🇪🇸 En español: Polvorones
Spanish almond cookies or polvorones are a very soft and crumbly type of shortbread made of four basic ingredients: pork lard, flour, sugar and cinnamon.
Polvo in Spanish means powder or dust and these cookies crumble to dust in your mouth when eaten.
Andalucia in southern Spain is famous for making these treats to serve after a festive meal. Turrón, an almond nougat is another sweet treat to enjoy.
You make traditional polvorones using rendered pork fat (lard). This type of mantecado cookie, made using manteca (pork lard), was introduced to Spain by the Moors.
History says that in the time of the Spanish inquisition, people were asked to eat a mantecado to prove they were catholic as Muslims or Jews would refuse because of the pork content.
Nowadays, as a festive party game, unsuspecting Spanish children put a whole polvorone in their mouth and then told to shout ‘Pamplona’ as loud as they can with predictable results and much laughter all around.
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Recipe for Spanish Almond Cookies – Polvorones
Spanish Christmas Almond Cookies – Polvorones
- 190 g plain flour
- 110 g raw peeled almonds
- 115 g pork lard or 115g plus 2 tablespoons of butter
- 150 g granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- icing sugar for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C.
- Place the almonds on a baking tray and toast in the oven until they start to go a faint golden colour (roughly 8-10 minutes). Reduce the oven temperature to 120°C/Fan 100°C
- Take the almonds out of the oven and grind into a flour-like texture in a food processor.
- Next, in a large mixing bowl, combine the lard/butter, sugar, and cinnamon with an electric hand mixer until smooth and creamy.
- Add the flour and ground almonds to the lard/butter mixture and incorporate into a dough. (The dough will be quite crumbly, but that’s okay!).
- Place a sheet of waxed baking paper onto a clean countertop or cutting board. In the mixing bowl, work the dough into the shape of a ball, and then put it on top of the baking paper. Carefully flatten it with a floured rolling pin to a rectangle with about a 12mm thickness.
- Using a cookie cutter, cut the dough into circular cookies.
- Move the cookie dough to a greased baking tray/cookie sheet (you might want to use a spatula, as the crumbly dough might break apart in your hands).
- Bake the cookies for 25-30 minutes, until you see the edges start to turn a golden brown. Allow the cookies to cool on the tray until you move them, as moving them hot will likely cause them to crumble to dust!
- Serve at room temperature, dusted with icing sugar.