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Top Traditional Spanish Christmas Cookies

Favorite Regional Cookies from Spain Celebrate the Season


Christmas time in Spain is an absolute gastronomic explosion! There is so much to taste, including many traditional sweets. Many time-honored desserts made with almonds, honey, anise, sugar and fruit. Below is a list of the favorite Spanish Christmas cookie recipes.

Mantecados - Spanish Crumble Cakes

Keith Williamson/Wikimedia Commons

The Spanish word for lard is manteca, so you can imagine that the traditional recipe calls for lots of it! In fact, they are so soft, they will literally melt in your mouth. Light and with a delicate anise flavor, words will not do them justice. In Spain these small, rich and crumbly cookies come wrapped in brightly colored wrappers. Mantecados are synonymous with Christmas in Spain.

Polovorones - Almond Cookies

Polvorones - Spanish Almond Cookies (c)
Lisa Sierra (c) 2007 Licensed to About.com
Polvorones are very traditional sweets that have not changed in centuries, with the exception of the use of the modern mixer. These cookies are very flakey and soft and are made with flour, shortening, powdered sugar and cinnamon. The dough is refrigerated, then rolled out, cut and baked.

For a crisper version that is not as crumbly, try this Polvorones recipe.

Rosquillas de Vino - Wine Ring Cookies

Rosquillos de Vino - Wine Ring Cookies
Lisa Sierra (c) 2008 Licensed to About.com Inc.
These little anise-flavored rings with wine are light and delicious cookies. They are eaten accompanied by a glass of anise liqueur, but they are equally delicious with a cup of hot tea or coffee for breakfast or at tea time.

Pestiños - Anise Fritters

Spanish Christmas Cookies from Andalucia (c)
Lisa Sierra (c) 2009 Licensed to About.com Inc.
Pestiños are flakey and delicate Spanish Christmas cookies from Andalucía, in southern Spain. They are very easy to make and the ingredients are probably already in your pantry – simply flour, anise seeds or flavoring, white wine and oil. Roll, cut and fry. Once fried, dip them in warm honey and enjoy! If you prefer, use this Pestinos Step-by-Step Recipe with photos.

Truchas de Navidad - Sweet Potato Turnovers

Truchas de Navidad - Sweet Potato Turnovers (c)
Lisa Sierra (c) 2008 Licensed to About.com
The Canary Islands are located off the western coast northern Africa, and become a true culinary crossroads. Historically, the islands were the first stop on Spanish soil as ships returned from the Americas, and thus they began growing and incorporating foods from the Americas into their diet, such as potatoes, beans, and tomatoes. The traditional Christmas treat called "truchas" are turnovers filled with sweet potato and ground almonds, which are delightful and not difficult to make.

Alfajores de Medina Sidonia Recipe

Alfajores de Medina-Sidonia
(c) 2012 Lisa Sierra Licensed to About.com Inc.
These little cylinders are covered in syrup and powdered sugar. These alfajores are from southern Spain, and are made from ground almonds and hazelnuts, anise and sesame seeds, cinnamon and clove held together with warm honey.
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