Monday, June 9, 2008


Biscochos, or Polvorones as my grandmother called them, are tiny little cookies that are almost always found in Hispanic gatherings: weddings, birthdays, Christmas, most celebrations.

Traditionally, they are cut into small diamond shapes, but you can certainly use any small, non-intricate, cookie cutter to give them shape. Some even use a shot glass to cut small rounds out of the dough.

Their texture is that of the richest, flakiest piecrust you’ve ever tasted and enjoyed. They are slightly sweet with a hint of cinnamon and are very crumbly, like powder – polvo, thus the name “Polvorones”.

Different bakers of this delicious confection have been known to flavor their biscochos in their own way. Some use a little wine or a little brandy; some use anise while others use cinnamon; some will use eggs and some will use shortening instead of lard. All results are delicious regardless of the added ingredients.

But, there is still only one original recipe. With this basic recipe, you can incorporate whatever ingredients you might want to use to make it your own specialty. My grandmother used a little wine instead of milk for wedding biscochos and she always used lard.

I was taught how to make them using coffee cups and soups spoons for measurements and have since had to interpret the amounts for the cookbook. Here is my Grandmothers recipe. Use it and make it your own.

However you decide to prepare your biscochos, know that you are engaging in a true Mexican (and Mexican-American) tradition. These little cookies are part of our culture.

Remember that no recipe is set in stone. They are simply guidelines for you to follow and create your own unique dishes.

Polvorones (Biscochos)

2 lbs. (about 6 1/2 to 7 cups) flour
2 tbs. baking powder
2 tbs. sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 lb. lard
½ cup warm milk

Cinnamon-Sugar Coating
2 tsp. cinnamon
1-cup sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, and cinnamon in large mixing bowl. Whisk to combine.

Cut the lard into the flour mixture with a pastry blender, or use your hands by gently rubbing the lard and flour together until you reach the consistency of coarse meal.

Add warm milk and gently mix until well blended. DO NOT over mix the dough. It toughens the pastry.

Roll out a small portion of the dough between two pieces of waxed paper. Remove the top layer of paper and cut out the cookies. Gently lift cookies with a lightly floured spatula and place on ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake for 10 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on rack for 6 to 8 minutes then coat in cinnamon sugar coating.

Makes 5 to 6 dozen small Polvorones.

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