Raúl Musibay: Polvorones are a very typical Cuban cookie. Polvorones actually came to Cuba from Spain, specifically from the town of Esteppa in the province of Seville. They were traditionally made at special times when the farmers would bring their pigs to market for slaughter.
Glenn Lindgren: The cookies were made with pork lard.
Jorge Castillo: They also were a traditional treat for Christmas.
Raúl Musibay: The bakers of Seville produce some of the best pastries in all of Spain. Their fame goes as far back as Renaissance times.Glenn Lindgren: Many of their cooking techniques and ingredients actually come from the Arabs who once occupied Spain.
Jorge Castillo: The use of honey, almonds and pine nuts in many of their baked goods are examples of the Arab influence.Glenn Lindgren: Polvorones get their name from the Spanish word polvo, or dust.
Raúl Musibay: They got this name because they break so easily. To protect these delicate cookies, many pastry shops sell them wrapped in tissue paper.Glenn Lindgren: Polvorones are not unique to Cuba -- they are also enjoyed in several Latin countries including Puerto Rico.
A very typical cookie made with crushed almonds, they actually came to Cuba from Spain.
INGREDIENTS:1 cup creamy white lard (non-hydrogenated, look for leaf lard)
In a large mixing bowl, cream the lard and the egg yolks with the sugar and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, mix the flour, almonds, and salt. Add this mixture gradually to your creamed lard until you have a mixture that is slightly crumbly. Shape the dough into small balls, a tablespoon at a time. Rolls the balls in white sugar, and place on an ungreased cookie sheet, flattening slighly.
Bake for approximately 12 to 14 minutes.
NOTE: If you absolutely must avoid lard -- for religious reasons maybe -- you may substitute vegetable shortening. But try the lard, especially if you can find non-hydrogenated leaf lard.
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