This recipe makes 60 large size polvoron disks with a diameter of 2 ¼ inches and a width of 1/2 inch. It is my mother's polvoron mold made of stainless steel. I also have the smaller size-half of the large one made of brass. I considered them both as antique hence I am thinking of buying the newer molds soon as I want to keep the 2 old ones.
If you do not have a polvoron mold or any kind of gadget that can be a substitute receptacle, use your hands and form them into truffle-size balls-pressing well. I don't know how much you will make out of this procedure as it depends how big you decide your polvoron balls would be.
The butter in the mixture will help make it bind together. Molded or not (as balls) it should be refrigerated immediately to harden and keep its shape.
Originally, Polvoron is a Spanish cookie made of the same ingredients as the Filipino version but usually their base fat is LARD-that's why they also call it 'mantecado' (from the word 'manteca' meaning oil or fat). In any Spanish polvoron/mantecado recipe, almond meal is always thrown in the mixture and some local spices like cinnamon. The 'polvo' (dust, powder) word in this cookies also mean the powdered sugar sprinkled on it.
The Spanish version's flour is baked in the oven to 'toast' (brown); the Filipino version way of toasting the flour is on the stove, in a large wok or pan-stirred constantly to prevent from burning. But the Spanish polvoron is thrown in the oven again to bake like a typical cookie-the Filipino polvoron never goes in the oven-at all.
Other than being baked and using lard, there's really not much of a difference other than the Filipino trademark version has full fat "powdered milk" in it. It is a poor Filipino man's interpretation of the Spanish/European shortbread cookies. When Spain introduced Polvoron in the Philippines in 16th century, most Filipinos didn't have makeshift ovens. So our ancestors improvised and thought not baking it should be enough to taste so good!
Makes 60 large size Polvoron disks.
6 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 lb of butter
2 2/3 cups sugar
1 ½ t salt
2 cups full-fat powdered milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (you can use any extract flavoring you want)
In a medium sauce pan, on low heat, melt the butter. While butter is melting, toast the flour.
Using a large wok or saute pan (with 4" sides), carefully throw in the flour and toast on medium-high heat. To toast flour is to stir it constantly over heat to prevent from burning. 15 minutes or more.
It is toasted when:
it smells like a baked pastry crust,
it got a bit 'murkier' in color other than white (light beige).
It should 'feel' like talc/talcum powder.
Remove from heat but continue to stir and mix for 3 minutes then set aside. Cool for 20 minutes.
In a large bowl, mix together the sugar and powdered milk.
Remove melted butter from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
Add the powdered milk-sugar mixture to the toasted flour; mix and stir well.
Make a well in the middle of the dry mixture and carefully pour the butter-vanilla mixture in it.
First use a wooden spatula or spoon to 'shovel' the dry mixture toward the butter-vanilla mixture, making sure you are 'covering' the liquid mixture. Then combine dry and liquid ingredients until liquid ingredients have been incorporated. Use your clean, dry hands to thoroughly mix it and prevent clumps. It should NOT feel gritty. Mold immediately when it is still warm.
Refrigerate for 1 hour before wrapping.
Ideas for wrapping:
Food-grade Japanese paper