In order to have friendship you must look past the color to the soul, because within the soul lies a rainbow of many colors~ Lyman Frank Baum
About a month back, I introduced you to the joys of Polvoron, a crumbly shortbread widely enjoyed in Spain, Mexico, Argentina, and the Philippines. It's crafted with milk powder, butter, flour and sugar, and delicious when eaten with coffee, tea, or alone as a snack. On my last post about these delectable little sweets, I added three different ingredients as flavorings - matcha (green tea), chocolate and red dragonfruit.
This time round, I wanted to experiment a bit more with other flavors and came up with these winning 4 (or 5): blackberry, raspberry, black sesame and a combination of coconut and lavender. I'm not ashamed to make this confession - I prefer making polvorons to macarons. Like good guys vs. bad guys, the former's more reliable, no eggs need to be aged, no ovens need to be turned on, you can make them whether rain or shine and best of all, no tearing-out-hair sessions need occur when the feet don't form. Polvorons, in fact, don't have feet and always turn out the way you envisage them to be!
As I also mentioned previously, polvoron molds (with the plunger) are hard to come by where I live. If I hadn't been scouring our speciality baking supplies shop looking for other things, I would never have found my tiny, round mold. Then a few days ago, I was in a regular grocery store looking for well, groceries when I came across a wall of cookie cutters that I had not seen before. They were not metal but reasonable-priced plastic cookie-cutters, but by golly, several had plungers attached to them! My mental lightbulb came on and flashed up "P-O-L-V-O-R-O-N" in some sort of psychological morse code.
Clockwise from top left: Blackberry butter, dessicated coconut and dried lavender,
black sesame powder, raspberry butter
See, plastic cookie-cutter... attached to a very useful plunger!
And so my polvoron adventure continues. I was quite happy with the flavors and equally ecstatic that the makeshift polvoron molds worked really well. Can you see how lovely the shortbread flowers came out below? If you were to eat them immediately after they were released from the mold, the polvoron would be fragile and very crumbly. To firm them up a bit, I de-molded them straight onto a plate or tray and placed them in the fridge for about 10 minutes. After that, they can be handled easily without cracking or crumbling back into powder in your hands.
Top: Raspberry polvorons Bottom: Blackberry polvorons
Top:Coconut-lavender polvorons Bottom: Black sesame polvorons
The trick is to mix a batch of the dried ingredients (flour, milk powder and sugar) first in a big bowl, then divide them up into smaller portions for the addition of the individual flavors. Ideally, the flavoring should be in powder form but I'm not really a fan of processed food (well, except for the flour, milk, butter and sugar!), so for the fruity flavors, I simply used fresh raspberries and blackberries. I only needed a few pieces of each and blended them together with the melted butter required to bind the shortbread together.
If you are keen to try out my polvoron recipe, you needn't fret about having to hunt down special polvoron molds because I have two extra ones to give away. A lucky winner will receive both the flower cookie cutters that I've used here, and yes, it's open to everyone! I want you to also have your own polvoron adventures ;-). Oh, and share them with us, of course.
1. Leave a comment on this post. Whatever it is, you'll be automatically entered for the draw.
2. If you're not already, follow Foodiva's Kitchen and let me know in the comment that you've done so.
3. Follow me on Twitter @Divababu.
4. Follow me on Pinterest @Divababu.
Split your comments if you're doing more than one of the above as they count as extra chances in the draw. This giveaway period will carry on until midnight 15th June 2011, after which I shall announce the winner.
I entered my previous polvoron post in the Your Best Recipe (May) event hosted by Nancy of Spicie Foodie. If you haven't already checked out all the brilliant entries, click here and prepare to be gobsmacked!
Update: This post is also linked to Torviewtoronto's Purple Food Series Palette event below. Thanks for hosting, Akheela!
Plain Basic Recipe (approx. 1kg)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup powdered milk (I used Anlene low fat, ultra-high calcium)
1 cup caster sugar
1 cup melted butter, cooled thoroughly
1. Sieve the flour into a thick-bottomed, non stick pan and toast on medium heat, stirring constantly, until flour turns light brown (10-15 minutes). Transfer the roasted flour in a bowl right away to prevent further cooking.
2. Add powdered milk and sugar into the mixing bowl, stir to mix. (Add flavoring at this point, if you are using). Then add the melted butter, mix with a spoon and press the flour to ensure there are no lumps.
3. Take the polvoron mold, fill it with the polvoron mixture by pressing down on the flour until it is fully filled. Press down hard to compact the mixture before releasing it from the mold. Add more butter if the mixture in not cohesive enough. Place on a tray and leave in the fridge for 15 minutes to firm up.
4. Carefully wrap a polvoron in cellophane or colored Japanese paper. Store in an airtight container.
5. If you want to try the different flavorings, divide the polvoron mixture above into 4 portions (approximately 150g dry mixture each, before the addition of butter).
To each of the other portions:
Blackberry polvoron - Blend 5-6 blackberries with 1/4 cup cooled melted butter, then add to the dry ingredients and mix.
Black sesame polvoron - Add 3 tablespoons of black sesame powder to the dry ingredients before adding 1/4 cup cooled, melted butter. Mix until well incorporated.
Coconut-lavender polvoron - Grind 2 tablespoons dessicated coconut with 1/2 teaspoon dried lavender until it becomes a fine powder. Add this to the other dry ingredients, then mix in 1/4 cup cooled, melted butter.
Raspberry polvoron - Blend 7-8 raspberries with 1/4 cup cooled melted butter, then add to the dry ingredients and mix.