Monday, May 21, 2018

Wanderlust and Wedding Cookies

Sometimes it drives my family a little crazy that I rarely make the same recipe twice, that I'm always on the lookout for something new to make as I inhale cookbooks as if they were novels and compile lists of recipes that I imagine myself making one day.

My kitchen cabinet is full of books whose pages tell the story of Latin America, Southeast Asia, the Middle East.

I want to take it all in.  Every recipe, every ingredient, every cuisine.
I want to travel, see, and experience.
I want to see it all.  Do it all.  Try it all.
I want to learn everything possible about every subject I encounter.
Take in everything I can and weave it into myself.

I guess loving me requires, if not an equal desire to absorb the bigness of the world, at the very least an appreciation of my awe of it and some tolerance of my love of whimsy.

It seems such an unfathomable waste of this fantastical world not to experience as much as one is able.

The other day, while rifling through recipes, I came across this recipe for Polvorones de Canele.
I'd be lying if I said I had any personal experience with these, but, as always, I'm drawn to a recipe that's outside my comfort zone- bonus points for having an intriguing name which requires searching beyond Google translate to decode.

From what I can tell, "polvorones" are traditionally served at Mexican weddings.  In Spanish, "polvo" means "dust," which makes sense given the powdered sugar that dusts the outsides of these little treats.  They resemble Russian Tea Cakes or Italian Wedding Cookies, though I honestly don't know enough about either of their cookie kin to delve into their differences.

They're a shortbread cookie, lacking any leavening agent.  The finished cookies are somewhat crumbly, but not overly so- just enough that they break up beautifully as you bite into them.  The cinnamon flavor is light and lovely and they are sweet enough that my family was happy but lacking that saccharine quality that I appreciate less and less in my desserts as I get older.

I enjoyed these right out of the oven, but the internet tells me many prefer them when they have cooled- just like brownies usually improve significantly if you can muster the patience to let them be.  :-)

These delicious little delights are well worth working into your cookie repertoire- even if you're not a culinary adventurer!

1 C butter, softened
1/2 C confectioners' sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 C all-purpose flour
1 C confectioners' sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.

2. In a medium bowl, cream together 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar and butter until smooth. Stir in vanilla. Combine flour, salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon; stir into the creamed mixture to form dough.  Cover and chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

3. Shape chilled dough into 1-inch balls. Mix together 1 cup confectioners' sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon; roll balls in cinnamon mixture.  Reserve extra cinnamon mixture.  Return to refrigerator and chill for an additional 10 minutes.

4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in preheated oven, or until lightly browned.  Gently roll cookies in remaining cinnamon mixture and transfer cookies to wire racks to cool.

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