Cookies, like these traditional Spanish cookies called Polvorones, are a universal treat that regardless of culture, always bring a smile to peoples’ faces. Across the globe, cookies bring families together, celebrate holidays and achievements, and just make everyone feel good. This polvorones recipe hails from Spain and was traditionally made to celebrate Christmas.
These cinnamon cookies are full of flavor and require only seven simple ingredients. They fall in the shortbread cookies category because they have a high fat to flour ratio and a crumbly texture. I know you’ll love these buttery, cinnamon-spiced Christmas cookies!
Let’s head to the kitchen and get baking!
Beyond the delicious cinnamon taste, I have a long list of what I love about this polvorones recipe!
- The ingredient list is straight from the pantry
- Super simple and fast to make
- They freeze beautifully
- The crumbly shortbread texture
Polvorones De Canele, which means cinnamon cookies in English, are very straight forward to make. Here are a few tips to make it even easier!
A sprinkle of sugar: You can use granulated sugar and cinnamon to coat the cookies instead of the confectioner’s sugar. It gives it an extra boost of cinnamon!
Cool completely: Be sure you let cookies set and cool completely before you transfer to a container for storage. They will get soggy and soft if they are stored warm.
Don’t overwork the dough: Combine the dough until it just comes together and is well mixed. If you overwork it, the lard starts to melt, and you’ll lose the crumbly texture.
If your dough is sticky after mixing, let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes before rolling into balls.
Lard: I know lard has gotten a bad rap and is shunned by most bakers. It’s actually a magical ingredient that imparts loads of flavor. Don’t worry, it won’t make your cookies taste like pork!
Chose high-quality lard for your polvorones recipe, and you won’t be sorry. If lard is a no go for you, you can substitute butter or shortening. I would suggest the butter over shortening for more flavor.
Add a bit of color: These cookies have taken many forms from a large variety of cultural influences. One of the most popular variations is to add color or decoration. You can add a few drops of food coloring to your dough or decorate with sprinkles instead of rolling the cookies in sugar.
Like all cookies, polvorones must be kept in a well-sealed container to prevent them from drying out. They are a crumbly cookie, to begin with, so they dry out and go stale very quickly. They’ll keep for about a week in a well-sealed container at room temperature.
Can You Freeze This?
You can either freeze this polvorones recipe before or after baking. To freeze before, place rolled dough balls on a sheet pan and freeze for at least an hour. Transfer the dough balls to a freezer bag for long term storage. They’ll keep for about 3 months.
You can also freeze the baked cookies, generally homemade baked cookies lasts in the freezer for 6 months. You can give them a dusting of cinnamon and sugar or confectioners sugar as they thaw to freshen them up a bit.
Make Ahead Tips
You can make this dough ahead of time and keep it in the fridge for 1-2 days. Press the dough into a ball and wrap in several layers of cling wrap. You can make the individual balls when you are ready for them.
How Long Can You Keep This In The Fridge?
The dough for this polvorones recipe will keep for 2-3 days in the fridge. Make sure it is completely sealed to prevent it from drying out.
Cookies are a universal delicacy. That’s why there are endless variations of them! Here are a few variations to consider for this polvorones recipe.
What Other Cinnamon Cookies Can I Try?
With a classic flavor like cinnamon, you can’t go wrong with a cookie that puts it center stage. Cinnamon sugar cookies and cinnamon roll cookies are delicious twists on classic desserts. They pack a big cinnamon punch in each decadent cookie.
What Other Spanish Inspired Cookies Can I Bake?
Polvoron, another name for these shortbread cookies, are not the only Spanish shortbread in town.
Biscochitos are another traditional lard or butter-based cookie. These sugar cookies are traditionally rolled out and cut into shapes. Spiced with anise, their taste is definitely different than your typical sugar cookie, and they’re the state cookie of New Mexico!
Can I Add Chocolate?
What isn’t better with chocolate? Chocolate shortbread cookies are as simple as adding a bit of cocoa to your butter shortbread recipe. Chocolate chip shortbread cookies is another great way to incorporate chocolate and dress up the traditional recipe.
Can I Add Nuts?
Nuts are a fabulous addition to shortbread! Two of my favorite creations are almond shortbread cookies and pecan shortbread cookies. The sweetness of the nuts and added crunch compliment the shortbread perfectly.
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon divided
- 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
- 1 cup lard
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray cookie sheets; set aside.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon; set aside.
- In a medium bowl, cream together lard and confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Stir in vanilla. Stir flour mixture into lard mixture to form a stiff dough.
- In a small bowl, mix together 1 cup granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
- Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Roll balls in cinnamon mixture. Place on ungreased cookie sheets 2 inches apart.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the bottom of cookies are golden (tops and edges will remain pale). Cool cookies for 3-5 minutes, or until set (transferring without crumbling) then transfer to wire racks.
Polvorones recipe are only one of many shortbread cookies recipes. Here are a few of my other favorites!
- Lemon Shortbread Cookies- Light and lemony- a perfect afternoon treat
- Caramel Shortbread- Pour a cup of coffee and enjoy a decadent indulgence
- Whipped Shortbread Cookies- Fluffy, delicate, and totally delicious bites of heaven
- Springerle- Traditional German butter biscuits that melt in your mouth
I love the traditional approach of this polvorones recipe. This cinnamon-spiced cookie will be a hit on any cookie tray. You’ll love how simple they are to make and the flexibility of making and freezing ahead of time.
I can’t wait to hear how they turn out for you! Be sure to let me know in the comments!