Crisp, buttery and super delish, this Mexican Cinnamon Sugar Shortbread is fabulous for snacking or dessert. It also pairs wonderfully with ice cream or flan and comes together with just one bowl and no mixer!
Being a shortbread afficiando, I was excited when I discovered Polvorones de Canela - aka Mexican Cinnamon Sugar Shortbread. I mean, what's not to love with a cross between crisp, buttery shortbread and a delicious Snickerdoodle style cookie?
When I gave Scott a cookie to sample, he took a bite, then closed his eyes and said, "I've been transported to a little Mexican bakery in San Antonio!". I knew that was a compliment, as he's raved about those little San Antonio bakeries ever since he was there on a business trip over 20 years ago!
Is this Mexican Cinnamon Sugar Shortbread really "Mexican"?
Well, yes and no. Or maybe the order of the answer should be no and yes. I'll be the first to admit that, although I'm a HUGE fan and we have lots of Mexican-inspired recipes on the blog, I'm not a consumate expert when it comes to Mexican cuisine. But... the Hispanic Food Network says that Polvorones de Canela (translated Cinnamon Shortbread) is a Mexican cookie recipe which "is made with butter, powdered sugar, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and flour". So it seems that my recipe is pretty close to being "authentic".
The Hispanic Food Network also says that "There are as many ways of making this recipe as there are people cooking them." They explain that some people people roll the dough into balls before baking, some people form logs and slice the dough into rounds and some people roll out the dough and use a cutter. That's my technique of choice for making these Mexican Cinnamon Sugar Shorbread cookies because I love the beautiful and uniform fluted shape it gives.
A magic rolling pin!
Although I love rolled cutout cookies, I'm miserable at rolling dough to an even thickness. My cookies used to come out thin, thick and some half thick and half thin. Then one day I discoverd an amazing rolling pin and my rolling woes disappeared. Now I look like a pro (even though I cheat). Check out this wonderful little kitchen tool:
This rolling pin is adjustable to whatever thickness of dough your little heart desires. It comes with interchangeable discs, 1/16, ⅙, ¼, and ⅜-inches in diameter. Just flatten a ball of dough slightly, roll over it until it won't get any bigger and VOILA! Perfect cut out cookies. I've had my Joseph Joseph rolling pin for over 4 years and it continues to work perfectly and make me look like an expert. It's one of my best friends in the kitchen!
No spreading in the oven
I love that this Mexican Cinnamon Sugar Shortbread dough keeps it shape so well in the oven. The dough doesn't need to be refrigerated before rolling and it rolls out like a dream. It also re-rolls beautifully without getting tough like some cutout shortbread dough.
I like to use a fluted cutter for these cookies but use whatever shape you like. Sometimes I roll them in different sizes so everyone can choose according to what they're in the mood for.
Spread the love!
If you enjoy sharing gifts from the kitchen, you're going to love giving these Mexican Cinnamon Sugar Cookies to new friends, old friends, neighbors, co-workers...
We're sharing a free printable PDF for the labels (pictured above and below) to give lots of South-of-the-Border charm to your gifts.
If you'd like to receive the labels, just let us know in a comment below this post. We will email you the PDF with instructions on how to use them along with a link for the gift boxes and ribbon.
Want to feel like you've taken a sweet trip to Mexico? Make a batch of these delicious Mexican Cinnamon Sugar Cookies... then again, perhaps you'll want to make a double batch, one to keep and one to give away! It will be a win-win!
Café Tips for making these Mexican Cinnamon Sugar Cookies
- These Mexican Cinnamon Sugar Shortbread cookies get a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar on the top. Although you can do that right away, I like to let them bake for 10 minutes, then remove the pan from the oven and flatten any puffy places with a flat metal spatula. Then I sprinkle the cookies with the sugar and return them to the oven for the remainder of the baking time. This results in nice flat cookies with a pretty sprinkle.
- I like to use cane sugar for the sprinkling mixture. Cane sugar is just a little bit coarser than granulated sugar (which will also work fine).
- Because this recipe doesn't call for a mixer, you want the butter to be nice and soft. You can leave butter sit out at room temperature to soften, but if the air is chilly it won't get soft enough. Here are a few easy tricks for softening butter.
