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I have tried many Mexican Wedding cookie recipes over the years — they’re actually one of my favorite styles of cookies — and finally found the perfect one, from Gonzalo Guzman’s cookbook, Nopalito. I made them last weekend as a part of a Mexican-themed dinner party, serving them for dessert alongside two flavors of paletas (also from the Nopalito cookbook): chocolate-cinnamon and lime-cream. All were delicious but, frankly, the polvorones stole the spotlight. I was delighted to see my guests reaching for seconds…and thirds…and fourths! as the candles burned low and final glasses of wine and pours of mezcal were enjoyed.
These buttery cookies melt in your mouth and have a distinctive, warm nuttiness to them thanks to not only the standard ground almonds, but the recipe’s insistence that you toast the flour (something I’d never done before in my long baking career) and swap all-purpose flour for cake flour. These fine points yield an excellent result: the polvorones boast incredible depth of flavor and a wonderful texture that, while crumbly, has a velvetiness I’ve never been able to achieve in this style of cookie.
Polvorones (Mexican Wedding Cookies)
Adapted from Nopalito
Makes about 3-4 dozen small cookies
1/2 cup raw almonds
18 oz (about 3 3/4 cups) cake flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp kosher salt
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon (we buy ours from Spice House — I notice such a difference when I use higher quality spices vs. McCormick; we are also diligent about throwing spices away after a year, as they lose their intensity of flavor over time)
10 oz (2.5 sticks) unsalted butter, melted (I use Kerrygold or Plugra in all baking — the butter quality makes SUCH a big difference!)
3/4 tsp vanilla extra (I like Nielsen-Massey)
powdered sugar, for dusting
Preheat oven to 375. Add almonds to a small baking sheet and spread flour on a separate baking sheet. Bake both until almonds are toasted and the flour is a dark cream color. [Jen note: The cookbook advises 20 minutes for this step, but I found the almonds were toasted within about 10 minutes — use your nose to determine doneness! Once you start smelling the almonds, they’re toasted. You do not want burnt nuts! The flour took a lot longer — maybe 30 minutes?]. Remove and let cool completely (otherwise the almonds will turn to almond butter when ground). Lower the oven heat to 350.
In a food processor [Jen note: I use this mini size and everything fit fine], combine the cooled almonds, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon and process until almonds are finely ground.
Transfer the mixture to a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat in the melted butter and vanilla on low speed. Add the toasted flour and mix on low speed until just incorporated.
Line baking sheets with parchment. Using a small cookie scoop or melon baller, place level scoops of dough on the prepared pans 1.5 inches apart. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until evenly browned and cooked through, about 30 minutes. [Jen note: Mine took much less time — closer to 18-20 minutes — and I again knew they were done by smell.]. Remove and dust with powdered sugar while still hot. [Jen note: I filled a small bowl with powdered sugar and tossed the cookies in the sugar one by one to ensure even coating. You want them fully covered, caked in sugar.]
Let cool completely. These will keep for several days if stored in an airtight container.
+Lessons learned from cooking and entertaining.
+Sometimes, constraints are a good thing.
+The fallacy of open time.
+For melting butter, I have been eyeing this Dansk saucepan in the 1 qt size. We use our smallest 1 qt All-Clad pot CONSTANTLY. So handy to have a small size for things like soups, melting butter, thawing small portions of stock, preparing small servings of frozen veg for the kids, etc. (And for even smaller batches — like a few tablespoons butter for dipping lobster — we use this tiny butter warmer from Mauviel.) I think it’d be nice to have another in this size but in the charming Dansk style. You can get 20% off (sitewide, actually!) at Food52 with code Magpie20. More of my favorites from their collection here.
+This $160 dress is spectacular for a fall wedding — LOVE in the emerald color. Very Ulla J. Imagine with velvet platforms (also someone please snag these spectacular green velvet platforms from The Real Real in a size 9) with one of the emerald rings Dorsey’s about to launch.
+This Goop cardi is a total splurge but I can’t tell you how much I’ve loved their Beckham sweater this summer. I literally keep it at my desk. Think I might invest in this pretty gray one for my winter desk sweater. The quality and tailoring of this brand has totally blown me away. Simple, elevated basics. A stylist recently said that she invests in one good knit each season. This Goop one might be mine!
+I’ve been seeing lots of chunky gold earrings this season — test the trend with this $10 pair!
+A Magpie wrote requesting “fun pops of red” for her wardrobe and I think we all need this $89 oversized red cableknit cardigan. SO GOOD.
+Obsessed with this marigold-colored tablecloth for fall…might use for my Thanksgiving table?!
+For Magpies asking for fall/winter special occasion dresses while pregnant: this Sleeper dress!
+I keep coming back to this satin brown mini skirt. It’s SO good and so different?!