Thursday, April 26, 2012

Walnut polvorones

As good as my mood was on Friday, my sinus infection got much worse on the week end, to the point that I had to resort to some (albeit pretty mild) pain killers. And I spent a lot of time under a towel with my head over a steaming bowl of water and baking soda.

But I had a busy week end planned and no intention of skipping any of the social engagements I had been looking forward to. 

First of all last week the Salone Internazionale del Mobile was held in Milan, the yearly international furniture and design fair that attracts droves of people from all over the world. The main event takes place in the Fiera outside of the city, but for years now the event has started spreading into the city. For a week the town is alive with a buzz, even more so than during the fashion weeks. Every other building host exhibits, installments or events until late into the evening that are often open to the public. It is customary to walk around town and look at what is happening in the world of design, visiting everything from the showrooms of the best known brands to collective exhibits of young, up-and-coming designers and students with their alternative take on living spaces and objects. Music plays, crowds bustle in and out of courtyards following the banners that indicate spaces dedicated to the Fuori Salone (literally Outside of the Fair), which display bizarre creations and lights to attract people like moths.

Like last year, we headed to some of the more alternative areas with the children and spent a nice morning browsing through the beautiful, often thought provoking and sometimes downright ugly creations. The designers are usually willing to talk and explain their idea, the concept behind the object they are presenting and many are more than willing to have children observe and experience their products. The University of Gothenburg, in particular, sponsored a project called Play in Progress, where young designers created furniture remembering their take on it as children. The people at the stand were only too happy to photograph and let our children slide down the coffee table/slide, draw on their double-panel cabinet, hide behind the white curtain that concealed a world of hidden animals on the reverse side and play with the colored strings attached under the dining table (a fun way to entertain kids during long, boring grown up dinners).

Another perk of the week end was my mother in law’s visit. We were all very excited to spend some time together. This also meant F and I could go out to a last-minute dinner organized by friends (who obviously don’t have kids). My dear friend S commented I must have been pretty desperate to get out considering the pain I was in. True. That is when I popped the first pain killer. No sinus infection was going to keep me home with that kind of an opportunity. We had a surprisingly good Mexican meal (for Italian standards, where Mexican is usually synonym for Tex Mex only) and two huge pitchers of passion fruit frozen margaritas… and no worries Mom, I took the medication long before my first drink so it was pretty harmless… but I did warn my dining companions that if I started acting weird they should just take me home. ;o)

Before dinner F and I took a walk in the area, whcih was almost a second home to us in our wilder days… it felt strange yet so familiar to see throngs of people out so late and it made me feel alive and happy. And lemme tell you, you know you haven’t been out for a while when the night vendors are selling Chinese crap that you have never seen before.  

I made these cookies to bring to a get-together on Sunday with a bunch of friends with kids to wish my dear friend C good luck for her labor induction (she ended up giving birth to a healthy baby girl Tuesday at dawn).

I saw these a while back on a Scarletta Bakes, a blog I adore because of the great recipes, the photography and the fact that she always has me laughing out loud. I bookmarked them because I fell in love with them the minute I saw them. They are as delicious and crumbly and buttery as they look. They are quick and simple (my favorite two words, I know, but so true) and you can make them in two steps if you are busy. Also, you cannot but help getting a little excited when you coat them with your finger tips in all that powdered sugar, making you feel like an authentic Andalusian or Mexican abuela.

Ingredients (for roughly 22 cookies)
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 egg yolks
2 cups flour
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 - 1 cup powdered sugar

Cream the sugar and butter in a bowl until light and fluffy, then beat in the egg yolks and then the flour. At this point the dough will become dense and crumbly. If you have been using a stand mixer, now is the time to turn it off and mix in the walnuts, which you will have already chopped roughly,  by hand. Then roll the dough into a log and wrap it and place it in the fridge or freezer to harden. It will need a couple of hours in the fridge.
When you want to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350°F/170°C.
Slice the chilled dough into about 1/2 inch wide cookies. Line a baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, making sure you don't overbake them because they quickly turn dark.
When they are ready, let them cool for a few minutes and prepare a bowl with powdered sugar. Take the warm cookies and place them in the sugar, coating them completely and then let them finish cooling of on a cookie rack.


  1. Sounds like just what you needed, sinus infection or no. And these cookies look perfect to bring to a labor-induction get-together. Nothing says "C'mon, baby!" like delicious walnut cookies.

  2. I've always wanted to go to the Design Fair in Milan. Lucky you...must have been incredible! And sorry about the yucky sinues infection - ugh - happy at least you could go out! And I love the cookies - have never made these before but I'll bet they are the perfect treat with tea or coffee.

    1. Looking forward to when the kids are a little older and we can really walk browse all week end. But it is great to watch them experience the creative juices flowing everywhere. You must try these, you will love them, I promise!

  3. I love Scarletta Bakes blog too - so many inspirational ideas! Sorry to hear you've been feeling under the weather but I hope these cheered you up - they look lovely :-)

  4. Oh no a sinus infection isn't fun at all is it! But glad that you got out and it was obviously just what you needed! :) BTW love the look of these biscuits blanketed in icing sugar-divine!

  5. Fiona! Come stai?
    Come ti vivo continuamente con la sinusite!!!
    Il fuori-salone è un'iniziativa solo però il nostro caro sindaco permettesse un ri-circolo di mezzi adeguato all'evento :-(((
    Sono andata a vedere il blog Scarletta Bakes...hai ragione, è davvero interessante!
    a presto!

  6. Sinus infection...hmm aint a good one. Take cr. These biscuits look great.

  7. I hope you've recovered from your sinus infection. I used to get them all the time but haven't had one for a while - thankfully! Glad though that you made the effort to get out and about and do a bunch of different things. Great looking biscuits - I love walnuts in biscuits and I bet these have a wonderful texture xx

  8. Those cookies taste delicious!

  9. I hope you're all better! But it sounds like despite being sick, you had a packed social and gastronomic life. Those walnut polvorones look lovely; I'll bet cashews would be wonderful too. :-)

  10. I can relate to your comment about how strange it feels to see throngs of people out late. We are trying to get out once a month together before the next baby is born, and on Saturday evenings I chuckle when I see all the couples on dates all spiffied up! Used to be a regular event but now it's so rare, I forgot it even happens! Of course the world goes on while I'm wrapped up in bath time and reading the same story for the fifth time! These cookies look satisfying in a very buttery way. Hope you're on the mend by now!

    1. Nuts about foodMay 7, 2012 at 9:15 AM

      Isn't it funny how getting out once a month seems like nothing and then when you start planning it, even that one day seems difficult to schedule?

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  12. Spero tunstia meglio! Che ridere, immaginavo la tua faccia i venditori dimporcherie cinese a te sconosciuti! :)... Cmq sti biscotti sembran di quelli mel-in-your-mouth!! Da provare!,

    1. Nuts about foodMay 7, 2012 at 8:49 AM

      Ciao Terry, eh si, mi sentivo un pò spaesata. hehe


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