- You can soften the butter in the microwave at a 10% power level. It works like magic. You’ll need to experiment a bit with your microwave though, as they’re all different. Start with 1 minute. Add 20 to 30-second increments until you learn how long your microwave will take to get the butter nice and soft, but not melted.
- Another technique I often use to soften butter is to put it in the microwave for 30 minutes to an hour with the light on. To keep the light on in the microwave I put a folded paper towel in the door. Don't leave it in there too long though. I forgot about it a few days ago and was amazed when I opened the door and found a plate of melted butter!
- Boil a cup of water in the microwave for 3-4 minutes and get things nice and steamy. Leave the water cup in the microwave, add the butter and close the door. The warmth from the steamy water will help to quickly soften the butter within 20-30 minutes.
- Cutting the butter into small pieces helps it soften quicker.
- Put the butter in the oven with the light turned on. This will take 1-2 hours.
- The fastest way to soften butter is to put cold butter in the microwave for 10 seconds. Turn it to the opposite side and microwave for another 10 seconds. It might be ready at this point, but if it’s not completely soft, add one or two more 5-second stints, turning the butter each time. Don't walk away when using this option or you'll have the prettiest melted butter you ever saw.
- If you prefer to use a mixer, go for it! You won't need the butter to be as soft.
- Use any shape of cookie cutter that you like for this recipe. I have this set of fluted cutters. I really like it because it has a nice selection of sizes, all with the same pretty scalloped shape. I also love that all of the cutters nest inside each other so the set is really easy to store.
- These Mexican Cinnamon Sugar Shortbread cookies make a delicious and easy dessert served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of this Best Ever Hot Fudge Sauce or this Ridiculously Easy Butterscotch Sauce.
- I generally roll these cookies ¼-inch thick, but if you like a thicker shortbread cookie, be sure to bake them a little longer.
- The recipe calls for a one hour (or longer) chill for the cutout cookies. If I’m in a big hurry, I just pop them into the freezer for 15-20 minutes.
- Many shortbread recipes call for baking the cookies just until golden at the edges. These Mexican Cinnamon Sugar Shortbread cookies are best (nice and crisp) if baked until evenly golden.
Thought for the day:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
What we're listening to for inspiration:
If you enjoy any of these recipes, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear your results, adaptations and ideas for variations.
- 3 tablespoon granulated or cane sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon optional
- 1 cup very soft butter
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
Line two sheet pans with parchment paper. Combine the 3 tablespoons of sugar and the ½ teaspoon of cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside.
Place the butter in a medium-sized bowl and stir with a spatula or wooden spoon until nice and fluffy, about 30 seconds. Add the powdered sugar and stir again until well combined.
Add the egg and vanilla extract and stir for another 30-45 seconds until fluffy and well combined.
Add the cinnamon and salt and stir to combine then add the flour and stir until combined and there is no dry flour. The mixture will seem crumbly at first. Just keep stirring until it starts to come together.
Sprinkle a work surface with flour. Have some extra flour on the side in a small cup.
Turn the dough over several times to coat with the flour then divide the dough in two and cover one with a piece of plastic wrap.
Keep the surface and your rolling pin lightly dusted with flour at all times, roll out the dough to the desired thickness. I like mine about a ¼ thick but you can go thinner or thicker it’s just important to keep the surface underneath the dough lightly floured as you roll.
Use a cutter of your choice to cut out the cookies, transferring them to the prepared sheet pans as you go.
Place the sheet pans in the refrigerator to chill for at least an hour and up to 24 hours. If you don’t have a lot of room in your refrigerator, you can put all the cookies on one pan to chill, then divide them up on the two pans before baking.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350˚F.
Remove the cookies from the refrigerator and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and flatten each cookie with a flat metal spatula (optional) then sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar mixture.
Return to the oven and bake for another 5-10 minutes until golden brown. Thinner cookies will take less time, thicker cookies will take more.
Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely before enjoying or storing in an airtight storage container.
If you remove the cookies from the oven and and let them cool but find they aren’t as crisp as you would like you can return them to the oven for an additional few minutes.
See Café Tips above in the post for more detailed instructions and tips to ensure success.
If you prefer to use Metric measurements there is a button in each of our recipes, right above the word “Instructions”. Just click that button to toggle to grams, milliliters, etc. If you ever come across one of our recipes that doesn’t have the Metric conversion (some of the older recipes may not), feel free to leave a comment and I will add it.