You probably know these irresistible bites as Mexican Wedding Cookies or even Russian Tea Cakes. It seems like just about every country has their own version of this sweet treat — and for good reason, since they are as easy to make as they are delicious to enjoy. Despite their moniker, we think Polvorones are good beyond weddings and make an excellent addition to most dessert spreads during the holidays.
The name of these nutty shortbread cookies comes from the word "polvo," which means dust in Spanish. It references the powdery sugar that covers the cookie, as well as the trademark crumbly texture of the cookie itself.
To get that perfect texture, start by beating together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. After adding the extracts and salt, flour and almonds, use a cookie scoop (or just your hands) to form round balls from the dough. Arrange them on a sheet pan, chill and bake.
After the cookies cool, add powdered sugar to a shallow bowl and toss the cooled cookies in the powdered sugar until they’re evenly coated, gently shaking off any excess. Serve right away or store in an airtight container with a little extra powdered sugar to keep the cookies well dusted.
Technique Tip: Shape dough, then freeze it flat on a baking sheet before transferring to a zipped freezer bag. Store in the freezer to bake at a later date. These cookies will keep fresh for about five days in an airtight container.
Swap Option: Replace almonds with an equal amount of pecans, walnuts, pistachios or a combination of your favorite nuts. Add fresh lime or orange zest for a citrusy twist.
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup coarsely ground almonds
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar, for dusting cookies
Preheat oven to 325 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.2.
In the base of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the extracts and salt, then beat for another 30 seconds. Lower the mixer to the lowest setting and slowly add in the flour, letting it mix until it's all completely worked in. Add the almonds and mix until completely incorporated.3.
Use a cookie scoop or your hands to form round balls from the dough, each about 1 tablespoon in size.4.
Arrange dough balls on the cookie sheet, about 1 inch apart. Once you have filled the cookie sheet, place it in the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes.5.
Once chilled, place tray with cookies in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the cookies are completely baked, golden brown on the bottom but still pale on top. Let cookies cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to completely cool.6.
Add powdered sugar to a shallow container. Toss the cooled cookies in the powdered sugar, gently shaking off any excess. Serve right away or store in an airtight container with a little extra powdered sugar to keep the cookies well dusted.