This recipe was developed at a time when I suspected that I was suffering from gluten intolerance. I did a lot of research on how to make gluten-free polvoron and decided on using almond flour. But my suspicions proved wrong. I was just having a case of indigestion because of the heat.
Still, let me share what I learned when researching. It should be useful if you’re craving polvoron but can’t tolerate gluten.
Three substitutes for wheat flour
- Coconut flour;
- Almond flour; or
- Crushed nuts
Strictly speaking, almond flour is crushed nuts pulverized to the consistency of flour. You can buy it ready to use or you can make your own by crushing almonds with the use of a food processor.
Making nut-based flour at home
The advantage of making your own almond flour is that you can choose the coarseness that works best for you. Fine, not so fine to a bit coarse. Because polvoron is a cookie, if you want more texture, choosing not so finely ground to coarsely ground nuts is a good idea.
If you’re not a fan of almonds, you may use some other nut like pecans or walnuts. As with making almond flour, you can choose the texture that you prefer.
Know, too, that when using nuts, you have the option to choose between raw or blanched, skinned or skinless, and salted or unsalted.
With coconut flour, there’s no additional work involved. You buy it and you use it the way you would wheat flour for making polvoron. The difference lies in the flavor. The aroma and texture too.
The difference in aroma, flavor and mouth feel
Whatever substitute you choose, expect the polvoron to taste and smell differently, and to have a different mouth feel too.
Polvoron made with crushed nuts will naturally have a nutty aroma and flavor. The mouth feel will vary with your choice of nuts and how finely or coarsely they were ground.
Coconut flour has a creamier texture. And it doesn’t take like wheat flour either. If you use coconut flour for making polvoron, expect the polvoron to taste and and smell of coconut. Which really is a good thing — but that’s a matter of preference, of course.
Adjusting the amount of melted butter
Nuts contain fat (oil), and the amount of oil varies from nut to nut. Almonds, for instance, has lower fat content than macadamia.
You need to have a good idea about the fat content of the nut you’re using in order to determine how much less butter you will add to the polvoron mixture. If you use the same amount of butter meant for polvoron made with wheat flour with an oily nut, the polvoron will not have that crumbly texture when you bite into it.
The polvoron you see in the photos were made with a mixture of almond flour and not so finely ground pecans. The were shaped using mooncake molds.
Almond and pecan polvoron
- polvoron mold or mooncake mold
- ½ cup almond flour (store bought)
- ½ cup ground pecans (blanched, skin on)
- 1 cup powdered milk
- ½ cup white sugar (choose the finest available)
- 3 tablespoons melted salted butter cooled
- 1 pinch salt if using unsalted butter
- In an oil-free pan, toast the almond flour and ground pecans over medium heat. About five minutes, tossing often, should be just enough time. Cool completely.
- Stir together the cooled almond flour-nuts mixture, powdered milk, sugar and salt.
- Pour in the melted butter and mix until well blended.
- Press into a polvoron (or mooncake) mold pressing the mixture with the back of a spoon to pack it in. Carefully press the handle to release the cookie.
- Repeat until all the mixture have been molded.
- For best results, chill before serving.