These biscuits are easy to make and full of festive flavour. A family favourite that you can enjoy as a gluten-free version without noticing it!
Polvorones are a Christmas tradition in Spain where I grew up. Originally from the Middle East, the Arabic influence in the south of the country left us some incredible food combinations and spices that we still enjoy to date. Polvorones are one of them. This crumbly sweet it’s hard to describe, it’s something between a biscuit and a pastry. They are less crunchy than the former but drier and more crumbly than the latter.
The name, polvo, means powder, and it’s what best describes the final result, as polvorones will become powder in your mouth (or hand if you are not careful).
In Spain they are traditionally eaten at Christmas, but other Latin countries have them all year round, and I recently found out that they are eaten at Mexican weddings.
If you are gluten-free, enjoying Christmas sweets and treats can be a bit of a challenge. However, polvorones do not suffer from removing wheat flour, if anything, I like the gluten-free ones even more!
You can easily double the quantities to make a larger batch (I would have to triple eat if I wanted my whole family to enjoy them), but a warning of caution, polvorones are pretty filling so one or two per person will suffice. They do store well in an air-tight container, so spares are not a problem 😉
This Christmas try to make your own polvorones. They will be healthier than store-bought, and definitely cheaper if you were to find gluten-free ones in the store.
Gluten-free Polvorones recipe (Spanish Christmas biscuits)
Servings: 10 | Preparation time: 20 min | Cooking time: 60 min
- 200 g – gluten-free flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1)
- 50 g – chestnut flour (or replace with more gluten-free flour)
- 50 g – almond flour (ground almonds)
- 100 g – lard or tallow
- 40 g – coconut sugar (or other unrefined sugar, for a healthier alternative)
- 1 tbsp – cinnamon
- *1 tbsp – sesame seeds for toppings (optional)
- Preheat oven to 160 C. Spread all flours in an oven tray and toast in the oven for 40 min, mixing every 5-10 min. The flours will acquire a brown colour.
- In the meantime, put the sugar in a grinder or food processor and grind them to a fine powder (caster sugar-like).
- Measure your cooking fat (lard or tallow) and let it sit at room temperature until it’s time to use it.
- Once the flours are ready, take out of the oven and let them cool down for 10 min. At this point, you can switch off the oven but leave it closed to preserve the heat.
- Then pour the flours into a mixing bowl and stir in the powdered coconut sugar and cinnamon.
- Then add the fat and cut in the lard until you get a thick dough. It will take a bit of arm work but you can also use a stand-up mixer or kitchen robot if you have one.
- Now it’s time to shape your polvorones. I do this by hand, pressing into a round shape. You can also use a cookie cutter. Whilst doing this, bring the oven back to 160 C.
- Spread all your polvorones onto a tray lined with baking paper. If you wish, put sesame seeds on half of them, pressing the seeds with the back of a spoon.
- Put the tray in the oven and cook for 20 min or until brown.
- Remove from the oven and let them cool down. You can choose to use more powdered sugar to top the polvorones that don’t have sesame seeds, to create two different varieties.