Pan de Polvo – buttery, crumbly, melt in your mouth Mexican shortbread biscuits.
I’m always in a mood for a shortbread, especially for Christmas. It is a perfect kind of cookie – buttery, crumbly, melt in your mouth biscuit. I’ve tried a bunch of recipes from many countries and this year is time for Mexican shortbread cinnamon cookies aka Mexican wedding cookies.
Every Pan de Polvo recipe that I’ve seen uses shortening rather than butter. I’m not sure what is a reason for that, but I’m honoring the tradition. There is no sugar in the dough, but cookies are rolled in a mixture of granulated sugar and cinnamon.
Another thing that distinguished Mexican Shortbread from other recipes is that instead off eggs or cream or milk here you use cinnamon tea to make the dough. I found that very intriguing. Some say you should not use any liquid in shortbread dough because it won’t be flaky. Well, I’ve used over 1/2 cup cinnamon tea when making Pan de Polvo and guess what – it was perfectly flaky!
Some recipe say you cook cinnamon stick together with star anise to make cinnamon tea. I’m not a fan of anise, so I left it out (used it just for decoration). If you like it, you can certainly use it. Also, a pinch of salt can be added to bring out the flavors.
Mexicans use stick of cinnamon (Mexican canela) and grind it in a molcajete (mortar and pestle) or a coffee grinder, but you can use store bought ground cinnamon as well.
If I made these cookies just for myself, I would use butter instead of shortening and I would add some sugar to the dough. True, it wouldn’t be authentic Pan de Polvo, but I believe it would be worth to try it.
What is Pan de Polvo?
It is a type of shortbread cookie from Mexico, , very similar to Filipino Polvoron, and Spanish Polvorón. Traditionally this treat is served at Christmas, weddings, and Quinceañeras (a celebration of a girl’s 15th birthday).
How to make Pan de Polvo?
Combine 2 cups of flour, shortening, baking powder and water to make a dough. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake. While still hot, roll in sugar and cinnamon mixture.
What does pan de Pan de Polvo mean?
Literally it means “dust bread” because of the dusty and crumbly texture of the cookies.
Can you freeze Pan de Polvo?
Yes, you can. Put the baked cookies in a freezer container using wax paper sheets to separate each row.
How to store Pan de Polvo?
Baked cookies can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for at least 1 week. After about 4 days in the storage, it will develop wonderful cinnamon flavor and its texture will become velvety (same thing happens to Vanilla Crescent Cookies).
How long does Pan de Polvo last?
Stored at a room temperature, it can last for at least a week to up to 4 weeks. Frozen, it can last for at least 3 months.
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/2 - 1 cup water
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cup shortening or lard (285 g)
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
Boil cinnamon stick in water for about 5 minutes to get cinnamon tea. Let cool completely.
Put flour, shortening and baking powder in a food processor (you can do this by hand, too). Mix or pulse until you get coarse crumbs. Add cooled cinnamon tea little by little, while mixing all the time, until you get smooth dough. Cover the dough with a plastic wrap and place on counter (NOT the refrigerator)for an hour to rest.
Divide the dough in two parts. Roll the dough on a floured surface. Use a 6 cm cookie cutter to cut round cookies. Place them on a baking sheet covered with baking paper.
Bake Pan de Polvo cookies in preheated 350 F (175 C) oven for about 15 minutes.
Combine granulated sugar and ground cinnamon in a bowl. Roll Mexican shortbread cookies in this mixture while they are still hot. Using a fork, place them immediately on a cookie rack to cool.
This recipe was first published on: December 20, 2017