Another year has passed and, traditionally, this is the time to make the oh so popular New Year’s resolutions. Mine for 2019 are honestly quite simple, yet very complicated. All in all, what I want is to focus more on my mind and body and declutter my life.
- I want to join a gym and see it though,
- I want to finally learn how to play the ukelele,
- I want to finish my PhD once and for all,
- I want to stop buying so much stuff I really don’t need,
- I want to reduce my plastic consumption,
- I want to learn how to relax and be more present,
- I want to volunteer again,
- and I want to eat cleaner.
With that last goal in mind, I am sharing this recipe today. Don’t you worry, I’m not forcing you to diet… quite the opposite, actually. I am sharing the fattiest, sugariest and richest Christmas dessert of which I could think: polvorones.
Polvorones are a dessert that originated in the south of Spain around the 1500s, and they have been a staple during this season ever since. The name is a derivative from the word “polvo,” which means “dust,” because they tend to crumble apart really easily. So I thought it was a nice way to say a symbolic goodbye to this year, already turning into sweet dust.
The crumbling of polvorones is because the main ingredient is not butter or oil… but lard. I know for some of you, adding actual pork fat in a sweet treat may sound strange, maybe disgusting, even. But you have to understand something about Spanish traditional gastronomy: we even have the proverb “Del cerdo, hasta sus andares,” which literally translates as “From the pork, even the way it walks.” We ought to use everything. That’s how we ended up with dishes such as criadillas (testicles), sesos (brains), morcilla (blood pudding), callos (guts), or manitas (hoofs). So, for me, polvorones are just really, really normal and not disturbing at all.
Trust me, people wait all year round to eat these soft almond cookies. Polvorones even have the Protected Designation of Origin status. If it doesn’t interfere with your beliefs or you are not a vegetarian, just give it a try:
POLVORONES – INGREDIENTS
- 250 g or 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 150 g or 3/4 cups lard, room temperature
- 95 g or 3/4 cups icing sugar
- 120 g or 1+1/4 cups ground almonds
- 1Tbsp cinnamon or lemon zest or cocoa powder (I used cinnamon)
- 1 pinch of salt
POLVORONES – PREPARATION
Pre-heat the oven at medium heat. Spread the flour and ground almonds in the oven tray and toast them, stirring often to prevent it from burning. Less than 10 minutes should be enough. Once they are golden, mix in a large bowl with the lard, the icing sugar and the flavor of choice. You should knead it until you have a compact non-sticky ball. Let it rest for at least half an hour. Sprinkle a dry and smooth surface with flour and spread the dough until it becomes around one inch-thick.
Polvorones are usually round or ellipses, but I chose to make stars because it looks prettier… except that this is a very fragile pastry, so once they were baked most of the star-tips were broken.
Bake them at medium heat for 10-15 minutes.
In order to be able to eat them and not choke to death with its powdery texture, polvorones are usually wrapped in tissue paper and, before unwrapping them, you need to squeeze them hard and make them compact:
So I will squeeze this last unhealthy treat before tackling my New Year’s resolutions. But don’t you worry, there is always a cheat day, and I’ll make sure to share those delicious recipes throughout 2019, more so than this past year.
Happy New Year to those of you who celebrate!