Spanish Almond (Polvorones)
Ingredients 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 3/4 cup raw almonds 5 ounces (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter 3/4 cup sugar 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt Confectioners' sugar, for dusting, optional
Preheat oven to 350 F. Pour flour onto a cookie sheet. Place the flour in the oven and toast it for about 8 minutes, occasionally stirring it so it toasts evenly. Alternatively, place flour in a non-reactive pan on the stove at medium heat and toast for 8 to 10 minutes while stirring. Remove from oven or pan and set aside. Place raw almonds on another cookie sheet. Toast the almonds until they change color just slightly, or about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove and place almonds into a food processor. Process almonds until they are finely ground into a flour-like texture. Reduce oven temperature to 250 F. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla together with a hand or electric whisk. Add the flour and finely ground almonds to the butter mixture and incorporate all the ingredients well. The resulting dough will be very crumbly. Place a sheet of waxed paper on a cutting board or another flat work surface. Press the dough together to form a ball. Then press the dough onto the waxed paper. Carefully flatten it down with a floured rolling pin, into a 1/2- inch uniform thickness. Use a cookie cutter to cut out the cookies. Since the dough is dry and flakey, use a small spatula to carefully move the cookies to the cookie sheet. Bake cookies for 25 to 30 minutes until you see golden brown on the edges. Allow cookies to cool completely before removing them from the cookie sheet. They are so delicate that moving them while still hot will break them apart. Once cooled, sift powdered sugar over the cookies and serve. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 10 days.
(Polvorones) are a kind of mantecado, a variety of Spanish shortbread. Traditionally, these cookies were only prepared from September to January, making them an ideal ending for a Christmas dinner. They're soft and crumbly and practically melt in your mouth.
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