Always an excuse to organize a good party, whether it’s a birthday or the holiday season, and many will be whipping out their beloved cookbooks and classic recipes.
This includes polvoron, a Spanish shortbread and holiday dessert popular in Spain, Latin America, and the Philippines.
Though it is often made using a specific molder, there are several ways to still create a great polvoron without one.
Let’s look at how to make your favorite dish without the specific molder.
Here is a list of polvoron molder substitutes. These alternatives are discussed in more detail further down in this article.
- Pastry Cutter
- Mousse Ring
- Cookie Cutter
- Small Tart Pan
- Cupcake Pan
- Mini Quiche Tin
- Mini Muffin Tray
- Brownie Pan
So whether you’re already a polvoron fan, or just fancy trying something new this year, read on for a guide that will help you create this tasty and traditional delicacy with ease.
Or watch my video on this topic to get into the holiday spirit:
In this post we'll cover:
What is Polvoron?
Taken from the word polvo, Spanish for powder or dust, polvoron is a well-loved type of Spanish shortbread, and you can check it’s Filipino Polvoron counterpart here.
It is included in the mantecado family of Spanish shortbreads and is typically made with flour, milk, sugar, and nuts.
The texture of the shortbread itself is typically soft but heavy, and very crumbly. Nowadays it comes in many flavors including strawberry, chocolate, peanut, and even maple bacon.
The Filipino version of polvoron tends to use toasted flour and powdered milk, which is left dry. It is therefore thought of as more of a powdered candy in the Philippines.
Meanwhile, mantecado refers to a traditional ice cream flavor there.
Similarly, the flavors of polvorones and mantecado have been adapted into a popular ice cream flavor in some Latin American countries, such as Cuba and Puerto Rico.
Other local variants of polvoron incorporate kasuy (cashew nuts), pinipig (pounded and toasted young rice grains), and malunggay (drumstick tree) leaves.
We love culinary adventures with a cultural twist! Be sure to also check out this recipe for a Filipino Sans Rival layered cake.
Best Polvoron Molder Substitutes
Polvorones have a very specific round shape, therefore any substitute should also be round.
It can be quite hard to shape polvoron without any sort of tool.
Ideally, you have to get a polvoron mold and some Japanese or wax paper for its cover:
Fortunately, the substitutes listed below are all great options for when you don’t have access to a polvoron molder.
Also known as a pastry blender, round pastry cutters are a perfect alternative for making polvoron.
Since pastries come in all shapes and sizes, it shouldn’t be hard to find a cutter that offers a circular shape.
Polvoron is usually 2-inches wide, therefore any pastry cutter that doesn’t exceed this length by too much can be used, like these cute cutters from Mino Ant:
Similar to a pastry cutter, a mousse ring is a kitchen utensil with a circular shape that is used for mousses, small cakes, and now polvoron.
Most mousse rings come in stainless steel or aluminum, making them great for rich, whipped ingredients, like this 9 piece set with everything up to 2 inches and higher for the perfect shape:
Cookies are a classic round confection, therefore a cookie-cutter should perhaps be an obvious substitute.
Fortunately, they already come in a range of sizes from big to small, making them an easy to access alternative that shouldn’t be hard to find.
One of the best stainless steel ones I’ve seen are these from Hulisen:
Small Tart Pan
Small tart pans are great for a variety of sweet and savory dishes. They normally come in packs anyway and are super easy to clean.
Since small tarts or tartlets are close in size to polvoron already, inverting your tart pan makes it an ideal polvoron molder substitute.
Now, the problem is most tart pans range from 9 inches to about 4, which is still too big for our polvoron. But luckily these Fox Run mini tartlets can save the day in a pinch:
Polvoron already somewhat mimics the shape of cupcakes by both shape and size.
Cupcake pans are usually quite cheap and easy to find, meaning they are a good quick fix to not having a polvoron molder.
They can be a bit hard to fumble around with as they have multiple molds in one tin, but for making a batch of polvoron they can be perfect, and I recommend getting silicone ones like these perfect ones from the Caketime Store:
Mini Quiche Tin
As long as the size is right and not too big, a quiche tin is another worthy molder substitute.
And since some polvoron already come with a scalloped edge, it doesn’t matter if your tin is smooth-edged or not.
The smallest ones I could find are these 3.5 inch tins:
Mini Muffin Tray
A mini muffin tray is another great alternative for molding your polvoron because of its size and shape qualities.
The trick is to really pack your polvoron into the molds tightly so that it doesn’t fall apart or come out with crumbled edges when you turn the tray upside down to unmold.
These silicone ones from Laminas are perfect:
Using a brownie pan as a substitute for molding your polvoron may seem strange considering the square or rectangular shape of most brownies.
However, as long as your powdered mix is packed tightly when placed into the pan, it can still produce the same nostalgic dessert but with a fresh and creative look.
This set of 2 is very cheap:
Final Tips When Making Polvoron
When shaping your polvoron treats, one big tip is to pack the powder in as tight as you can so it sticks together. Then, tip the tray upside down and tap gently to get the polvoron out.
Since silicone pans are more flexible than metal trays, they can be more effective and help stop your polvoron from falling apart.
Putting the tray of polvoron in the freezer for a few minutes before unmolding can also help press the powder together more firmly.
You could also line your tray or pan with paper before molding. This avoids the polvoron from crumbling when being wrapped later.
For example, you can get further into the holiday spirit with festive-colored lining paper, and enjoy this treasured delicacy in style.