Mantecados and polvorones are two typical sweets from Spain, which although similar, have differences both in ingredients and in times of enjoyment. Know their main differences.
In our country, two extremely traditional and characteristic typical desserts stand out. One of them can be enjoyed all year round, while the other is exclusive to the Christmas holidays. We are actually talking about mantecados and polvorones.
It tends to be common for both sweets to be confused, due to their more or less similar appearance. However, we are faced with sweets with different ingredients, and that can definitely be enjoyed at certain times of the year.
El polvorón: a typical Christmas dessert
Surely, if we ask you about a typical Christmas sweet, in addition to nougat or marzipan, one of the ones that comes to mind first are polvorones.
As happened centuries ago with the 12 New Year’s Eve grapes, the appearance of the polvorón in the 16th century was due to a surplus in Andalusia both of wheat and lard (it is believed that in Antequera and Estepa, one of the towns to today most important in the production of mantecados and polvorones).
It is a sweet that is consumed exclusively at Christmas. It is made with flour, lard, sugar and almonds. It crumbles into powder when you eat it, thanks to its somewhat lower consistency. It is traditionally presented wrapped in paper, and so that it does not fall apart when opened it is common to crush it previously. Its shape is usually round.
If you want to enjoy polvorones at Christmas with recipes to make them at home, you can read more in our homemade polvorones recipe or opt for gluten-free polvorones ideal for celiacs.
The mantecados: ideal all year round
Unlike polvorones, mantecados are a sweet that can be consumed all year round in many Spanish regions, especially as a dessert after a meal, or even at breakfast.
Its ingredients are somewhat different from polvorón, since in it we do not find almonds and egg white, which acts as a binder, thus preventing it from crumbling like polvorón. It also has wheat flour, pork fat, and sugar.
Not only in its ingredients and consistency we find palpable differences with the polvorón. Also in their shape: they are usually square.