Happy New Year! For what’s still the holiday season, I bring you polvorones. We were recently in the Canary Islands on holiday (in quieter parts of Tenerife where we actually didn’t see any lobster-red beach sardines or drunken English louts) and I wanted to make some Spanish food for Christmas. Polvorones are a traditional Christmas treat and I thought they sounded easy enough to make in a limited holiday rental kitchen. However, the oven turned out to be malfunctioning so I ended up doing fruit and ice cream for Christmas dessert instead. Back home, however, there was nothing stopping me, so I made polvorones for New Year’s instead of Christmas.
Polvorones are supposed to be crumbly – after all, “polvo” means powder. I figured they would be extra crumbly if using gluten-free flour. So I decided to forgo rolling them out and cutting them out. Instead, I pressed my dough directly into a tablespoon measure and used it as a mould. I used a recipe adapted from Lisa & Tony Sierra on spanishfood.about.com. The result? Gorgeous, melt-in-your-mouth cookies that taste deliciously of almonds and butter. Not so crumbly that they don’t hold their shape but still decidedly polvorones.
- 140 grams butter, room temperature
- 190 grams gluten-free flour mix (I used Dove’s Farm plain white flour)
- 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
- 90 grams ground almonds
- 140 grams sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- Toast flour and ground almonds at 175 degrees C (350 F) until just golden, stirring occasionally. The ground almonds will take far less time than the flour, so watch it carefully!
- Reduce heat to 120 degrees C (250 F). Set aside toasted almonds and flour to cool. Prepare a cookie sheet by simply putting a sheet of non-stick baking paper (parchment paper) on it.
- Cream together butter and sugar. I used a pastry blender for all the mixing, as I find this enables me to mix well without having flour or sugar flying everywhere.
- In a separate bowl, mix together gluten-free flour blend, xanthan gum, cinnamon, and ground almonds. Mix into the butter and sugar until everything is evenly mixed.
- Firmly press the dough into a tablespoon measure. I suppose you could use something else as a mould too but I found my round tablespoon measure to be ideal. Slide out of the tablespoon measure onto the non-stick baking paper. Leave at least a half inch or so between cookies on all sides.
- Bake at 120 degrees for 25 minutes. Leave to cool completely before attempting to move. It will be hard to resist trying to eat these babies warm, but trust me – it’s worth it.