I’ve had Polvorón on my mind for some time. I read about these crunchy little biscuits bites, months and months ago and they’ve been sitting patiently in my ‘Things to bake’ pile ever since.
They are quite an unusual discovery, something I had never heard if before. Traditionally Polvorón are eaten as wedding cakes in Mexico made with pecans or as Christmas cakes in Spain, kind of like a Spanish Shortbread. Now I’m planning my own wedding I thought perhaps now is the time to incorporate an international flair into the festivities. Intrigued I launched into my own interpretation of the traditional recipe, basically determined by whatever ingredients I have in the cupboard.
I don’t usually buy pecans or walnuts so they had to be substituted for good old almonds (a nut which is ever present in my cupboard and life…) and chunks of dried coconut roughly chopped.
Due to the speedy baking that was necessary (and seems to be happening more and more often in my house) I improvised yet again. No time to assemble to food processor so I grabbed the nearest heavy item (a glass jar), threw the almonds into a sturdy sandwich bag and hammered them with the jar until they were delightfully smushed. Feel free to use a pestle and mortar if you wish to be a tad more refined than I.
The ingredients are very similar to basic shortbread, with flour, butter and sugar.
This is another brilliant biscuit for busy bakers as I managed to whip up the dough first thing on a Saturday morning, chill it whilst I showered. I used my trusty hand held electric whisk to beat the butter and icing (powdered) sugar together. Then to whisk in the flour and vanilla extract.
And finally the nuts of your choice.
I completely misunderstood the recipe which calls for the dough to be chilled. I shapped the dough by hand into about 35 mini golf balls.
I popped them all onto a greased and lined baking sheet covered them with cling film and popped them in the fridge to chill.
(I think you’re supposed to chill the whole dough then shape it?!) But this gave me a chance to shower so in effect helped to speed up the process.
I then spaced the little balls out evenly to give them room to spread whilst they baked. I popped the tray in the oven to bake it at 170 degree C for about 18-20 minutes, until they took on a delicately golden hue, whilst I applied clothes and make up.
Just enough time to then allow the Polvorón to cool on the tray to set their shape for 5 minutes. Then to cool them fully on a wire rack to stop the butter sweating out of them and give them sticky bottoms.
Once cooled fully I rolled the Polvorón in a bowl of icing sugar swirled with cinnamon giving them a fluffy white coat. As they set the sugar absorbed slightly into the biscuit adding an extra dimension of sweetness to the treat.
I then quickly bagged them up, tied with a pretty ribbon and dashed off with my pretty packages of Polvorón to celebrate my friends birthday! With a champagne fueled (10 minute) train journey to Durham. Followed by more food, cocktails and Polvorón.
We declared them a tremendous cocktail accompaniment (and that’s not the frozen strawberry daiquiris talking).
Polvorón are buttery like shortbread but with an added crunch as they are smaller and denser than a traditional shortbread biscuit. The almonds brought a subtle creamy yet crunchy texture along with the coconut. I expect pecans would add even more bite to the biscuit. The Polvorón remind me a little of biscotti or amaretti biscuits which I also adore. What’s not to love about a delicious bite sized treat. Even better, as they’re so small you can obviously eat a whole handful of them in one go!
I love the method of shaping these little biscuits into balls as I find rolling and cutting out biscuits a bit laborious I quite enjoyed this hand made alternative and I’m already inventing my own nut free recipe for my friends who can’t eat nuts as I think everyone needs a bit of Polvoron in their lives!.
Things I used to make Polvorón
Makes about 35 small biscuits
Preparation: 15 minutes
Chilling time: 30 minutes
Baking time: 18-20minutes at 170degrees c
- 220g butter (1 cup or 2 sticks) room temperature
- 250g powdered sugar (2 cups or 240 grams)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 250g all purpose flour (2 cups or 240 grams)
- 120 g (1 cup) almonds/pecans/coconut coarsely ground/chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Thank you to Sourdoughtheangrybaker for inspiring me to bake Polvoron! I had not heard of these wonderful cakes until you told me about them. Brilliant blog if you haven’t had a look already, I recommend reading.
I’ve never heard of Polvoron before but they look perfectly bite sized and yummy! And also very Christmassy like little snowballs! 🙂
They are lovely little treats. Im currently experimenting with some alternative flavours too! I think i will be baking these again 🙂 x
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We call these things Russian tea cakes and make them with finely chopped walnuts — that makes them richer than your almond version. We also double-coat them with icing sugar — once when they are warm and again when they have cooled off.
Hi Sharyn, ooh I like the idea of double coating them. That is great as the icing sugar did disappear into the biscuit with the first coat a little bit. I will definitely do this in the future. I love the sound of Russian Tea Cakes too.
This is the first time I heard of Polvoron but they certainly look and sound delicious!
Thank you so much Jasline! They really are a tasty treat 🙂
This is the first time I’ve heard of this biscuit. How simple it looks to make too. They also look good for dipping into coffee!
Hello Urvashi! They really are very quick and simple to make. I love them all the more for that very reason 🙂 They would be perfect with a cup of coffee, like a mini biscotti. Very festive!
YUM I totally love these and actually made them over the weekend! Except I tried making a vegan version and they were fab. Yours look so perfect! When I tried rolling them in sugar, it kept melting and there were little naked spots everywhere where my fingers held them–whoops.
Oh wow! That’s fabulous! What did you use to make them vegan? Was it soya spread? I really love these and so good to experiment with! i think in the future I’m going to try to double coat them after they’ve cooled completely as they do have a tendency to drink up the sugar!
Haha great minds think alike! After the first roll in sugar, I photographed them and by the end they were starting to look pretty bare everywhere. Good thing I had lots of extra sugar–it turned out to be perfect!
And to make them vegan, I used 1/2 cup coconut oil and 1/4 cup of those vegan buttery sticks. The original recipe, like yours, called for 1 cup of fat, but I used 3/4 all together and I think they turned out great!
I’ve never heard of them before but they look delicious! Must add them to my ‘must try’ list!
Ooh definitely add them to you must try list! I can guarantee you’ll enjoy these little treats. So fun to make!