Spiced Almond Polvorónes

published Dec 17, 2022
Spiced Almond Polvoróne Recipe

These Spanish-inspired cookies are spiced with ground cinnamon and nutmeg in the dough as well as in the confectioners’ sugar that's dusted on at the end.

Serves10 to 12

Makes25 (2-inch) cookies

Prep35 minutes

Cook25 minutes

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Spiced Almond Polvorone cookies on baking pan.
Credit: Photo: Julia Gartland; Food Stylist: Jessie YuChen

These Spanish-inspired cookies are in the polvorón family — a kind of umbrella term for a cookie that crumbles when bitten into. (“Polvorón” translates to “powder.”) In Mexico, two kinds of cookies share the polvorón name. Spelled polvorones, there is the sugar cookie version, as well as the Mexican wedding cookie, a tender shortbread dusted with powdered sugar. The Spanish polvorón, which inspired this recipe, is nearly indistinguishable from shortbread, with a toasted all-purpose flour and ground almond mixture and just enough butter to hold everything together. The zest from one orange adds a little brightness, while the brown sugar pairs nicely with the toasted flour and almonds.

Tips for Making Polvorónes

  • Play with the spices. These polvorónes are spiced with a bit of ground cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg in the dough as well as in the powdered sugar dusted on at the end. But feel free to swap in any combination of your favorite warming spices.
  • Toast the almonds in the oven. If you don’t have a non-reactive skillet, such as stainless steel or ceramic, toast the almonds and flour in a 350°F oven on a large baking sheet for about 15 minutes, stirring once around the five-minute mark. 

Spiced Almond Polvoróne Recipe

These Spanish-inspired cookies are spiced with ground cinnamon and nutmeg in the dough as well as in the confectioners’ sugar that's dusted on at the end.

Prep time 35 minutes

Cook time 25 minutes

Makes 25 (2-inch) cookies

Serves 10 to 12

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 8 tablespoons

    (1 stick) unsalted butter

  • 1/2 cup

    whole almonds

  • 1 cup

    all-purpose flour

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    ground cinnamon, divided

  • 1/4 cup

    1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, divided

  • 1/3 cup

    packed light or dark brown sugar

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    vanilla extract

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1

    medium orange

  • 2 tablespoons

    powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Place 1 stick unsalted butter in the bowl of a stand mixer (or large bowl if using an electric hand mixer). Let sit at room temperature until softened. Meanwhile, process and toast the almonds and flour.

  2. Place 1/2 cup whole almonds in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Process until coarsely ground, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a large stainless steel or ceramic skillet.

  3. Add 1 cup all-purpose flour to the skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the almonds are fragrant and the flour darkens a bit, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add 1/2 teaspoon of the ground cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon of the freshly grated nutmeg, and whisk to combine. Let cool to room temperature.

  4. Arrange 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat the oven to 350ºF. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

  5. Add 1/3 cup packed brown sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt to the bowl of butter. Beat on medium speed with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Stop the mixer.

  6. Finely grate the zest of 1 medium orange into the butter mixture. Add the almond mixture and beat on medium speed until a crumbly, slightly sticky mixture forms, about 30 seconds. The dough should hold together once pressed with your hands.

  7. Gather the dough into a ball and place between 2 sheets of parchment paper. Roll the dough out into a rough 8x10-inch rectangle that’s about 1/4-inch thick. Using a 2-inch round cutter, cut out as many polvorones as you can. Use an offset spatula or thin spatula to transfer the polvorones onto the baking sheets, spacing them evenly apart, 12 per sheet.

  8. Gather the scraps together and form into a ball. Re-roll and cut out more polvorones until you have 20 to 25 total.

  9. Bake for 7 minutes. Rotate the baking sheets from front to back and between racks. Bake until golden-brown all over, 5 to 7 minutes more. Let cookies cool completely on the baking sheets.

  10. Place the remaining 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, and 2 tablespoons powdered sugar in a small bowl and stir to combine. Dust the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer all over the cookies.

Recipe Notes

Sugar substitutions: Substitute granulated sugar for brown sugar for a more classic polvorón recipe. The dough will be lighter in color and the cookie will be more crumbly, a bit chewier, and more tender.

Make ahead: The dough can be well wrapped and frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before rolling and baking.

Storage: Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.