Wednesday, 9 December 2015

christmas baking series - mexican pecan polvorones

Mexican wedding cakes, Russian tea cakes, snowball cookies - call them what you will, but I shall stick to Polvorones because I just love the way it sounds. Polvo is the Spanish word for powder or dust, hence the snowy whiteness of these melt in the mouth cookies or biscuits as we British like to call them and are popular all over Mexico - and not just during Christmas. They have such a festive look about them that I had to include them in my Christmas baking series. The snow like dusting of powdered sugar lends these biscuits such a unique flavour, and the finely chopped pecans make you feel as though you’re in a delicious dream. 

I made these last year for my poetry group Christmas party and they went down a treat and made them again for a family do. And now they’ve become a regular treat on special occasions in my family. They're also perfect as gifts, wrapped up with a little festive ribbon. Once you bake them – and on the proviso you have any left store them in an airtight container or a tin lined with greaseproof paper and a dusting of powdered sugar and enjoy for a few days. Seriously good and addictive, I challenge you to bake a batch and not fall in love with them. 

Adapted from Patti’s Mexican Table

Ingredients (for 35-40 polvorones)
260g plain flour
95g powdered sugar (plus more for dusting)
240g unsalted butter at room temperature
100g finely chopped pecans
1 medium free range egg
2tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt

Cream the butter and powdered sugar together with the vanilla extract and salt. Mix in the egg and then add the chopped pecans and flour.

Either with wooden spoon or by hand mix everything together until combined and cover with clingfilm and chill in the refrigerator for about 20 mins if you have the time. If not, they can be baked straightaway as it doesn’t make much difference.

Preheat your oven to 190c or 170 (fan) /gas mark 5. Do ensure you warm up the oven at least 15 minutes.

Roll the mixture into small balls – equivalent to a tbs of mixture and place on a lined baking tray.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, until they barely take on colour and are just set. The polvorones should not brown on top – just underneath.

Remove from oven and immediately roll them in powdered sugar (about 50g) and place on a plate to cool completely.

Once cool, roll the polvorones again in powdered sugar for a second coating (about another 50g powdered sugar) which will completely cover them and make them look white all over. Stores well in an airtight container for a few days.

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