slowly add the confectioners sugar until it is light and fluffy, this will take about 3-5 minutes, depending on the speed of your mixer. Add the vanilla and orange zest.

Sift the flour, and remaining spices and then blend with the almond meal. Add this dry mixture all at once to the butter mixture and gently stir until is fully incorporated into the butter mixture, but be sure not to over mix.

Form a large disc of the dough, and wrap well in plastic to refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Scoop the dough into tablespoons and roll into a ball and place on the cookie sheet, approximately 2 inches apart. Lightly press down on the dough with a spoon dipped in flour to form a 1/2" disk. Bake until the edges are lightly golden about 15 minutes.

As soon as you remove them from the oven and they are still warm, sprinkle generously with sifted confectioners sugar.  

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