Spanish Polvorones Recipe- The Ultimate Guide to Perfect Cookies

Polvorones are traditional Spanish cookies typically enjoyed during the Christmas season.

best Spanish Polvorones recipe by the mediterranean fork

These crumbly, shortbread-like treats are well-loved for their delicate texture and delightful flavor. Made with simple ingredients such as flour, almonds, butter or lard, sugar, and a hint of cinnamon, they are easy to prepare and a perfect addition to any festive gathering.

The origin of polvorones dates back centuries, with some sources suggesting Moorish culinary traditions influenced them. The name “polvorón” comes from the Spanish word “polvo,” which means powder, as these cookies have a powdery consistency when eaten. Despite being a Spanish staple, they have also gained popularity in other countries, particularly in Latin America, where they can be found in various flavors and adaptations.

To make polvorones, almonds are first toasted to enhance their flavor before being combined with flour, butter, sugar, and spices. The dough is then shaped into small rounds and baked until slightly golden but still tender. Once cooled, these delicious cookies can be enjoyed as-is or dusted with powdered sugar for an elegant finish. Simple yet satisfying, polvorones have become a cherished Spanish Christmas tradition.

History and Background of Polvorones

Polvorones, a type of Spanish shortbread cookie, have a rich history dating back to the 16th Century in Andalusia. These cookies have been deeply rooted in Spanish tradition and are now mainly enjoyed during the holiday season.

The creation of Polvorones can be traced back to the influence of ancient Arab preparations introduced to the Iberian Peninsula by the Moors. Over years, the recipe has since evolved to include a range of ingredients, oftentimes reflecting the excess of specific ingredients in certain regions.

Interestingly, the Spanish Inquisition played a significant role in shaping the recipe for Polvorones. During this time, officials mandated that pork fat be added to the recipe as a means to identify any hidden Muslims or Jews in regions of Southern Spain.  This ingredient has since become a part of the traditional recipe for mantecados, a family of cookies made with manteca (pork lard), to which Polvorones belong.

Spanish settlers later introduced Polvorones to Mexico, where they are often referred to as pan de polvo or dust bread. This term is fitting, as these delicate cookies are known for their crumbly texture, which can be reduced to powder with just a single tap between two fingers.

ingredients needed to make the Spanish Polvorones

Ingredients

500  gr. all-purpose flour

230 gr. lard

100 gr. confectioner’s sugar

1 tbsp. rum

1 tbsp. cinnamon powder

Confectioner’s sugar to top

Silk paper to wrap

Materials

Bowls

Baking tray

Sieve

Film

Paper

Spanish Polvorones on a plate

How to Make Spanish Polvorones

1. Preheat the oven to 130ºC.

2. Spread the all-purpose flour over a tray and bake for 1 hour – the idea is to get it as dry as possible. Stir every 10 minutes or so, so that it doesn’t stick.

Spreading the all-purpose flour in a tray

3. Transfer the flour to a big bowl and sift it with a sieve. Add the lard, sugar, rum, and cinnamon powder.

sifting the flour in a big bowl

4. Combine all the ingredients until you get a dough that you can shape with your hands.

Combining all the ingredients of polvorones
dough in a bowl

5. Transfer the dough to a film-covered tray and make a log of about 2 inches in diameter.

film-covered dough

6. Cover the log completely with the film and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

7. Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Remove the log from the fridge and cut the polvorones (around 1 inch thick).

cut polvorones

8. Transfer the polvorones to a baking tray and bake for 10 minutes. Remove them from the oven and let them get completely cold before trying to manipulate them.

baked polvorones in a baking tray

9. Coat them with confectioner’s sugar and wrap them in the paper.

Coating the Spanish Polvorones with confectioner’s sugar

Recipe Notes & Tips

  • Polvorones refer to the word “dust” in Spanish – meaning that they crumble super quickly, so be careful when handling them because they will definitely crumble in your hands – and melt in your mouth!
  • This is the basic recipe and flavor – but you can also combine them with different flavors and add bits of nuts, almonds, lemon zest, or other liquors.
Spanish Polvorones wrapped in paper

Traditional Polvorones Variations

Polvorones, a famous Spanish shortbread cookie traditionally enjoyed during the Christmas season, offer different variations to cater to different tastes. These cookies are characterized by their crumbly texture, resulting from using lard or butter in their preparation.

One of the classic variations of polvorones includes almonds as a critical ingredient. In this version, raw almonds are toasted and ground, then mixed with flour, sugar, lard or butter, and cinnamon. Some recipes also add a touch of vanilla extract to enhance the flavor.

Another popular variation of the polvorones recipe is the lemon polvorones. These cookies include the zest of a lemon, providing a zesty citrus flavor that complements their sweet, crumbly texture.

For chocolate lovers, there is a chocolate polvorones variation. Cocoa powder is added to the basic polvorones recipe, giving the cookies a rich chocolate taste, perfect for those wanting something different than the traditional almond or lemon versions.

Besides these primary variations, other ingredients can be added or substituted to create unique flavor combinations. Some possible additional ingredients include:

  • Orange zest
  • Ground hazelnuts or walnuts
  • Shredded coconut
  • Anise seeds
  • Spices such as clove or nutmeg

With these different variations, wolverines remain a versatile and beloved Spanish cookie that brings joy and nostalgia to many during the holiday season.

Our collection of 21 Insanely Good Spain Cookies Recipes includes this fantastic recipe that you’re going to love.

Allergy-Friendly Alternatives

If you have dietary restrictions or allergies, you can still enjoy the delicious taste of Spanish polvorones by making a few simple adaptations. This section will cover gluten-free, dairy-free, and nut-free alternatives.

