Sunday, July 15, 2012

Almond Snowdrops: Many Names, Same Great Taste

Almond snowdrops piled elegantly on a serving plate

A delicate cookie popular in many parts of the world, believed to have originated in Al Andalus, or Moorish Spain. The Moors were fond of butter, honey and nuts creating buttery cookies based on these rich ingredients.
The Moors left Spain, but the tradition of these cookies survived in Sevilla, and from this city, the recipe traveled to many parts of Europe before landing in the New World.

These cookies are known by different names such as butterballs, melting moments, sand tarts, Russian tea cakes, whereas in Spain they are known as polvorones. But they are also widely known as Mexican wedding cakes. During Hispanic weddings, these rich and sweet cookies are usually served to guests. The Mexican label is probably due to the colorful paper wrapping in which the cookies are put in.

A while back, while surfing the web, on the hunt for new ideas and recipes, I came across one of the recipes of these cookies with the evocative name of Almond Snowdrops. The name itself made me want to try it, let alone the pictures of these beautiful cookies.  The first time I tried them, they turned out to be great. 

For my second attempt on making the recipe, I decided I wanted to try two versions, the plain ones and chocolate ones.

For the basic almond snowdrops you will need:
  • 115 g of butter at room room temperature
  • 1/4 cup confectioners sugar (add extra for coating the cookies)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 35 grams of freshly toasted almonds, coarsely chopped (other recipes require ground almond, but I prefer some the texture that coarse chopping provides)
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract                                                                                                                                
Now follow these simple steps to make these delicious cookies: 

With an electric mixer, beat the butter untill soft and creamy. Slowly add the sugar and salt and beat until the mix is fluffy. Incorporate  the vanilla.

While mixing the dough I thought of boosting its flavor by adding a quarter teaspon of orange zest. You got to love just how fragrant and refreshing orange zest is.

Gradually start adding the flour and mix until well combined. Finally combine the roasted almonds.
Coarsely chopped roasted almonds add flavor and texture

Start shaping the dough into small balls. If the dough feels too soft leave it in the fridge for some time to firm up before you resume shaping.

Once the shaping is done, put them on a tray covered with parchement paper, leaving  at least a 2 cm space between them . Put in the fridge for about 20 minutes, or until firm.

The plain and chocolate snowdrops balls shaped and ready to be baked
Bake in a preheated oven (180C) for 15 to 20 minutes, the cookies must remain white but firm to the touch.
Dust with confectioners sugar once baked, then let them cool for 5 minutes.

Baked cookies waiting to be fully dusted with sugar

Fill a plastic bag with sugar, place few cookies in the bag and shake until coated. Once coated they will have the characteristic snowdrop-like shape which makes them such a feast to the eyes. 
An inviting pile of plain and chocolate almond snowdrops

For the chocolate almond snowdrops variety you need:
  • 85 g of butter at room temperature
  • 2 tbp of confectioners sugar
  • 60 g flour (you might need a bit more)
  • 25 g high quality cocoa powder
  • 30 g of roasted and coarsly chopped almonds.
  • 1/4 spoon of cinnamon (optional, but recommended)

Combine the cocoa powder with the flour and then follow the same steps as with the plain almond snowdrops.
If you see that the dough is difficult to manage, sticky and cannot be rolled, gradually add a bit of flour until the desired consistency is reached.

This dessert goes really well with champagne

Enjoy with coffee, tea or even champagne!!

Make several batches as they will fly quickly and those that remain will taste better with time!


  1. I have not read it but just the pic is enough. k pintasssssssssssssss.

    1. Let me know when you read it then! Will save you some when I do another batch! :)

  2. wonderful & very easy to follow

    1. Thank you! Indeed very easy to do and very delicious too :)

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  4. I have always wanted to try making these sweet little cookies. You've just inspired me! They look lovely! : )

    1. Thank you so much, hope you try the recipe soon! :)