Filipino Polvoron

Growing up in the Phillipines in the ’80’s and then later in Hong Kong in the 90’s, a Filipino shortbread-style cookie/candy called polvoron was my favorite treat. Usually found in circle or scalloped shapes and wrapped in yellow cellophane paper, these treats are crumbly, nutty and just-sweet-enough.

I’d love to eventually add a real polovoron mold to my kitchen equipment repertoire, but in the meantime ice cube trays worked just fine. I started playing around with the original style polvoron and went on to make a cocoa version. Then to really play with the east meets west thing, I subbed in lemon cake mix for the flour in the recipe and made a lemon birthday cake version, too.

Filipino Polvoron

[adapted from Kiss the Foodie]

Yield : 42 ice-cube sized cookies Prep Time : 30 minutes Chill Time : 1 hour


3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

3 cups full fat powdered milk [I found the Nido brand in my local Walmart in the Hispanic food section after looking at two neighborhood Kroger stores. Full fat is crucial, as the non-fat versions are not as creamy]

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter


1. Toast flour over medium heat in a large skillet. Make sure to stir fairly continuously to avoid burning the flour. [helpful pictures of what your flour should look like when it’s done :]

2. Transfer flour to a large mixing bowl and let it cool to room temperature.

3. Meanwhile, melt the butter [saucepan or microwave, whichever is your preferred method]. Let it cool for a couple minutes.

4. Add powdered milk and sugar to cooled, toasted flour and stir until evenly mixed.

5. Pour butter into flour mixture and mix well. At this point I pushed all utensils to the side and used my [clean] hands to mix everything together. You want to end up with a very lightly wet sand-like texture. When you squeeze a handful of the flour mixture in your hand, it will hold it’s shape but will also crumble with a poke from a finger or fork.

6. Scoop mixture into your molds [polvoron mold, ice cube tray, silicon candy or brownie bite tray, etc.]. Flatten with spoon, fingers, etc. [I used my fingers]

7. If you are using a polvoron mold, you’ll release each cookie at this point, onto a tray or in an airtight container before storing in the refrigerator. If you are using ice cube or brownie bite trays, chill for 1 hour  before releasing from the molds then storing in the refrigerator.

Cocoa Version

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

3 cups full fat powdered milk

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar

8 TBSP cocoa powder

pinch of salt

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter


*same as above, just add cocoa powder and salt with powdered milk and sugar in step 4.

**I browned the butter to impart a nuttier flavor in this version. I find this post most helpful if you’re browning butter for the first time!

Lemon Birthday Cake Version

2 boxes lemon cake mix

3 cup powdered milk

1 1/2 sticks melted butter

1/2 cup rainbow sprinkles


*same as above, just toast lemon cake mix in place of flour, and add rainbow sprinkles with powdered milk and sugar in step 4.

  1. Imelda said:

    oh thank you so much for the quick reply! what you did above were awesome though. i bet it tasted yummy (tweaked/hybrid polvoron-hehe). will try your suggestion of the little test soon. happy holidays!

  2. Imelda said:

    a couple questions were answered above by ms. amy’s question. i have had walker’s-it’s my fave non-homemade cookies but i was wondering also about the lemon flavor polvoron: how do i know the lemon flour is toasted when there are added ingredients as a box-ed cake mix? i will be trying strawberry cake mix too. anyways, hope for your reply. big thanx!

    • Imelda – Great question! I would one of two things. If you’re very nervous about burning the flour, put just a few tablespoons into a skillet. Watch, stir and time it while it’s heated so you know at about what time it starts to burn. Then make sure you keep that in mind when you continue with the entire recipe. OR just be cautious, go on with the entire recipe and watch closely as you stir the cake mix in the skillet. The toasted flavor isn’t as important with the lemon version because of the distinct sweet lemon flavor, but it’s a nice step that makes the treat a little bit nuttier. I wish you the best of luck! If you have any more questions, please email me [alexandra @ sweetbetweens . com] or comment here again! PS – Strawberry polvoron sounds delicious!

  3. I’m so intrigued by these! What would you liken the texture to, for someone who’s never had the real deal? In the pics, they almost look like they’d have a meringue-like texture? I guess I’ll just have to make a batch + find out. =) The lemon version is especially intriguing to me.

    • Have you ever had Walker’s shortbread or any other shortbread based cookie? I would compare the texture to those – but they’re less buttery + a bit more crumbly. Not too sweet, and a bit nutty/toasted tasting. I’ll let you know when I make another batch and will bring you some to try before you commit to making a whole batch yourself!

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