Polvorones de Almendra: Crumbly Almond Cookies

Crumbly Almond Cookies - Polvorones de Almendra. Marian Blazes
  • 75 mins
  • Prep: 30 mins,
  • Cook: 45 mins
  • Yield: 18 cookies (9 servings)

These interesting cookies are Spanish in origin but they are also popular in Latin America.  They are traditionally prepared with lard (though butter makes a good substitute), and they are especially popular at Christmas. 

Polvorones are thick, slightly sweet, tender cookies, flavored with almond and anise and topped with powdered sugar.  They are a close relative to Mexican wedding cookies, though they are shaped differently.  Another distinctive characteristic of these cookies is that the flour and almond meal are toasted in the oven before preparing the cookie dough, which gives the cookies a unique and delicious flavor. 

What You'll Need

  • 3 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 3/4 cup almond meal
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 8 tablespoons butter (softened)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon anise extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered cinnamon
  • Garnish: extra powdered sugar for decoration

How to Make It

  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees (F).
  2. Spread the flour and the almond meal evenly onto a baking sheet.  Toast the flour/almond meal mixture in the oven, stirring from time to time, until it is fragrant and very lightly browned.  Remove the mixture from the oven and let the flour and almond meal cool completely. 
  3. Place the softened butter in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Add the powdered sugar and mix on low speed until the butter and sugar are well blended.  Beat butter/sugar mixture on medium speed until it is soft, light, and fluffy.  
  1. Add the salt, the anise extract, and the cinnamon and mix well.  Add the (toasted and cooled) flour/almond mixture gradually, mixing after each addition.  The mixture should come together as a crumbly dough.  If it is so crumbly that it won't stick together when you squeeze a handful, add another 1-2 tablespoons of softened butter.
  2. Wrap the cookie dough in plastic wrap and chill for 30-60 minutes. 
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
  4. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of about 1 centimeter, or even thicker if desired (some people prefer these cookies 1/2 inch thick or more).  Cut 3-inch diameter circles of dough, and place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Re-roll the dough scraps and cut more cookies until you have used all of the dough.
  5. Bake the cookies for about 15 minutes, or until they start to brown lightly around the edges.  Remove from the oven.  Sprinkle the tops of the cookies generously with powdered sugar while the cookies are still warm.  
  6. Store cookies in an airtight container (once they are cool).  Cookies will keep for up to one week.