Pan de Polvo literally translated means “powder bread” or “dust bread.”
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There’s no egg in the recipe, making them super soft, very delicate, and melt-in-your mouth delicious.
This dessert hails from the Northern States, including my family’s home state of Durango, Mexico.
I prefer to make these Mexican shortbread cookies small so you don’t feel guilty eating half a dozen.
They make a great holiday gift and perfect for a Christmas cookie exchange.
Table of Contents
- 1 Ingredients
- 2 Instructions
- 3 Baking factors to consider:
- 4 Why is the dough not coming together?
- 5 Chilling Dough
- 6 Storing:
- 7 To Freeze:
- 8 More Cookie Recipes:
- 9 Pan de Polvo
For the Dough:
For the Spice Tea:
Swap out the lard for butter, or use shortening to make them vegan.
We are making spice tea to infuse the cookies.
These cookies are also referred to as hojarascas or galletas de boda (wedding cookies) since they are often served at weddings and other special occasions.
- To a small stockpot, add water, cinnamon stick, cloves, and star anise.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 3 minutes.
- Allow the cinnamon tea to cool completely.
Baking factors to consider:
Altitude and humidity contribute to how much of the cinnamon spice tea to add to the dough. You might need more or less.
For that reason, we are making more of the tea just in case. Discard any remaining.
- In a large mixing bowl, place flour, cornstarch, lard, sugar, and salt.
- Mix together until crumbly.
- Add ½ cup of the cinnamon tea and vanilla.
- Knead until everything is combined and a dough forms.
Why is the dough not coming together?
Pour in more of the spice tea. Little by little. Only add enough to bring the dough together, or the cookies will be tough.
Transfer the dough to a floured surface and form a ball. Wrap it in plastic wrap, and place it in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
It is CRUCIAL to chill the dough so the cookies can develop the flavors and won’t spread as much when baked.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Lightly flour a working surface. Roll the dough ball into a sheet about ¼ inch thick.
- Cut the dough with a 1.5″ (or 4cm) round cookie cutter and then transfer the raw cookies to the prepared baking trays.
Line the cookie sheets with wax paper, parchment paper, or grease with butter first.
Personally, I prefer wax paper to butter.
Traditionally, these cookies are made with a circle cookie cutter, but you can use different shapes – stars, hearts, squares, etc.
- Bake between 18 and 20 minutes, or until the cookies are slightly golden.
Check the cookies at the 18 minute mark. They should be golden brown.
If they need more time, let them bake until the 20 minute mark.
Remove the cookies from the oven and set on the counter.
- Carefully, remove the cookies and coat them on all sides with the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
- Allow the cookies to cool completely on a wire rack.
Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar mixture while they are still warm.
To make the cinnamon sugar mixture really stick, brush the cookies with melted butter and then sprinkle with sugar.
Place any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Cool the cookies completely then wrap them in plastic wrap and place them in a sealable freezer bag. Remove as much air as possible. Freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw and enjoy.
More Cookie Recipes:
- Galletas de Avena (Oatmeal Cookies)
- Mexican Spiced Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Chocolate Argentinian Alfajores
- Mexican Wedding Cookies
Pan de Polvo are soft, crumbly, cinnamon cookies that go perfectly with a cup of cafe de olla.
Be sure to make a big batch. They’ll be gone before you know it.
Hungry for More
Pan de Polvo
For the Dough:
- Add water, cinnamon stick, cloves, and star anise to a small stockpot.
- Bring to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes.
- Allow the spice tea to cool completely before using.
- Place the flour, cornstarch, lard, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
- Mix together until crumbly.
- Add ½ cup of the spice tea and the vanilla.
- Knead until a small dough forms.
- If it's not coming together, add more of the tea, as needed.
- Sprinkle flour to a clean surface and add the dough.
- Wrap with plastic wrap, and place the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with wax paper.
- Flour a working surface and roll out the dough to about ¼ inch thick.
- Cut the dough with a 1.5" (or 4cm) rounded cookie cutter.
- Transfer each cookie to the prepared baking sheets.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until cookies are golden brown.
- Check at the 18 minute mark. Depending on the weather, they might need up to 20 minutes.
- Carefully remove the cookies and coat with the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
- Repeat with all the cookies.
- Place cookies on a wire rack and allow them to cool down completely.
- Serve and enjoy!
Maggie Unzueta is the writer/blogger, photographer, recipe developer, videographer, and creator of In Mama Maggie's Kitchen. She has been developing easy and authentic Mexican food, Mexican-inspired recipes, and traveling tips since 2010. From family recipes to her extensive travels throughout Mexico, she brings traditional Mexican flavors from South of the Border and into your kitchen. Maggie has been featured in notable culinary websites and other media outlets. For more details, check out her About page.