A Sweet Day of Love & Friendship
Valentine’s Day is nearly here. In the U.S. it’s normally a day to shower your sweetheart with gifts like flowers, chocolates or balloons. It’s also the second most popular day after Mother’s Day to go out to a restaurant. (This may be the year to discover new traditions.) While Valentine’s Day is recognized in many countries around the world, it isn’t always celebrated the same as in the U.S. In Guatemala, February 14th is Dia del Cariño or “Day of Affection.” It’s typically referred to as the day of “amor y amistad” or day of love and friendship. For Guatemalans, the day is just as much about friendship as it is about love or secret admirers. It is common to give a little something to your coworkers, your classmates and your family.
To celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, we thought it might be fun to share a recipe for a Guatemalan sweet cookie called a polvorosa. While polvorosas are in no way tied to the day of love and friendship, they are a popular cookie enjoyed with coffee. Sold in bakeries or homemade, polvorosas are a type of shortbread cookie, generously dusted with powdered sugar, tasting like a distant relative of a Mexican Wedding Cookie. Polvo means “dust” or “powder” in Spanish which clearly evokes the experience of eating this cookie covered with powdered sugar!
In Spain, polvorones are popular cookies baked at Christmas that can be traced back to the 16th century. They are similar to polvorosas but with the addition of nuts. Polvorosas are also enjoyed in Venezuela and Colombia although each country seems to have their own recipes.
With only 6 ingredients – this recipe comes together fairly easily. Whisk together the corn starch, flour and salt in a bowl.
Cream the butter and sugar with a mixer. Slowly add the flour mixture and blend. At this point, the dough will look very crumbly, nothing resembling a traditional cookie dough.
Take about 2 teaspoons and press together with your hands to form a round shape. Place on a cookie sheet and gently press down. Bake for 15 minutes until lightly brown. Generously sprinkle on powdered sugar while they are still warm. Then, enjoy and share with a friend!
If you’d like, you can also put your own spin on the cookie by adding lemon zest, cinnamon or your own favorite flavor to the dough. Or try sprinkling some cocoa powder on instead of powdered sugar. We challenged ourselves to make heart shaped polvorosas by firmly pressing the dough into a small heart shaped cookie dough. We loved the final outcome but there were many "fails" along the way.
For the printable polvorosas recipe, click here.
Feliz dia de amor y amistad!