I had my mind set on having some polvoron for the weekend but didn’t have any powdered milk, a key ingredient. Getting a polvoron fix is serious business for me but I’m not about to run to the nearest Goldilocks (there are none). Good thing I have a recipe for a similar Spanish treat called Polvorones Sevillanos that doesn’t require powdered milk.
Filipino Polvoron and Polvorones Sevillanos are two distinct things but do share similarities other than the name. The Filipino version uses flour toasted in a dry skillet and is pressed in a mold to finish while its Spanish counterpart is shaped into ovals before baking in the oven. The resulting tastes of the shortbread made from these two methods are unsurprisingly different.
Even with the different cooking methods, both share the same crumbly texture and instantly falls apart into a fine powder upon biting. One of my hidden talents is the ability to whistle with a mouthful of polvoron without spewing the buttery powder into someone’s face.
recipe adapted from Penelope Casas’ The Foods and Wines of Spain
Cinnamon Cookies Dusted with Powdered Sugar
makes 20 cookies (approximately 1 ounce each)
8 ounces butter (two sticks), at room temperature
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups (9 ounces) whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
sifted powdered sugar, for dusting
- The original recipe called for Spanish brandy or Cognac. I’m more of a beer person. Vanilla extract has alcohol so I used that instead. Best. Tip. Ever.
- I used whole wheat pastry flour instead of all-purpose or regular pastry flour. I try to incorporate whole grains anywhere I can even if it doesn’t make sense. It’s not exactly going to transform the sticks of butter into health food in this case.
Cream the butter with a whisk or electric hand mixer until light and fluffy.
Mix the egg yolk with the powdered sugar. Add the vanilla extract. Beat this mixture into the creamed butter.
Start preheating the oven to 300ºF.
Sift the flour with the ground cinnamon. Fold into the butter mixture gently with a spatula just until evenly distributed. Divide the dough into 20 pieces. Shape into ovals with lightly floured hands.
Bake on a cookie sheet or sheet pan for about 30 minutes. The shortbread will spread slightly and should barely get browned.
Cool the cookies briefly for a few minutes. Roll the warm cookies in powdered sugar (the polvorones will be very fragile). The surface of the cookies will end up moistening and absorbing the powdered sugar. Let the polvorones cool completely.
Dust with more powdered sugar to serve.