Monday, June 18, 2012

Polvorones (Mexican Wedding Cookies)



These past two months have been busy.  I knew that something had to give in my booked life.  I knew that something could not be my running schedule or my yoga classes, so this blog became what I let go.  And such a reminder to let something go, that not everything had to be attended to, was sweet indeed.  However, I have missed writing about food here, even if my readership is small (but mighty! just like my stature), and I have missed sitting down to think about the role food plays in my life in specific but all of our lives in general.


These past two months I have been focusing on my dad, who has been sick, and thinking a lot about my family, as strange as that fabulous little grouping of people may be.  I flew back to the heartland to spend a couple of days with Dad as he was recovering from surgery, and I am happy that next week he is flying out here for a much-needed vacation and chance to recuperate.  This spring has been a lot about gathering people together to celebrate, support, and in some instances, send them back to their own families.  One such instance was the end of the year potluck for school. There, surrounded by the good food made by my incredibly talented (both intellectually and culinarily) colleagues, we rounded out the year and set forth on our summers.   One of my dear friends is heading to Guam soon, where she will be reunited with her partner.  While I will miss this dear friend, I am terribly excited for her to be back with her own family.  Such reconnections are where my own sentimental heart has been lately.


So in preparation for the little soiree I pulled out yet another cookbook that is making its debut on this blog, David Lebovitz's Ready for Dessert. This cookbook is an update of two of Lebovitz' previous books, Room for Dessert and Ripe for Dessert, and boy is it beautiful.  Not surprisingly, I am a fan of Lebovitz, who counts one of his culinary inspirations as Lindsey Shere, the founding pastry chef at Chez Panisse.  Himself a pastry chef at that delightful little Berkeley bastion, Lebovitz departed for Paris and now has his own entertaining and simply lovely  blog, here.  Page 210 in the cookbook features Polvorones, or Mexican Wedding Cookies, and that seemed like a perfectly reasonable dessert to bring to a goodbye party.



These cookies are Mexico's answer to the shortbread question.  And what a sweet answer it is.  I love the imperfection of this cookie, the lumps, the nooks, the crannies, all of which invite more powdered sugar in the end.  These are sweet, nutty, and oh so buttery, and thankfully, at the end of the party, I sent a good half dozen home with a friend, thus leaving myself with only two left to take home myself. Those, I ate with a cup of tea.  And that was a perfect way to begin summer and to look forward to seeing my dad in a few short days.


And a wonderful way to return to the blog.

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Polvorones (Mexican Wedding Cookies)
Adapted from  Ready for Dessert

Yield:
Makes 50 1-inch cookies

Ingredients:  
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon water
1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
Powdered sugar

Instructions:
1.   Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Using a hand mixer (or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment) beat together the butter, granulated sugar and vanilla until smooth.  Add half the flour and the salt. Beat until mixed. Then add the water.

3.  Mix (by hand) the remaining flour and the chopped pecans.

4.  Using your hands, shape dough into 1-inch balls.  Place the balls about 1 inch apart on the baking sheet.

5.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Let cool.

6.  Roll the cooled cookies in the powdered sugar in a bowl until the cookies are covered with sugar.

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