Polvorones almond cookiesHappy 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.

Polvoron almond cookiePolvorones (Spanish almond cookies)

  • 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
  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.Polvorones dough
  5. 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.Polvorones before baking
  6. 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.

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