One of the most popular recipes for cinnamon cookies are actually from Mexico, where they are called polvorones de canela. The main difference between this variety of cookies and the cookies that Americans are more familiar with is that the Mexican version is more of a dessert resembling shortbread in texture and taste, only enhanced with a cinnamon flavor. On the other hand, the American equivalent would, well, just be cookies with a cinnamon flavor, meaning they’re flatter and chewier in texture. Polvorones de canela is usually served and is said to be perfect with a mug of piping hot chocolate, just like the American counterpart is perfect with a glass of milk.
The word polvorones is actually Spanish, meaning “dust”. This is obviously alluding to these cookies having a generous dusting of a powdered mixture of powdered or confectioner’s sugar and cinnamon, which in Spanish is canela. Thus, the dessert’s name, polvorones de canela, is not actually a literal translation of cinnamon cookie, but actually means “dust of cinnamon”. This dessert is quite popular in Mexico, but it makes a most special appearance during weddings, where they are served in a sort of ceremonial tribute to match the dress of the bride in a traditional Mexican ceremony. These cookies are stacked to form a pyramid-like structure, and they make a spectacular centerpiece during the wedding reception.
What usually happens is that these Mexican confections are carefully piled up one on top of the other until they form a tower and reach a height that someone can still reach. With the hustle and bustle associated with Mexican weddings, this tower eventually tumbles and the cookies scatter all over the table. The wedding guests will enjoy the sweet treats with Mexican chocolate or a glass of liqueur until there wouldn’t be any cookies left.
So, what are the ingredients needed to make this Mexican version of cinnamon cookies? For the cookies, one needs two sticks or a cup of softened unsalted butter, half a cup of confectioners’ sugar, half a teaspoon of cinnamon, a quarter of a teaspoon of salt, a teaspoon of vanilla extract, and two cups of unbleached all purpose flour. For rolling the mixture, there is a need for a cup of confectioners’ sugar and a teaspoon of cinnamon.
The first step to making these cookies would be to mix the confectioners; sugar and the softened butter thoroughly until a creamy and smooth mixture is made. Once the consistency is achieved, vanilla, cinnamon and salt will be added. The mixture will now then have to be folded in the flour for a firm dough to be made. Set the dough aside in the fridge for an hour or two to chill.
While waiting for the dough to be stiff, the oven should be preheated to 350 degrees F. Use parchment paper to line the cookie sheets. Once the chilled dough has become stiff, form it into flat balls measuring an inch each. Then, combine the ingredients for rolling, and roll the balls in the mixture of confectioners’ sugar and cinnamon. Put the balls in the oven and bake for approximately 20 minutes until they are have a nice brown color.
The recipe given above will makes around 30 polvorones de canela. After letting them cool, these cinnamon cookies should be stored for approximately a week in an airtight container.