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At my former workplace back in Singapore, there’s a tradition of bringing treats after a vacation abroad as souvenirs for our colleagues. We would leave it in the common area with a scribbled note telling folks to help themselves. Everyone enjoyed these little international treats which were unusual and provided a welcomed break from routine. Did you ever do that for your colleagues?
One treat that stood out to me was polvoron from Goldilocks Bakeshop, which were brought by my Filipino ex-colleagues after visiting their family back home. Goldilocks is a popular chain of bakeries across the Philippines (and I think it’s available in some parts of the US and Canada), and their polvorons are pretty popular. What are polvorons, exactly? The Filipino sort are a kind of unbaked cookie/ biscuit made of toasted wheat flour, sugar, powdered milk and butter. They’re yummy, but not exactly Paleo nor Autoimmune Protocol (AIP)-friendly. I figured it was something that could be AIP-fied and this is the first version that I created, which I’m pretty happy with. Since then I’ve made about 3 batches, which have been well received by my boys. My husband mentioned to me while returning to the fridge to help himself to some more: “These little cookies are dangerously addictive.”
The first time I made these polvorons and sampled them before chilling, I noted their resemblance to Chinese peanut cake (the compact, cylindrical treats that crumble in your mouth and make you cough lest you inhale while eating!). They had the same melt-in-your-mouth sensation and crumbly, delicate texture. Maybe a bit more grainy due to the coconut flour. They firmed up wonderfully once chilled and could be snapped like a sandy butter shortbread, and also had a melt-in-your-mouth experience! The texture reminded me of polvoron without the milky taste, and yet it had a strangely familiar character about it. Yes, another Asian confection. The ones traditionally packaged in a metal cylindrical container. Bingo! Macau almond cookies!
So I’m happy to present to you my Paleo AIP take on Filipino polvoron, which also do double duty as Macau almond cookies. Talk about versatile!
Where to get the ingredients:
- 119g/ 4.2oz/ 1 cup tapioca starch
- 67g/ 2.4oz/ ⅓ cup + ¼ cup coconut flour
- 53g/ 1.9oz/ ¼ cup coconut oil (+ 1g/ 0.5oz/ 1 tbsp extra, if necessary)
- 40g/ 1.4oz/ 2 tbsp & 2 tsp coconut butter/ manna
- 57g/ 2oz/ ¼ cup + 2 tbsp finely ground maple sugar
- 18g/ 6oz/ ¼ cup collagen hydrolysate
- Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat and dry-fry the tapioca starch and coconut flour together while stirring back and forth gently with a spatula from time to time for 5 - 8 minutes, or until it turns pale brown and smells lightly toasted.
- Remove from heat and transfer to a mixing bowl. Wipe the frying pan clean.
- Place the coconut oil and butter into the still-warm frying pan and allow the residual heat to melt the oil completely.
- Add the sugar and collagen hydrolysate to the flour mixture, then pour in the coconut oil and butter.
- Mix together until thoroughly combined and crumbly.
- If mixture looks more like dry sand rather than damp sand, add an additional half to one tablespoon of melted coconut oil.
- Scoop some mixture into a polvoron mould or spring-loaded cookie cutter (as these are not baked, avoid overly intricate designs with long, thin parts), compacting well before releasing from the mould onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
- Refrigerate until firm, about an hour.
- Wrap with cellophane wrapper or leave them unwrapped in an air-tight container in the fridge.
To get the sugar finely ground, use a mini food processor or immersion blender fitted with a food processor attachment