If you have visited a Mexican panaderia (bakery) you might have seen tri-color Mexican cookies, called polvorones. Traditional polvorones are in the shape of a triangle, featuring pink, yellow, and dark chocolate colors. They are tender and lightly crunchy.
This dough is so versatile. With the same dough, you can make a variety of shapes and colors, then cover it with your choice of toppings. Sometimes they are served with a dollop of jam or jelly in the center, similar to thumbprint cookies.
See what traditional polvorones look like in this blog post: Mexican Sweet Breads (Pan Dulce).
Traditionally, they are triangular and about 4-inches in length. However, here I decided to make miniature square and round polvorones.
These tri-color Mexican cookies are perfect for Christmas gift giving or to enjoy all to yourself with a cup of coffee.
What are Polvorones?
Polvorón is Spanish for powder or dust. These cookies are dusted with granulated sugar after baking (while still warm), but feel free to experiment and brush the cookies with an egg wash and then bake them with colorful sprinkles. You could also dust them with powdered sugar once they are fully baked and have cooled.
What do Polvorones taste like?
These cookies taste very similar to shortbread or sugar cookies. They remind me of biscochos with the dusting of sugar on top – just one bite makes me nostalgic for home!
How to store Polvorones?
Similar to shortbread cookies, these cookies can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for two weeks or frozen for up to two months.
Eggs are a major source of moisture in cookie dough, so using high-quality eggs is very important. For all of my cookie recipes this holiday, I’m using Nellie’s Free Range Eggs. Their quality eggs come from family-run farms that are Certified Humane, so you know the hens are given plenty of room to forage as they would naturally in the wild.
Visit the store locator to find free range eggs in a store near you!
Using wheat flour in this recipe creates denser, heavier cookies that hold their shape during baking and gives these cookies a nuttier, heartier flavor.
Using a combination of butter and shortening ensures the cookies do not flatten and maintain their shape when baked. It also results in softer and more tender cookies.
Cookies made with shortening rise better while maintaining their tenderness, but with the addition of butter, they become more flavorful, delicious and rich.
Polvorones (Tri-Color Mexican Cookies)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup butter flavored shortening
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 large Nellie’s Free Range Egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups wheat flour, sifted
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
Pink or red food coloring
Yellow food coloring
Granulated sugar for dusting
- In a stand mixer, cream the butter, shortening, and powdered sugar together until smooth.
- While mixer is set on low, add in the egg, vanilla and baking powder.
- Turn the stand mixer off. Gradually, add in wheat flour and turn mixer on to combine ingredients after each round of additional wheat flour.
- Remove mixture from your bowl. Gently knead the dough with your hands on a work surface lightly dusted with flour.
- Divide the dough into three equal parts and place in separate glass bowls. Add pink or red food coloring into one portion of dough and knead until desired color. Add yellow food coloring to the second bowl and knead until desired color. Add cocoa powder to the last dough ball and knead until thoroughly combined.
- Cover the containers of dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll each color into a cylinder with a diameter of about 2-inches and 16 to 18-inches long (for mini cookies). Place the three colors side by side on a large sheet of plastic wrap. Cover tightly with plastic and roll gently to fuse the three colors together. I shaped the cookie dough roll into a square, but feel free to adjust for round cookies, or place two rolls of cookie dough on the bottom and one on the top to form a triangle.
- Freeze for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Take the dough out of the freezer, remove the plastic wrap, and over a clean surface, cut the cylinder of dough into 1/4-inch thick pieces.
- Place cookies onto a lightly greased baking sheet.
- Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until bottoms are lightly golden.
- Dust with granulated sugar while warm.
Photography by Jenna Sparks
This post is in partnership with Nellie’s Free Range Eggs. As always, thank you for reading and for supporting companies I partner with, which allows me to create more unique content and recipes for you. All opinions are always my own.