Polvorones de Almendra – Spanish Almond Shortbread Cookies

Along with mantecados de limón, polvorones de almendra are one of the more popular cookies consumed in massive quantities during Christmas in Spain.

These almond shortbread cookies are similar to a pecan sandie, though dryer and more crumbly in texture. Just as with the mantecados de limón, the flour for the polvorones is lightly toasted, as well as as the almonds. It’s best to use whole un-skinned almonds for the recipe, rather than slivered, or replace them with almond meal.

Many recipes for polvorones call for equal parts flour, sugar and lard. This recipe, one I’ve made for many years, deviates on that to produce a slightly less sandy texture. Since the cookies are crumbly, it is best to stick with simple geometric shapes when cutting them, as they are typically sold in Spain. My own preferred size is a 2″ round cutter.

Despite making these cookies for years, I have almost no photos of them. Instead, enjoy a special treat of me being awkward in the following video (via Phoenix New Times), part of the interview Anatomy of a Polvorón.

Polvorones de Almendra - Spanish Almond Shortbread Cookies

  • 125 g whole raw almonds
  • 350 g all-purpose flour
  • 250 g granulated sugar
  • 175 g lard, cubed
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 egg white

Placing each on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, toast the almonds and flour in a 300°F oven until the almonds are crisp and the flour is golden brown. Be sure to stir each during the process. For more tips on how to toast flour, see the mantecados de limón recipe. Cool both completely.

Place the cooled toasted almonds and granulated sugar in a food processor. Pulse until the almonds are coarsely ground and mixed with the sugar. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until well combined.

Turn the dough out onto a slightly floured surface and press together. Roll out to a thickness of approximately half an inch. Cut cookies to desired shape, placing on a parchment lined baking tray.

Bake at 325ºF for 20 to 23 minutes, or until the cookies are golden and very slightly yielding.

Dust lightly with powdered sugar, once completely cooled, if desired.

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