Polvorones (Spanish Powdered Biscuits)

Can be made Gluten Free, Vegan Friendly or Vegetarian

3 Jan · Written by Raquel Jones


"Polvo" in Spanish, quite fittingly, translates to "dust" or "powder." And when it comes to Polvorones, the name says it all – these delicate treats seem to dissolve into dust as soon as they touch your tongue. They're akin to shortbread or lardy cakes, and in this particular recipe, they're kissed with the warm embrace of cinnamon.

But the story of Spanish sweets is more than just the flavors; it's a fascinating journey through history. Across Spain, you'll find convents where nuns create and sell exquisite sweets. Some of these religious orders live in cloistered seclusion, invisible to visitors. Here, the purchase of sweets occurs through a revolving wooden door, often with a bell to announce your arrival. Behind that door, the sweet voices of the nuns take your order.

The Moors originally introduced the art of confectionery to Spain. Surprisingly, even wine played a role in the history of these convent delicacies.

Whipped egg whites were once used to clarify sherry and red wine, and the leftover egg yolks were given as alms to the convents by wine producers. The resourceful nuns transformed these yolks into delightful sweets, which they graciously gifted to generous patrons. Over time, as such patrons became scarce, the nuns turned to selling their sweets to sustain themselves.

Remarkably, many of these sweet recipes have remained unchanged since the Middle Ages. So, while you might not be able to travel to Spain right now, here's a delightful Polvorones recipe that can transport your taste buds and perhaps even your spirit to the enchanting world of Spanish convent sweets. Enjoy, and savor the history in each crumb.

Bon Profit! Raquel x

Polvorones (Spanish Almond Biscuits)

Makes: 30-40 biscuits depending on how large you cut them or what shape!


  • 4.5 cups of flour (substitute GF Flour, Donna Hay's 'Cup for Cup GF flour' works well)
  • 3/4 cup lard or copha (which would also make this recipe vegan/vegetarian), diced into small cubes
  • 1 and 3/4 cups icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon* (or see Recipe Variations below)
  • the grated rind from an unwaxed lemon* (see Tips, Cheats & Troubleshooting below)
  • the juice from the same lemon
  • extra flour for dusting your work surface
  • extra icing sugar for dusting the biscuits


  1. Heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Sift flour onto a baking tray and lightly brown in the oven for around 10-15 mins, tossing every 5 mins to ensure even baking.
  3. Remove tray from oven and set aside to allow flour to fully cool.
  4. Once cool, pile up the cooked flour into a mound on your work surface and make a well in the centre.
  5. Place all other ingredients in the centre of the well and knead quickly with your hands until a smooth dough forms.
  6. Roll dough into a ball, cover with glad wrap and place in the fridge for an hour.
  7. Heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius
  8. Take out the chilled ball and roll it out on a floured work surface to the thickness of your finger (approx. 1 and 1/2 cm)
  9. Using a round cookie cutter or small glass (4-5 cm across), cut out rounds from the dough.
  10. Line an oven tray with baking paper and gently place cut rounds onto tray.
  11. Bake cookies for 20-25 mins until golden brown.
  12. Remove from oven and leave to cool completely on tray before handling.
  13. Sift some icing sugar over the top before serving.


These biscuits are quite delicate, so if gifting them, I like to wrap in muslin squares before using cellophane or pretty paper.

Unwaxed lemons you ask?

If you're unable to find unwaxed lemons, run your lemon under hot water to melt the wax and scrub gently with a food brush. Do not use any detergent.


Here are a few alternatives you could try:

  • Replace the almonds with hazelnuts or cashews.
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of vanilla to the dough.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of orange or lime zest instead of lemon to change up the citrus flavours.
  • Omit lemon rind and juice altogether and substitute cinnamon for 3 tbsp of cacao powder. If mixture is a bit dry to work with, add 2-3 tbsp room temperature water to mix whilst kneading.
  • Add a few drops of natural food dye to make different coloured dough. Pink for heart shaped cookies (Valentine's Day). Orange for pumpkin-shaped cookies (Halloween). Green and yellow for Christmas trees and stars!


Enjoy your Polvorones alongside a lovely glass of Sherry or enjoy them with some Baileys over ice (so good!).

I gift them to people at Christmas time with a note explaining the history of the biscuits for an extra special touch along with a bottle of PX (Pedro Ximenez).