Vanilla malt polvoron

This is my first post for Kulinarya Cooking Club, a group of Filipino bloggers dedicated to sharing Filipino recipes. This month’s theme is polvoron, one of my favorite sweets.

Polvoron is powdered milk candy, so named for its crumbly texture (polvo meaning powder or dust in Spanish). In this way, it resembles the classic Spanish polvorones, which are a sandy biscuit made flavored with almonds and lard. The main ingredients for Filipino polvoron are toasted flour, powdered milk, sugar and butter.

I had this idea of incorporating vanilla bean, which complements the milky flavor. As I was toasting the flour, I then thought about one of my favorite ingredients for milk: malted milk powder. The result was addictive: like a malted vanilla shake in candy form.

I’ve learned a couple of techniques to prevent frustration while making polvoron, which is a really fragile candy. (It’ll literally crumble in your hand if you’re not careful!) After combining all the ingredients, chill it in the fridge for an hour or two. This will keep it from sticking to the polvoron mould or biscuit cutter. After shaping them, set them in the freezer. If you want to wrap them in tissue paper, or stack them in containers, this step will keep you from pulling your hair out. For me, polvoron moulds are the way to go — I haven’t tried to use a biscuit cutter. If you live somewhere where there’s a Filipino grocery, these should be relatively easy to find.

One more tip: my mom swears by Nestle KLIM for the powdered milk, so it’s the only powdered milk I will use for polvoron. Even if you don’t swear by a specific brand, do make sure you use a full-fat (definitely not non-fat) powdered milk. For the malted milk powder, I used Horlicks, which is unsweetened and has a strong malt flavor.

Vanilla malt polvoron
makes about 40 candies

1-1/2 cup (190g) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (60g) Horlicks malted milk powder
2 vanilla beans, split and scraped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cup (160g) powdered milk
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
8 ounces (200g) melted butter

  1. In an medium-sized pan, toast the flour over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a heat-proof spatula or wooden spoon. The flour will become fragrant and should become the color of sand. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
  2. Add the vanilla bean, malt powder, salt, sugar and powdered milk to the flour. Pour in the melted butter and stir until the mixture resembles wet sand. (My son calls polvoron “sand sweeties”) Set in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
  3. Using a polvoron mould, shape the candy and place them in a container or baking sheet in a single layer. Freeze for several hours. I like to eat them straight from the freezer, but they can also be wrapped in tissue paper and eaten at room temperature.