I couldn’t find an exact word for the translation of the word polvorones, but I think they can be translated as shortbread cookies. But anise-flavored shortbread cookies is very long, so I will refer to them as anise polvorones. I found the recipe for these polvorones two years ago in a Spanish blog, apparently they are very traditional in Spain. The first time I made them everyone in my house love them, so they have become a frequent recipe in my house. Especially in the holiday season, when we have guest or we use them as Christmas favors.
These polvorones are prepare unlike any other kind of cookie. First the olive oil has to boil with the zest of a lime and, while hot, is incorporated into the flour. The dough does not have sugar in it, so when baking they will never turn golden in color (sugar is what gives them the golden color to baked goods). The lemon zest is coarse, not like most other recipes that it has to be very fine. I took a picture with my phone so you can see how it should be.
The quality of the ingredients is extremely important in this recipe, starting with the olive oil. It has to be “extra light olive oil”. The word “light” has nothing to do with its calorie content. It has the same fat content as a regular oil, the “light” word is a reference to its pale color and mild flavor. This is the oil I use. Although it calls for a half cup of anise liqueur; once baked their flavor is not very intense, you can definitely recognize the characteristic anise flavor but without the alcohol.
They crumble at the first bite, they are very soft, moist and with a compact structure. They taste delicious with a cup of coffee or tea! If you decide to prepare these anise polvorones, I’m sure you will not regret, not even a single crumb!
- 1 cup Extra Light Olive Oil
- Zest of 1 lime
- 500 gr (18 oz) pastry flour
- ½ cup Anise liqueur
- ¾ cup sugar for dusting
- Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F. Prepare baking sheets with parchment paper or with silicone mats.
- Place the flour in a medium glass bowl. Reserve.
- In a medium size saucepan, place the olive oil and the lime zest. Let it boil, you will see that the lime zest will start to fry and you'll hear cracking sounds. Remove from heat. Very carefully and with long cooking tongs, remove the lime zest.
- Immediately pour half the hot oil in the flour. Mix with a silicone spatula resistant to high temperatures. Integrate. Pour the rest of the olive oil. Using the spatula move until you have a fully integrated dough. Add the anise liqueur and mix well.
- When you can handle the dough with your hands, take about a tablespoon of dough and shape into rounds. Make a hole in the center so they look like small donuts. Place them on the cooking sheets, spacing them 5cm (2 in) apart.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until they are firm. (Remember, they will not become golden in color because the dough has no sugar).
- In a medium bowl place the sugar. While the polvorones are still hot, sprinkle with sugar. Let them cool in a cooling rack.