Polvoron – you are always on my mind
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.
Chopped up dried coconut
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.
Beating the butter to a smooth paste
The ingredients are very similar to basic shortbread, with flour, butter and sugar.
Thoroughly whipped butter
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.
Whisking in icing sugar, vanilla and finally flour
My combination of ground almonds, chopped blanched almonds and chopped coconut.
And finally the nuts of your choice.
The dough looks a bit scrambled eggy to start with…
Take a small amount of loose dough in your hand
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.
squash it together and hey presto you have a ball!
I popped them all onto a greased and lined baking sheet covered them with cling film and popped them in the fridge to chill.
All the Polvoron lined up in a row – ready for chilling
(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.
Delicately golden Polvoron fresh from the oven
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.
Cooled and ready for a good dusting of spicy icing sugar
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.
Fully coated Polvoron
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.
Happy Birthday Mel!
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.
Obviously I had to ensure their quality before sharing them with friends… they passed the test! Crunchy and sweet Polvoron
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!
Polvoron – up close
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.