The recipe for these cookies is so easy to make, and the best part is the versatility of the dough. With the same dough you can make many different cookies or polvorones. The only thing you will change is the shape, flavor or toppings depending on what cookie you want to make with it. I want to thank three great bakers in Mexico: my dear friend Gabriela, from the blog Gabriela Clavo y Canela, in Mexico City; my friend Mario, owner of Panaderia D’Mario in the State of Morelos; and to Eliseo and Feliciano, bakers at a small bakery in my hometown Tampico, Tamaulipas. They are always kind enough to share their recipes and baking tips with me.
I hope you all enjoy the Polvorones as much as we do at home.
MAKES 16 LARGE POLVORONES-COOKIES
- 300 grams vegetable shortening (about 1 1/2 cup)
- 250 grams granulated sugar (1 1/4 cup)
- 1 large egg
- 500 grams All Purpose Flour (4 cups)
- 15 grams baking powder (4 teaspoons)
- 3 grams baking soda (1/2 teaspoon)
- Zest of one orange
- 1/3 cup sugar (granulated) for dusting
OPTIONAL INGREDIENTS FOR TOPPINGS AND FLAVORING
- Confectioner sugar
- Egg yolks, beaten
- Cocoa Powder
- Organic red and yellow food coloring
- If you prefer to have a vanilla flavor instead of orange, add 1/2 tablespoon of vanilla instead of the orange zest.
- For chocolate cookies, mix in 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder to the dry ingredients.
- Some Mexican bakeries sell the pink or yellow colored cookies. If you want to have that same effect, add a few drops of food coloring to the wet ingredients before adding the flour. You can also set aside a portion of the dough and add the food coloring and knead to mix in the color.
- To give the cookies a shiny and glossy finish, brush egg yolk to the tops before baking.
- Plan ahead to make the cookies making sure you have all the ingredients. You will need a 3-1/4" biscuit cutter and 2 baking sheets.
- You can divide the dough and freeze one part for later use.
SIMPLE CIRCLE SHAPE POLVORONES
1.First, adjust the oven rack to the middle position and turn the oven on to 325 degrees. Grease 2 baking sheets or line with parchment paper.
2. In a medium size bowl mix the flour, baking powder and baking soda.
3. Using a stand mixer, beat shortening and sugar on medium speed until it turns fluffy and creamy, for about 3 minutes. Add egg and orange zest or vanilla and beat until combined. Reduce speed to low and add the flour mix one cup at a time, scrapping down bowl as needed. Dough will become a little stiff. If you don’t have a stand mixer, mix the ingredients in the same order in a large bowl using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. I had made them using with a stand mixer and by hand and both methods work fine. Of course it will be faster using the stand mixer.
4. Divide the dough in half forming a disc with each piece of dough. Roll each disk of dough into a large circle using your rolling pin, about 1/3 inch thick, on lightly floured surfaced. Using the 3 1/4 biscuit cutter, cut out 8 circles, re-rolling dough scraps just once to from more circles. Roll out second disk of dough and proceed to form the rest of the circle as you did with the firs tone.
5. Place dough circles on prepared baking sheets spacing the cookies 1/2 inch apart. Dust center of the cookies with granulate sugar. Bake until edges are lightly browned, about 18 minutes, switching and rotating baking sheets halfway through baking time. Let the cookies cool on sheets on baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to cooling wire racks.
When baking cakes, breads or cookies, I prefer to use grams instead of ounces or cups, tablespoons or teaspoons. When using grams, your measurement of ingredients will be more precise every time. Baking is a little bit of science and art, and every time you change the amount of an ingredient the results are going to be different. Kitchen scales are not expensive and are a very useful tool for your baking.
OTHER SHAPES OF COOKIES USING THE SAME DOUGH
This is another common shape for polvorones, and for this you will need a very highly sophisticated gadget: a glass bottle! Yes, use the tip of a glass bottle to stamp that little circle at the center of the cookies.
1. Place about 1/2 cup of granulated sugar in shallow dish. Divide the dough in medium size balls (65 grams), with your hand roll 16 balls. Roll balls in sugar to coat.
2. Place the balls in a slightly floured surface and with the bottom of a thick glass gently press down one at a time to a 1/3” inch thick. Dust tip of the glass bottle with flour and then gently press the center of the cookie. Some bakeries add 1/4 teaspoon of strawberry preserves in the center circle.
3. Make sure to space cookies 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets and bake for about 18-20 minutes, until edges are golden.
2. When ready to bake, cut in 1/3-IN slices, place on baking sheet, sprinkle with sugar, and bake 18-20 minutes.
1. To form these cookies divide the dough in 65 grams balls, roll them with your hands in a long shape resembling a banana. Gently press your finger in the dough slightly flattening the top.
2. Mix one egg yolk with few drops of water. Brush the top part of the dough with egg yolk. With a fork scratch the top surface of the dough. Brush egg yolk once again over the top of the cookie dough.
3. Bake as instructed above.
As mentioned before, this dough is very versatile, you can just brush the tops with egg yolk before baking to get a glossy cookie, or brush with egg yolk and cover with multicolor sprinkles, or once the cookies are baked and cool down dust them with confectioners sugar.
One cookie dough with many faces... I hope you enjoy this recipe.