04 January 2008


While I'm not one to usually get emotional about 'home', there is one type of cookies my mother makes in December which the smell, from the first mixture of ingredients to the baking, is what I would imagine 'home' would smell like, were it an aroma.
For the longest time I assumed that they were Weihnachtsplaetzchen (German Christmas cookies) which she had learned to bake under instructions by my Oma, who came from a family of bakers. In fact, those cookies are very Mexican. Well, probably not Aztec, come to think of it. Truth is, they probably were brought in from Austria during the late 19th century, when Maximilian was placed in Mexico by Napoleon III to be 'Emperor', and polvorones were made in the castle of Chapultepec (I assume, they would fit well in there). In 1867 Benito Juarez got rid of Maximilian, but kept the polvorones, and they are made usually for weddings (because they are covered in white).

« Polvorones » or « Pastelitos de boda »

Adapted by Cecilia Ramirez Sturm

Preheat the oven: 400°F

Mix well:

  • 1 cup soft butter
  • ½ cup of sifted confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Sift together and mix into butter mixture:

  • 2 and ¼ cup flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (can be avoided)

Add: ¾ cup of very finely chopped nuts (hazelnut is best, but pecans will do)

Roll into logs that shouldn’t be larger than the cardboard roll of paper towels (but can be longer)

Chill the logs for 30 min

Slice the logs about 1/4 inch wide: now you have little round cookies you place on your baking sheet.

Cook for 8-10 minutes

Let cool on a cooling rack, and sprinkle powdered sugar on them (not too much, just a slight layer—that one can be avoided too)

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