Polvorones, also known as the Mexican Wedding Cookies when rolled round and dredged in powdered sugar. My Mom would prepare an almost identical version of this cookie, but we grew up knowing them as hojarascas. The flavors and textures are all the same. The original recipe is prepared with pork manteca (lard), but when the lard ran out, my Mom would use vegetable shortening. For this recipe I used butter and saved my manteca for my carnitas and tamales instead, lol! They can be prepared with or without nuts. Adding the canela and anise gives them a more traditional flavor of Polvorones.
Polvorones de Nuez
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, shortening or the traditional pork lard…yes, lard…lol!
4 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/3 teaspoon anise seeds, crushed
1/3 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 full teaspoon of vanilla bean paste
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups finely crushed pecans, optional
3/4 cup fine sugar mixed with 1 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground Mexican cinnamon, colored sprinkles or powdered sugar
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cream the butter, add powdered sugar, anise, cinnamon, salt and vanilla bean paste. Mix until smooth and creamy. Gradually mix in the flour until dough forms. If adding pecans, add them in now and fold them in as best you can.
2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll 30 dough balls and divide between the two baking sheets. If dough is too sticky to roll, mix in a little more flour, 2 tablespoons at a time. You could leave the polvorones round, or you could flatten them slightly.
3. Bake in preheated oven, one sheet at a time, for 13 to114 minutes, turning pan halfway through the baking time. This will help them bake more evenly.
4. If using sprinkles, they must go onto the cookies before baking. For cinnamon and sugar, gently dredge them in a mix of cinnamon/sugar while they are still slightly warm out of the oven. They will be very delicate. For powdered sugar, sift over cookies, or roll them in the powdered sugar once cooled. Let cool completely before storing in an airtight container. Yields up to 30 small cookies
Tips~ For Mexican Wedding cookies, do not add the cinnamon, anise or pecans. Roll prepared dough into balls and place on cookie sheet. Bake as directed. Roll in powdered sugar once cooled. If you decide to use the shortening, the dough will be extra soft. Mix in a little more extra flour, so the dough is not too sticky.
Polvorones sin Nuez-These are the Polvorones prepared without the pecans. My sister in law Janet prepared this batch using my recipe, pork lard included. 12/19/15
Polvorones con Anis y Canela prepared with fresh ground Mexican cinnamon. 12/19/15