Indulge in the delightful taste of our homemade Polvorones cookies recipe! Discover the joy of baking these traditional Spanish treats, perfect for the holiday season and beyond. Learn the secrets to their crumbly, melt-in-your-mouth texture and savor the warm, comforting flavors.
I had just finished visiting the fabulous Els llums de Sant Pau where the incredible modernist Hospital Sant Pau buildings transform into a real festive spectacle. The walls are clad from top to bottom in illuminations and light displays. It’s called the “Christmas garden” and it is a sight to behold. The twinkling and sparkling of the lights all around you is something quite special.
As I strolled toward the center of Barcelona, I noticed a bustling little bakery along the way. Not one to pass up on a sweet treat, I meandered inside. The whole store was laden with treats, bread, and cakes. From ceiling to floor, there wasn’t an empty shelf or tray.
I watched to see what the children were choosing (these are always the best treats). It seemed to me that they were most interested in a particular cookie. Round and wrapped in tissue paper. The children would first give the cookie a little squeeze before unwrapping it.
So, I got myself my own tissue-wrapped treasure and gave it a little squeeze too! Inside the wrapper was a soft and buttery cookie. A Spanish Christmas cookie or a polvorone as they are called! Melt-in-your-mouth is the only way to describe these incredible shortbread holiday cookies.
Ingredients for Spanish polvorone recipe
75g / 1 cup skinless almonds
140g / 1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup powdered sugar
90g / 6 TBS butter, room temperature
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Extra powdered sugar
Recipe for Spanish polvorone recipe
Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.
Grind the almonds up in a food processor. Lay them onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Add the flour and mix together on the sheet.
Bake the mix for 15 minutes, mixing the flour mixture and almond mix halfway. Remove and cool completely.
Sift the flour, and ground almonds together with the powdered sugar and cinnamon.
Add in the softened butter with a wooden spoon and mix the butter mixture until you have a texture similar to beach sand.
Place the dough on a floured surface and bring it together. Create a rectangular shape with the dough.
Use a floured rolling pin to press the dough down to about ½ inch / 1.2cm thick.
Cut out your polvorones cookies and place them onto baking sheets, lined with greased baking paper.
Bake them for around 15 minutes or until they are cooked through.
Allow them to cool for a few minutes on their pan before transferring them to a cooling rack.
Once completely cooled, dust with powdered sugar.
Substitutions and Variations for Polvorones Cookies Recipe
Here are a couple of ideas on what can be switched out and varied in your recipe polvorones.
For a gluten-free Christmas cookie, use your favorite brand of gluten-free flour instead of all-purpose flour.
Almonds: if you can’t find almonds for almond flour or are looking for an alternate choice, try skinned hazelnuts for your flour.
Vanilla extract can be switched for almond essence.
For a dairy-free or vegan Christmas cookie, substitute the butter for a plant-based vegan butter or high-quality margarine.
Add in lemon or orange zest for a fresh festive flavor.
Add in a little spice mix to give them another layer of flavor: ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cardamom, nutmeg, and clove are all great options.
Pro Tips and Tricks to Making Spanish Christmas Cookies
Here are tips to take your cookies to the next level:
Use room-temperature butter that is softer than you’d usually have it for regular cookies.
Roasting your almonds really deepens the flavor so don’t skip this step.
Storage and Shelf-life
These cookies will last for 3 weeks in an airtight container. There is no need to refrigerate them, but it can be done.
You can freeze the cookies. I would recommend freezing them on a lined baking sheet first, until frozen solid. After that, pop them into freezer safe containers and they will freeze for around 3 months.
What Is a Polvorones Cookie?
Polvorones are a must-have Christmas holiday treat! They are considered the Spanish shortbread and use a reverse creaming as with a lot of buttery shortbread recipes. They are usually round (sometimes shaped) and can me made thin or into thick shortbread cookies. The cookies are super rich and melt-in your mouth as you bite into them.
The word “ Polvo’ translates to “powder” and nothing could be more appropriate. As soon as you take your first bite, your mouth will be covered in snowy confectioner’s sugar.
An interesting little fact is that during the Spanish inquisition, eating cookies from the mantecado “family of cookies”, was a way to prove your Catholic faith. These are also known as Mexican wedding cookies and they are free from baking soda!
How To Serve And Eat Spanish Christmas Cookies?
When you buy polvorones, they usually come wrapped up in printed paper. The classic way to eat them it by squeezing them first in your hand a little bit before unwrapping them.
These delectable shortbreads can be eaten as a side treat to a steaming hot cup of tea, coffee or cocoa. As they are light in flavor, they will be lovely with a hot cup of matcha tea or a masala chai tea.
Wrapping It Up
Grab yourself a set of the ingredients and give these egg-free Spanish Christmas cookies a whirl. You can even go so far as wrapping them up in printed tissue paper, the way the Spanish do. This is a great idea if you make the thicker version of this buttery shortbread.
Spanish Christmas cookies are always lovely packed in a pretty vintage tin and sprinkled with an extra coating of powdered sugar. This would make such a lovely gift for a teacher, grandparent or neighbor. People love to receive thoughtful and handmade gifts, so give it a go!
As you enjoy the delight of homemade Polvorones, take a look at our Christmas in Spain article. Dive into Spain’s diverse heritage while indulging in these exquisite treats. Embark on a cultural and gastronomic adventure!
Spanish Polvorones Recipe
- 75 g skinless almonds
- 140 g all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup powdered sugar
- 90 g butter room temperature
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- Extra powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F
- Grind the almonds up in a food processor. Lay them onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.75 g skinless almonds
- Add the flour and mix together on the sheet.140 g all-purpose flour
- Bake the mix for 15 minutes, mixing the flour mixture and almond mix halfway. Remove and cool completely.
- Sift the flour, and ground almonds together with the powdered sugar and cinnamon.⅓ cup powdered sugar, 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- Add in the softened butter with a wooden spoon and mix the butter mixture until you have a texture similar to beach sand.90 g butter
- Place the dough on a floured surface and bring it together. Create a rectangular shape with the dough.
- Use a floured rolling pin to press the dough down to about ½ inch / 1.2cm thick.
- Cut out your polvorones cookies and place them onto baking sheets, lined with greased baking paper.
- Bake them for around 15 minutes or until they are cooked through.
- Allow them to cool for a few minutes on their pan before transferring them to a cooling rack.
- Once completely cooled, dust with powdered sugar.Extra powdered sugar