Gluten-Free

For a gluten-free version of Spanish polvorones, try combining tapioca flour and almond flour. Here’s a suggested recipe modification:

  • 2 cups tapioca flour
  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup lard
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar

Follow the rest of the original recipe, replacing the regular flour with this flour mixture. These gluten-free polvorones will still be smooth and silky like their traditional counterparts.

Dairy-Free

If you need to avoid dairy, you can replace the butter or lard in the recipe with a dairy-free alternative. Here’s a simple substitution:

Replace 1/2 cup of pork lard or butter with 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of dairy-free butter substitute.

Make sure to choose a high-quality alternative that suits your taste preferences, as it can affect the flavor of your cookies.

Nut-Free

For those with nut allergies, you can make Spanish polvorones without almonds by using an appropriate substitute. One option is to use ground sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds in place of almond flour. In this case, adjust the recipe as follows:

Replace almond flour with an equal amount of ground sunflower or pumpkin seeds.

Remember, the texture might be slightly different, but you’ll still enjoy the characteristic crumbly texture of polvorones without the nuts.

By making these adjustments, you can create a Spanish polvorones recipe that meets your individual dietary needs and still tastes delicious.

Spanish Polvorones top view

Storage and Serving Suggestions

Storing and serving Spanish polvorones properly is essential to maintain their texture and flavor. It’s important to let the cookies cool completely before storing them, as they can be pretty delicate and crumble easily. Once cooled, transfer the polvorones to an airtight container lined with parchment paper, separating layers with additional parchment paper to prevent them from sticking together or breaking.

Polvorones can be stored in a cool, dry place for up to one week. For a longer shelf life, consider freezing the cookies. To freeze polvorones, wrap each cookie individually in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, then place them in an airtight container or resealable freezer bag. They can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. To serve, allow the cookies to thaw at room temperature for about 1 to 2 hours before enjoying them.

When serving Spanish polvorones, you may want to consider a few presentation options to enhance their appeal. One popular option is to sift a light dusting of powdered sugar and a pinch of ground cinnamon over the cookies, giving them a festive appearance. You could also arrange the polvorones on a decorative platter, perhaps paired with other traditional Spanish Christmas treats, such as turrón and mantecados.

As for serving size, remember that polvorones are rich and flavorful, so it’s best to offer them in moderation. A serving of around 2 to 3 cookies per person is generally sufficient. Consider offering a selection of hot beverages, such as coffee, tea, or hot chocolate, to complement the sweet and nutty flavors of the polvorones.

In summary, Spanish Polvorones are a delightful and flavorful treat, perfect for the holiday season or any time of year. By following a simple recipe, such as the one mentioned earlier in the article, one can quickly master the art of making these delicious cookies.

Critical steps in the process include toasting the flour and almonds to enhance the flavor, using high-quality lard or butter for a melt-in-your-mouth texture, and incorporating traditional ingredients like cinnamon and sugar for an authentic taste. When making Polvorones, attention to detail and careful preparation will ensure a successful outcome.

Creative recipe variations can also be explored, such as adding cocoa, food coloring, or different spices like anise or grated lemon zest. This gives a personalized touch and a unique take on this classic Spanish cookie.

Whether enjoyed at home, gifted to loved ones, or shared at a gathering, Spanish Polvorones are a timeless treat that will bring joy and satisfaction to anyone who savors their distinctive taste and crumbly texture.

Craving for more Spanish sweets? Look no further because we’ve got you covered with 40 traditional Spanish recipes to satisfy your sweet tooth.

a bunch of Spanish Polvorones
best Spanish Polvorones recipe by the mediterranean fork

Spanish Polvorones Recipe

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote
Take your taste buds on a journey with this traditional Spanish cookie, polvorones! Follow our easy step-by-step recipe and impress your family and friends.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 15 minutes
Refrigeration Time2 hours
Total Time3 hours 30 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Spanish

Equipment

  • Bowls
  • Baking tray
  • Sieve
  • Film
  • Paper

Ingredients

  • 500 g all-purpose flour
  • 230 g lard
  • 100 g confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tbsp rum
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon powder

Nutrition

Calories: 139kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 0.5g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.04g | Sodium: 4mg | Potassium: 76mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 0.2g | Vitamin A: 826IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 2mg
Servings: 14 polvorones
Calories: 139kcal

Notes

  • Polvorones refer to the word “dust” in Spanish – meaning that they crumble super quickly, so be careful when handling them because they will definitely crumble in your hands – and melt in your mouth!
  • This is the basic recipe and flavor – but you can also combine them with different flavors and add bits of nuts, almonds, lemon zest, or other liquors.

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 130ºC.
  • Spread the all-purpose flour over a tray and bake for 1 hour – the idea is to get it as dry as possible. Stir every 10 minutes or so, so that it doesn’t stick.
  • Transfer the flour to a big bowl and sift it with a sieve. Add the lard, sugar, rum, and cinnamon powder.
  • Combine all the ingredients until you get a dough that you can shape with your hands.
  • Transfer the dough to a film-covered tray and make a log of about 2 inches in diameter.
  • Cover the log completely with the film and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Remove the log from the fridge and cut the polvorones (around 1 inch thick).
  • Transfer the polvorones to a baking tray and bake for 10 minutes. Remove them from the oven and let them get completely cold before trying to manipulate them.
  • Coat them with confectioner’s sugar and wrap them in the paper.
KEYWORD: spanish polvorones recipe
Photo of author
Born and raised in the Southeast of Spain, Alba is a photographer and a foodie. Always hungry for new flavors and recipes but with a big passion for traditional recipes that speak about roots and family. You can always find her talking about food, photographing it, or cooking! Obviously, she is team “Tortilla de patatas con cebolla”. Her favorite dishes are "Arroz de Conejo" and "Gazpacho".