Originally published November 2015. Updated December 23, 2018 by Analida
Polvorones de limón are a Latin take on an old British favorite: shortbread cookies. Buttery and delicious with a hint of lime and dusted with powdered sugar. These are very easy to make and freeze well too.
Not your standard Christmas cookie
As the holiday season draws near, I am sure you might be wracking your brain for different and delicious desserts. I know I always am. I am especially fond of new cookies to add to my tray, at home and at work.
In my younger years I lived in England where I acquired a taste for shortbread. I couldn’t get enough. I still can’t. Fast forward a bunch of years (no, I am not saying how many) and I still love shortbread. It goes well with coffee, tea, or a tall glass of milk. I am now drooling.
Dusty cookies, what?
These shortbread cookies are accented with a hint of lime. The pinched top is a nice decorative touch. By the way, other citrus will work well too: orange or lemon come to mind.
Now in Spain and Latin America these cookies are called polvorones because they are dusted with sugar. The literal translation of polvorones is “dusted ones”. As far as cookies go, these citrus shortbread cookies are pretty easy, not a lot of steps.
Where does the name come from?
So where does shortbread come from, and why is it called shortbread? Well, according to my research, shortbread is a descendant of a medieval baked good called “biscuit bread.” Leftover dough was left to harden and dry out; it would then be cooked again.
The term “biscuit” literally means cooked twice. In medieval times shortbread was only eaten at special times, e.g. New Year’s. The round shape of the shortbread was associated with the sun, which during the new year was scarce especially in the northern hemisphere.
So, why “shortbread”? Well, the amount of butter used makes the biscuit crumbly. The term short when it is applied to crusts, and biscuits means crumbly; hence the name shortbread.
There are three ways to prepare traditional shortbread: a large circle divided into triangles referred to as “petticoat tails”, rectangles which are called “fingers”, and circles which are called “shortbread rounds”.
Here are the steps to make polvorones de limón and you only need 5 ingredients.
Step 1: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Gather the ingredients, butter at room temp, powdered sugar, minced lime zest and a pinch of salt. Cream the butter and sugar.
Step 2: Slowly add the flour.
Step 3: Add the pinch of salt and minced lime zest.
Step 4: Roll the dough on a well floured surface and form a rectangle that is about 1/2 inch thick. The dough is very crumbly but just work in slowly and form it with your hands and then cut into 3 equal width strips.
Step 5: Gently form each strip onto a round log.
Step 6: Cut 3/4 inch pieces and form them into a flat round or square disk and place them on a baking tray with parchment paper. You can place them close since they do not spread while baking.
Step 7: Bake 15 minutes or until they turn golden brown on the edges.
Step 8: After they have cooled sprinkle with powdered sugar.
If you are interested in more traditional ethnic type desserts here are a couple more to check out below. You can bookmark them and try them later or pin them on Pinterest. Enjoy!
Try this classic Spanish style custard: coconut flan has a lovely flavor of coconut and cinnamon.
Pistachio rosewater cookies are a Middle Eastern style shortbread cookie with just a hint of rosewater.
Tusenbladstarta is a Swedish dessert that is like baking 6 big cookies and layering with custard cream.
Tarte Normande is a rustic apple tart with custard from the Normandy region of France.
Polvorones de Limón: Citrus shortbread cookies
A Latin American favorite. These citrus flavored shortbread cookies are a great snack, or dessert for any occasion.
- 1 1/4 cup flour
- 3/4 cup confectioner sugar , plus extra for dusting
- 1/4 lb butter softened
- 1 tsp lime zest finely minced
- 1 pinch Kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 350'F.
- Grease a cookie sheet, or line with parchment paper.
- Cream sugar and butter. Slowly add in the flour. Add the lime zest, and the salt.
- On a well floured surface roll in to a rectangle and cut into three strips of equal length..
Roll each strip into a tube. The dough will be quite crumbly, just shape it gently.
Cut 3/4" pieces from each tube, and roll each piece into a ball.
Pinch the top of the ball to create a raised surface.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until they begin to turn golden,
- Remove from the oven. Cool slightly and then sprinkle with sugar.