Pecan Pan de Polvo is one of the few variations of this classic cookie that you see in South Texas at Christmas. As pecans are the state tree of Texas, adding pecans to pan de polvo always makes sense. Over the top deliciousness combined with incredible nostalgia makes these a very special cookie!
Pecans only, please!
Would I substitute any other type of nuts for the pecans in Pecan Pan de Polvo? Probably not. Pan de polvo is a quintessential Texas Christmas cookie. Walnuts, cashews or macadamia nuts just would be the same.
Variations on Traditional Southwestern Shortbread
However, there are other traditional variations of this shortbread cookie that is enjoyed across the Southwestern United States as well as Northern Mexico. Here is just a quick run-down of different types of shortbread cookies:
Pan de Polvo is similar to New Mexico bizchochitos but does not include anise seeds. You may have heard of hojarascas which are also similar cookies, but those use beer as a leavener (or at least my recipe does.) Polvorones is yet another regional name for this cinnamon short bread, but I have also seen those made with powdered sugar and not granulated sugar. Mexican Wedding Cookies are very similar too, but sometimes use butter instead of lard or shortening. (I adore my Lime Cooler Cookies, which are just like Mexican Wedding Cookies, but with lime flavor! Yum!)
Pecan Pan de Polvo is a Christmas Tradition
I usually make a heap of of these cookies for the holidays. They keep for quite awhile, if you can stop people from eating them! This recipe also makes a very welcome Christmas gift for neighbors or dinner part hosts. Easy to make and hard to resist, Pecan Pan de Polvo might become your newest holiday tradition!Print
Pecan Pan de Polvo
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 14 minutes
- Total Time: 24 minutes
- Yield: 64 cookies 1x
2 cups water (480ml)
1–2 sticks cinnamon
5–6 cups all-purpose flour (700g-750g)
1 ¼ cups granulated sugar (250g)
1 ½ tsp. baking powder (6g)
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon (7g)
2 ¾ cup vegetable shortening or lard (560g)
1 cup chopped pecans (115g)
1 cup granulated sugar (200g)
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon (7g)
Make the tea by combining the cinnamon with water and boiling for approximately 4 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. Remove the cinnamon sticks.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C) Combine the 5 cups of the flour with the sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and shortening or lard in a large mixing bowl. Add 3/4 cup (180ml) of the cinnamon tea. Mix well using an electric mixer, until the dough is smooth. Add the pecans and mix until smooth.
Use the extra cup of flour to hand knead into the dough if it is too sticky. The dough should have a smooth surface, but not be too firm. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to a ¼” thickness (.64cm) and cut into 2” (5cm) wide shapes. Place the cookies on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until lightly golden.
While the cookies are baking, combine the sugar and ground cinnamon for the dusting in a shallow bowl. Remove the cookies from the oven, allow to cool briefly and roll the warm cookies through the sugar topping mixture. Set aside to cool completely. Roll again in the sugar mixture, if desired. Store in an airtight container.