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    Jan 2006

    Default Wedding Ideas : Mexican Wedding Cookies

    Arizona Daily Star

    Mexican wedding cookies, polvorones, are also holiday or party cookies that can easily adapt to different flavors.

    Carlotta Flores has a delicious way of saying, "I love you."

    She bakes polvorones (pronounced: pole-vo-RO-nees), Mexican wedding cookies.

    "It's such a quick way of loving," the chef and co-owner of El Charro restaurant says of the cookie.

    "It says, 'It's special when I'm with you, that we're going to talk and have a good time' ... it's a time of coming together."

    Her recipe, she says, is very close to the one her grandmother used, though her grandmother's cookies were called "almond cookies."

    But her grandmother's recipe didn't call for a roll in powdered sugar. Or for chocolate. Or for the cinnamon that Flores sometimes adds to the sugar.

    That's the thing about the wedding-cookie recipe, she says - a cook has no problem putting a signature on the treat.

    "As long as it tastes good, have fun," she says.

    The cookies are often used as token gifts at weddings. Though earlier recipes call for a flat cookie, Flores speculates that the round shape was created to make them easy to wrap in festive paper and hand out as guests left.

    But, she adds, the cookies are not just for weddings.

    They are holiday cookies. Party cookies. Cookies to eat with coffee in the morning.

    "And sometimes you just want to sit down with cookies and milk - forget the dinner," she says.

    "They are buttery, and there are different tastes you can pick up - the butter and almond and vanilla," she says.

    And another thing: They are easy for children to make. "It's OK if they aren't perfectly round," she says.

    As easy as they are to make, Flores has some tips:

    Let the dough sit. "I like to make the dough the day before," she says. "For me, it works a little better."

    Give yourself time. "When you make things in a hurry, it tastes it."

    Don't handle the dough too much. "The cookies can get over-mushed-up."

    Eat them the day you make them. "These don't hold up well in the refrigerator," says Flores. "The powdered sugar gets wet, and the nuts get soggy. I think eating them the same day is kind of important."

    Feed them to the people you care about. "Everyone will feel a tinge of something that makes them know how much you love them and want to include them in your circle."

    Mexican wedding cookies

    1 cup soft margarine or butter
    1/2 cup plus 3/4 cup powdered sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2 cups all-purpose flour
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 cup finely chopped, or coarsely ground, almonds

    Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, beat together the margarine or butter, 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Combine the flour, salt, and chopped almonds. Gradually, but quickly, add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and mix on low speed
    just until partially blended. Turn the dough onto a board and knead by hand with a light touch until well-blended. The less handling the better. Form into 1-inch balls. Place the balls on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until set, but not brown. Cool slightly and then roll each
    ball in remaining 3/4 cup powdered sugar. Cool completely and roll cookies a second time in the powdered sugar.

    Yield: 24 cookies.

    Source: "El Charro Cafe Cookbook"

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